On March 24, 2023, the Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), Daniel B. Maffei, testified before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of the House Appropriations Committee to review the FMC's Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request. In his testimony, Chairman Maffei highlighted the FMC's role in promoting a fair and efficient ocean transportation system and emphasized the need for additional resources to address the challenges faced by the industry. Chairman Maffei began his testimony by discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the maritime industry. He noted that the pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and created significant challenges for shippers and carriers. He also highlighted the FMC's efforts to address these challenges, including its work to facilitate the movement of critical medical supplies and equipment. Chairman Maffei then turned to the FMC's budget request for FY2024. He noted that the request includes $34 million in budget authority, which represents an increase of $3.3 million over the FY2023 enacted level. He emphasized that these additional resources are necessary to enable the FMC to carry out its statutory responsibilities, which include regulating ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, and ocean transportation intermediaries. Chairman Maffei also discussed several initiatives that the FMC plans to undertake in FY2024. These include:
Continuing the FMC's work on the implementation of the agency's Final Rule on Demurrage and Detention, which went into effect in April 2021.
Enhancing the FMC's monitoring and enforcement efforts related to container availability and service contract compliance.
Conducting a review of the FMC's regulations related to ocean transportation intermediaries to ensure that they are consistent with current industry practices.
Addressing the challenges faced by small businesses in the maritime industry, including through the FMC's Small Business Innovation Research program.
Chairman Maffei emphasized the FMC's commitment to promoting a fair and efficient ocean transportation system. He noted that the FMC's efforts are focused on ensuring that shippers and carriers are able to compete on a level playing field and that consumers are able to access the goods and services they need at reasonable prices. Chairman Maffei's testimony before Congress highlights the challenges faced by the maritime industry and the FMC's efforts to address these challenges. The FMC's FY2024 budget request includes additional resources to enable the agency to carry out its statutory responsibilities and to undertake important initiatives aimed at promoting a fair and efficient ocean transportation system. The FMC's commitment to ensuring that shippers and carriers are able to compete on a level playing field is critical to the health and vitality of the U.S. economy, and the agency's work will continue to be closely monitored by Congress and industry stakeholders alike.