Statement of Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel on the Release of the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) Request for Information (RFI)
“I am pleased to provide supply chain stakeholders and interested members of the public the opportunity to consider and comment on the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) Recommendations and Views Report via the Request for Information (RFI) questions posted on August 16, 2023, which is available on Regulations.gov and the Federal Register. We will be collecting comments on Regulations.gov until October 16, 2023.
The purpose of this RFI is to solicit further public review and comment on the proposed processes and definitions identified in the MTDI Report. Your input will help better standardize information sharing throughout the supply chain. My intention, after receiving additional feedback from the public, is to identify the key requirements for a reliable maritime transportation system of information. This includes harmonized information sharing; clear standards for understanding container availability, earliest return dates, and other key metrics that arise when cargo is transferred between nodes; and information on fees and charges. All of these issues were raised in the 18 MTDI public meetings as well as my subsequent meetings with individual stakeholders and the National Shipper Advisory Committee.
Make no mistake, supply chain congestion is a constant and continuing inefficiency. Recent pandemic-related congestion costs our Nation trillions of dollars in lost economic opportunity and higher prices, but only highlighted what is in fact an ongoing problem. The recommendations proposed in the MTDI seek to ameliorate what is a system inadequate for providing supply chain transportation. Further public input will help refine what was issued earlier this year.
My MTDI report and the recommendations that I have made in the report is the product of substantial work and widespread collaboration. Just as importantly, I have led the MTDI project in a way that emphasizes strong engagement with stakeholders and the public – a transparent and inclusive process, with structured meetings, and visibility into meeting participation. Just as importantly, the MTDI introduced a new way that the FMC engages with stakeholders and the public—a transparent and inclusive process, with structured meetings and visibility into meeting participation. The public should expect no less. This RFI is a continuation of that effort and I look forward to receiving additional input.”
To date, the MTDI process has:
- Held 18 public meetings, with more than 80 supply chain experts and practitioners participating. Each meeting was recorded and is available for viewing on the FMC YouTube channel.
- Included each sitting Commissioner in at least one MTDI meeting. Commissioners were provided the opportunity to provide feedback and input.
- Hosted a Maritime Transportation Data Summit that included attendance from nearly every MTDI participant as well as interested members of the public.
- Collected and aggregated responses to the four questions asked of the MTDI meeting participants, culminating in my MTDI Report and Views, which has been shared publicly.
- Conducted in-person and remote meetings with the European Union and international stakeholders, to keep international partners updated and engaged.
- Conducted follow-ups to the Public Meetings with in-person and remote meetings with private sector stakeholders, on demand. to keep private sector stakeholders updated and engaged.
- Engaged in ongoing collaboration with federal partners and stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other important maritime stakeholder agencies such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection.
Carl W. Bentzel is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.