Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel continues to lead meetings about the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) at the direction of Chairman Daniel B. Maffei. The MTDI is examining the data generated by a container from its arrival at a US port to its destination. To date, Commissioner Bentzel has heard from beneficial cargo owners, drayage truckers, chassis providers, providers of warehousing, distribution, and third-party logistics services, members of the railroad industry, Federal Agencies, and OTI Representatives. The meeting with Longshore Labor was held March 8, 2022, with Dennis A. Daggett, Executive Vice President of International Longshoremen’s Association; Dane Jones, Clerks’ Technology Coordinator of International Longshore & Warehouse Union; Michael A. Podue, President pf International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 63; and Alan A. Robb, Assistant General Organizer of International Longshoremen’s Association, as Scheduled Participants. The meeting with FedEx, UPS, and Amazon was held February 22, 2022, with Cynthia Allen, Vice President Regulatory Affairs & Compliance of FedEx Logistics; Steve McMichael, Vice President of UPS Ocean; and Adnan Quadri, Director, Global Imports-Network Planning and Infrastructure of Amazon, as Scheduled Participants. The meeting with Large Aggregators was held March 1, 2022, with Phil Denning, Vice President U.S. Sea Logistics Operations of Kuehne + Nagel Inc.; Steve Lee, Vice President of Regulatory & Trade Compliance of Flexport; and Chris Penley, Director Global Operations of C.H. Robinson, as Scheduled Participants. This initiative has three key goals: cataloging the status quo in maritime data, storage, and access across the transportation chain; identifying key gaps in data definitions/classification; and developing recommendations for common data standards and access policies/protocols. The MTDI will culminate in a Data Summit tentatively scheduled for June of this year.

Closed Meeting on WCMTOA

The FMC held a meeting in closed session on February 25, 2022, to discuss the West Coast MTO Agreement (WCMTOA). The meeting was called by Chairman Daniel B. Maffei. The original agenda called for a discussion of both WCMTOA and an amendment WCMTOA filed permitting the continuation of an incentive program for off-peak gate use. The amendment was withdrawn by PierPass. PierPass operates under authority granted through WCMTOA. The Commission closed this meeting for several reasons including because business and proprietary information filed pursuant to agreement monitoring requirements was discussed.

FMC Press Release Posted February 15, 2022 -- Max Vekich was sworn-in as FMC Commissioner for a term expiring June 30, 2026.

First nominated by President Joseph R. Biden on June 24, 2021, and then again on January 4, 2022. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 10, 2022, and is the 43rd person to serve on the Federal Maritime Commission.

“Commissioner Vekich assumes office when his lifelong experience working on the waterfront will be especially beneficial. He understands port and supply chain issues from the perspective of a worker on the frontlines of making cargo move. I am confident he will have many important contributions to make to the work of the Federal Maritime Commission and I am happy to welcome him as a colleague,” said Chairman Maffei.

Prior to joining the Commission, Commissioner Vekich had a more than 40-year career as a longshoreman, joining the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in 1979. Over the course of his career, he held leadership positions within the ILWU, serving as President of ILWU Local 52 and on the ILWU International Executive Committee.

“I am grateful for the President’s confidence in me and have been blessed twice in being nominated to serve on the Federal Maritime Commission. Since my first day on the waterfront my work ethic has always been keep cargo moving, and that will be my priority in executing my duties as a Commissioner. Keeping cargo moving is the mindset and emphasis needed to identify and address port and supply chain issues. I look forward to getting to work and am humbled at the opportunity to serve,” said Commissioner Vekich.

This is not the first time Commissioner Vekich has entered public service. He served four terms in the Washington State House of Representatives, from 1983-1991, where he chaired the Commerce & Labor, Trade & Economic Development, and Agriculture committees.

Commissioner Vekich earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Puget Sound and an Associate of Arts from Grays Harbor Community College. He is a native of Aberdeen, Washington, but has resided in Seattle since 2004. He is married to Marcee Stone-Vekich and survives his first wife Ivy Frost Vekich. He is the father of two children and one stepchild.

