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FMC Approves Agreement to Facilitate Discussions on West Coast Port Efficiency

The Federal Maritime Commission has unanimously agreed to allow the Pacific Ports Operational Improvements Agreement to become effective as of 17 April. An FMC press release states that under this agreement the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association, the West Coast Marine Terminal Operator Agreement, and almost every vessel-operating carrier and MTO serving U.S. West Coast ports will be able to discuss and exchange information and reach agreement on measures to address and improve the efficiency of port facility operations to reduce congestion.

"This agreement is an example of supply chain participants cooperating and working together under the authority of the Shipping Act to improve port productivity, innovation and efficiency," said FMC Chairman Mario Cordero. Commissioner William Doyle added that the agreement parties agreed to narrow its scope "to minimize possible anticompetitive effects," for example by removing authority to impose fees and charges on third parties, "while still maintaining a cooperative effort to reduce port congestion." In addition, the FMC will maintain "a robust monitoring program” that will enable it to quickly identify and respond to any emerging concerns.

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