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Commissioner Doyle votes in favor of the Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement

April 15, 2015

I voted in favor of not taking any action to delay the implementation of the Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement.

The Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement was filed with the Commission on March 3, 2015 and is scheduled to go into effect on April 17, 2015. The purpose of the Agreement is to allow discussion between the parties, both carriers and marine terminal operators, in order to reduce port congestion on the West Coast. The cooperative efforts will aim to make operations throughout the ports more efficient. Addressing port congestion has been one of the Commission’s top priorities and the Agreement is major step to having key parties cooperating and working together towards a common goal of increasing the flow of goods throughout the West Coast.

I have reviewed the comments submitted by the public and have met repeatedly with counsel for the parties –they have been cooperative in answering my questions and thus amended certain terms and conditions in the Agreement in order to help alleviate my concerns. I have also met with private sector stakeholders and spoken with several leaders of West Coast port authorities. Importantly, I have also listened to those who have expressed concerns about the Agreement. As a result of these discussions, the parties have agreed to narrow the scope of the Agreement in order to minimize possible anticompetitive effects while still maintaining a cooperative effort to reduce port congestion. And, as typical with agreements of this nature, the FMC will have in place a robust monitoring program. I’m hopeful that importers, exporters, and the American consumer will benefit from increased efficiency and reliability through this Agreement.