Do you have a complaint seeking damages against an individual or a company for economic injury not exceeding $50,000, caused by violations of the Shipping Act of 1984? That would constitute a Small Claims complaint and the Federal Maritime Commission recently provided guidance on the different avenues shippers have at the FMC to pursue demurrage and detention complaints. The FMC is in the process of making a new rule governing demurrage and detention billing practices that would benefit the trade and should apply to marine terminal operators and non-vessel operating common carriers in addition to vessel-operating common carriers. Shippers have been complaining that invoices for such charges lack sufficient clarity to enable the recipient to understand and verify the charges. FMC Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye, in a statement issued on February 15, 2022, also outlined the differences between filing a complaint and reporting potential violations of the law that might be investigated by the Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement. Commissioner Dye statement: "This past summer, in my capacity as Fact Finding Officer for Fact Finding 29: International Ocean Transportation Supply Chain Engagement, I recommended, among other things, issuing policy statements regarding private party complaints and holding a webinar on Commission processes. The Commission adopted the recommendations and issued three policy statements on December 28, 2021, and I continue to support clarifying Commission procedures through a variety of means, including a webinar. "To the end, I want to highlight that the Commission’s website contains information about how to file complaints seeking financial compensation for damages with the Commission. Filing a complaint is, in some ways, like filing a lawsuit. General information about filing a complaint can be found on the Filing a Shipping Act Complaint page which explains the difference between a Small Claims Complaint and a Formal Complaint. "Small Claims Complaint: For claims of $50,000 or less, a small claim alleging Shipping Act violations may be filed. The complaint will be handled by a settlement officer for resolution using informal procedures (46 CFR Part 502 Subpart S). "Formal Complaint: Any person may file a formal complaint to allege violations of specific sections of the Shipping Act. The complaint must be sworn and verified, and if seeking financial compensation for damages, be filed within three years of the claimed violation. Formal complaints are generally heard by an Administrative Law Judge and are reviewed by the Commission. "Filing a complaint is distinct from reporting potential Shipping Act violations, see for example, Fact Finding 29: Advice to the Trade, and filing a complaint is distinct from using the Commission’s alternative dispute resolution services. Both, however, are also ways that the shipping public can help the Commission ensure compliance with the Shipping Act and Commission regulations." Filing a Small Claims Complaint The Commission provides a standard format for filing a small claims complaint. All small claims complaint filings should follow this standard format. You may not simply sign and submit the exhibit. The information shown in brackets is to guide you regarding what information you must provide.

Small Claims are determined by a settlement officer using informal procedures and are governed by Commission rules found at 46 CFR 502.301-502.305. Please review these rules before filing an informal complaint.

Please note that a Respondent may object to the informal procedure within 25 days of being served. Should Respondent refuse the informal procedure, the claim will be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge for formal adjudication under Subpart T of the Commission’s rules.

A small claims complaint must:

  • State a section of the Shipping Act found in 46 USC Chapter 411 you allege was violated

  • Be properly signed and sworn or verified by using a notary public or making one of the statements below and signing the name afterward

  • If you are located in the United States: “I declare (or certify, verify or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

  • If you are located outside the United States: “I declare (or certify, verify or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.”

  • Be signed and dated

  • Include an original and two copies of the claim and supporting documentation

  • Be filed within three years from the time the cause of action accrued (i.e., the date the Shipping Act violation occurred)

  • Be mailed, with the appropriate filing fee to:

William Cody Secretary Federal Maritime Commission 800 N. Capitol St. N.W. Washington, DC 20573 How AP Tariffs Can Help You If you want file a Small Claims Complaint but not sure what to do and how to proceed, AP Tariffs offers FREE GUIDANCE of the best pathways for handling these complaints. Free consultations are available in both English and Spanish. Contact AP Tariffs today!

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