On Wednesday, April 6, 2005, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) held the third in a series of briefings from representatives of the shipping industry and maritime community. The briefings are intended to foster a greater awareness and understanding of the current issues and concerns affecting the various interests involved with the United States waterborne foreign commerce.
The April 6th briefing was presented by the following representatives from the American Association of Port Authorities (“AAPA”): Gary LaGrange, President, Port of New Orleans and Chairman of the AAPA Board, representing the AAPA Gulf Caucus region; Richard Larrabee, Director, Port Commerce Department, Port of New York/New Jersey and Board member representing the AAPA North Atlantic region; Warren McCrimmon, Seaport Director, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and Board member of the AAPA Great Lakes region; John Mohr Executive Director, Port of Everett and Board member of the AAPA North Pacific Caucus; Kurt Nagle, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAPA and Jean Godwin, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of AAPA.
The Chairman, Commissioners and staff from all FMC offices and bureaus were briefed on the many issues facing this important segment of the United States transportation system. The AAPA representatives described their ports and facilities as the gateway for U.S. participation in the global marketplace. The panelist pointed out that, as with other segments of the international shipping community, ports face increasing costs, environmental limitations, new security concerns, and increasing demands from their customers for improved and lower cost service. The Commissioners, FMC staff, and panel participants discussed the impact of increasing cargo volumes on constrained port facilities and rail and road infrastructure, and the changed regulatory regime resulting from the enactment of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998. Finally, the panelists, Commissioners and staff discussed the need to better inform the public of the value of ports and the ocean transportation system, and the way they relate to our quality of life and the United States economy.
The AAPA industry briefing furthers Chairman Blust’s goal of broadening the Commission’s understanding of the current events shaping the maritime industry. The Commission’s first industry briefing, with members of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc., was held on September 21, 2004. On January 27, 2005 the Commission was briefed by executives from several vessel-operating common carriers. (See News Releases 04-13 and 05-01, www.fmc.gov/press.htm.).
Chairman Blust stated, “the AAPA briefing brought home the value of the industry to our economy and broadened our understanding of the important issues and challenges facing the port community.” Chairman Blust announced that future industry briefings are being scheduled with shippers, marine terminal operators, passenger vessel operators and other segments of the maritime community.”