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US FMC pushes forward with container line export audit

Photo: Marcus Hand Containership at sunset
The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has completed the first round of meetings with 11 shipping lines under an audit to see if they are serving the country’s exporters.

The FMC said its Vessel Operating Common Carrier (VOCC) Audit Programme is identifying lines that have an export strategy and encouraging others to establish one.

“Helping US export shippers is my top priority as Chairman and I will ask my fellow Commissioners and Commission staff to utilize the full extent of our authority to ensure American agricultural producers and manufacturers reach overseas markets,” said FMC Chairman Daniel B. Maffei.

“The information the Audit Team is gathering from the shipping lines will be invaluable in identifying what carriers are doing well in carrying exports and where we must push carriers to do more. Its one part of our comprehensive effort to encourage the ocean carrier industry to increase export service overall.”

With lines grappling supply chain disruption and shortage of containers in export locations, the repositioning of empty boxes piled up in US ports has for lines taken precedence over export cargoes, mainly agricultural exports from the US.

Initial findings are expected to be presented later in the Spring to the commission and aim to identify areas where individual carriers can increase access to, or improve export offerings in the US.

There is political pressure to take action against international shipping lines which are accused of both overcharging US importers and ignoring the needs of exporters

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