September 30, 2022 23:22

FMC chair: port congestion to last through summer

Source: FMC.
Source: FMC.

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The chair of the competition regulator for the maritime industry in the United States is speaking plainly.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

WASHINGTON — The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairperson expects the nation’s major ports to likely witness ongoing congestion through the remainder of summer. FMC chair Daniel Maffei was named to the commission as the Democratic leadership, under President Joe Biden and his administration across the Department of Transportation.

“I am extremely concerned by it, partly because it’s not going to go away,” said Maffei, a former two-term congressman, in an interview on Transport Topics Radio on SiriusXM. This was Maffei’s first broadcast interview since becoming the chair of the FMC. “Yes, it’s gotten a little bit better, and I expect and hope it won’t get as bad as it was when 60-plus ships at the worst lined up,” he said.

Maffei: “But the fact is, we’ve stressed our supply chain to the max and beyond. But we do have a situation where we’d have this unprecedented import boom, and every ship is going to be on the water, and we’d have a shortage of empty containers…But I do think this is better than empty ports and not enough jobs for truckers and longshoremen.”

Maffei added that while the two largest ports in the United States, Los Angeles and Long Beach, are getting much more attention because of the port congestion. Other ports on the West Coast and the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey, Savannah, Ga., and reporting longer times for container and cargo vessels to unload and go back to sea.

“We’re starting to see issues in other places,” Maffei said. “This is something that is impacting all of us; it’s just Los Angeles and Long Beach where it’s the toughest.”

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