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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Maritime Logistics Professional

March 23, 2022

FMC’s National Shipper Advisory Committee Updates Ongoing Work

© Mariakray / Adobe Stock

© Mariakray / Adobe Stock

FMC’s National Shipper Advisory Committee held a third meeting on March 9. Two Subcommittees reported on work on (1) data sharing and visibility and (2) fees and surcharges.

A core concern with data sharing is that too many different tech platforms complicate communication within the supply chain’s many players. Mismatch leads to dysfunction. The Committee wants technology to move from proprietary to standardized and open access systems.

Rich Roche, with Mohawk Global Logistics, is data Chair. The Subcommittee met with Long Beach officials regarding their communications systems and software. He reported interest in some of POLB’s capabilities and whether that might scale nationally. Roche noted other groups with a similar tech focus, including teams within FMC, DOT and the White House. He said the Subcommittee wants to develop recommendations that align with all of this forthcoming work; that alignment reference drew support from the full Committee. [Of note: on March 15 the White House released a data sharing pilot project that includes 18 companies, including the POLB; coordination is already an issue.]

“We want to ensure operational visibility within the entire supply chain,” Roche said. The Subcommittee is looking at “building out a roadmap” possibly for legislative issues. Roche said there might be ideas ready for broad review by the end of the year.

The fees and surcharges subcommittee, chaired by Gabriel Rodriguez, withA Customs Brokerage, Inc., is focused on three broad areas: railroad interactions, jurisdiction and port and terminal fees; specific concerns include demurrage and detention. Terminology and definitions are a struggle across this set of issues. Subcommittee members noted vagaries and confusion with seemingly clear terms, e.g., “merchant,” “box rules,” and “dwell fees.” Confusion has real consequences among all of the supply chain participants.

Another comment during discussion: many of these problems are unique to US ports and not seen overseas. Likely, there are lessons there.