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FMC Commissioner Sees Some Normalcy Returning to Shipping

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 13, 2020

© Kalyakan / Adobe Stock

© Kalyakan / Adobe Stock

A U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner said he sees some normalcy returning to trans-Pacific shipping amid widespread upheaval brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

Many Chinese manufacturing and logistics services have been severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, in some cases forcing ocean carriers to cancel services to and from China and the U.S.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) said it has been monitoring levels of blanked sailings and conferring with ocean carrier representatives about levels of service and the potential resumption of normal trade, and the latest information provided from shipping lines involved in the trans-Pacific trades indicate that cargo levels and services are resuming to pre-coronavirus levels.

“I was heartened to hear that shipping lines have indicated that there is cargo for pickup and that trucking and port operations have substantially resumed in China,” said Carl W. Bentzel, a FMC Commissioner.

Bentzel said he expects coronavirus impacts will linger over the next few weeks while vessels are engaged in the cross-Pacific transit, and noted there may still be logistical challenges in processing cargoes into U.S.commerce.

“I remain concerned that there will continue to be negative economic impacts as a result of delays, as shipments transit the Pacific from China. I would hope that the industry resists the temptation to take actions to price gouge or otherwise unfairly leverage their position," he added.

“It will be necessary for all segments of the transportation industry from the marine terminals to trucking and rail services to help pitch in to secure normalcy. Our ability to recover from this economic disruption through the resumption of maritime commerce underscores the criticality and importance of our maritime trade. Hopefully the resumption of this service can allow our nation to recover as rapidly as possible.”

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