Chairman Cordero Addressed the California Association of Port Authorities Annual Meeting - Federal Maritime Commission
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Chairman Cordero Addressed the California Association of Port Authorities Annual Meeting

October 11, 2013

Chairman Cordero spoke at the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) annual meeting on October 11, 2013. CAPA is comprised of the state’s eleven publicly-owned, commercial ports and is governed by the executive director of each of the ports.

The Chairman first introduced CAPA members to the FMC’s role in regulating international ocean transportation and its mission to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable system and to protect the public from unfair practices. The Chairman noted that the FMC’s collaboration with other agencies enables the Commission to more adequately fulfill its purpose despite its limited resources. Specifically in July, the FCM and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection renewed their partnership to share date from CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment-International Trade Data System.

The Chairman emphasized the FMC’s commitment to maintain a credible Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) licensing and renewal program and the purpose of the proposed revision of its OTI regulations including a proposed renewal requirement. The Chairman highlighted proposed changes that would not only make the Commission’s regulatory process more efficient but would target unlicensed activity.

The Chairman also discussed the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) and pending versions of national legislation including a resolution to fully spend the HMT collected or a replacement of the HMT altogether with a tax applicable to the port of entry. The FMC’s Study of U.S. Inland Containerized Cargo Moving through Canadian and Mexican Seaports reached the conclusion that the HMT creates vulnerabilities for U.S. ports.

The Chairman shared information on the Panama Canal expansion which is estimated to be a $5.3 billion dollar project and scheduled to be complete in early 2015. The expansion will enable a doubling in trade tonnage to pass through the Canal and will allow a 160% increase in the size of ships able to transit the Canal. The Chairman commended the importance placed on ports by the Obama Administration, citing the example of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program (TIGER), a discretionary program that granted the Port of Baltimore $10 million dollars to widen the port’s shipping canal and upgrade rail access. President Obama also signed a Memorandum to modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process which would cut timelines in half for major infrastructure projects. He also emphasized the need for a national freight policy.

The Chairman also addressed the dynamics of local politics and how port authorities must engage with local elected officials in order to promote both the needs of the ports and cities, and local communities.

Lastly, Chairman Cordero commented on reported activities related to the P3 Alliance which is being proposed by Maersk Line, CMACGM, and Mediterranean Shipping—the world’s three largest container carriers — which when filed, will be subject to review by the FMC, other appropriate U.S. agencies, and other tradingnations.