FMC Welcomes New Acting Chairman

February 15, 2017 – Michael A. Khouri today presided over his first meeting as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Khouri became the 21st person to lead the Commission late last month when he was designated by President Donald J. Trump to serve as Acting Chairman.

At today’s meeting, two items were taken-up by the Commission: a briefing by Commissioner William Doyle reporting on the Competition Law in the Transportation Sector conference he recently attended in Amsterdam; and, and a staff update on the status of FMC Docket 16-05, which addresses service contracts and NVOCC Service Arrangements.

During his trip to the Netherlands, Doyle had the opportunity to visit the Ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. At the latter facility, he toured the APM Terminal and witnessed a 19,200 TEU container ship being worked. Doyle commented on the extent to which Short Sea Shipping is used to move containers within the Netherlands and said as a result, it was notable how many fewer trucks carrying cargo there were on Dutch roads. While at the conference, Doyle met with carrier industry representatives and a number of topics were covered in meetings. He recounted that key discussions included the impact of new carrier alliances going into effect this spring, how to safeguard shippers from the worst consequences in the wake of a shipping company bankruptcy, and recent votes taken by the Commission.

Staff reported that commenters to the proposed rule (16-05) expressed broad support for the various flexibilities provided in the proposal, including extension of the time to file service contract amendments with the Commission, and made some suggestions to further decrease regulatory burden. A final rule will be issued by the Commission in the very near future.

The Commission also recognized the many years of cooperation between U.S. State Department transportation policy expert Stephen M. Miller and the Federal Maritime Commission. Miller is retiring this spring after more than 30 years of public service.

Commissioner Cordero passes the gavel to Acting Chairman Khouri at the February 15, 2017 Commission meeting.

“I am honored to have been designated as Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission,” stated Khouri. “I want to assure all the Commission’s constituents and stakeholders that I am committed to assuring a competitive marketplace for ocean transportation services and the emphasis of the agency will remain to faithfully administer the shipping laws of the United States.

“I want to thank my colleague Mario Cordero for his tenure as Chairman of the Commission. He worked diligently in that role and did many positive things for the agency. The Commission’s steady climb in the Partnership for Public Service’s annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings is testament to his efforts. Each of us appreciate his continued commitment to public service. I look forward to our continued good relationship.”

During the course of his remarks at today’s meeting, Commissioner Cordero spoke positively about his service as Chairman from 2013 until earlier this year.

“It was a pleasure to serve as Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and I am proud of our accomplishments over the last four years. I know that its good work will continue with Acting Chairman Khouri. I look forward to working with him to serve the needs of the American shipping public and furthering the mission objectives of the Commission.”

Commissioner Rebecca Dye expressed that “I strongly support the decision of President Trump to appoint Michael Khouri as the Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission and I wish Mike all the best. I want to thank Commissioner Cordero for his hard work. The FMC is well prepared for the future with an exceptional leadership team.”

Fellow Commissioners Doyle and Maffei expressed their support as well.

“I thank Commissioner Cordero for his service, attention and dedication to the Commission. It was a pleasure working with him during his time as chairman,” stated Doyle. “I welcome Acting Chairman Khouri and look forward to working with him as the Commission takes on important matters that will affect all American consumers, American exporters and importers, and the American economy. Acting Chairman Khouri brings a keen legal intellect and genuine passion to the issues facing the FMC.”

“Mario Cordero’s tireless efforts during his term have ensured that the Federal Maritime Commission continues to thrive in spite of the many challenges facing the maritime industry today,” said Maffei. “I have had the privilege of working closely with Acting Chairman Michael Khouri and benefiting from his vast maritime expertise and I look forward to continuing to work with him as he ably leads the Federal Maritime Commission.”

Mr. Khouri is a native of Kentucky who has a more than four decade career in the maritime industry that began as a deckhand on towboats moving barges up and down the Mississippi and Ohio River System. He would work his way up the hawsepipe, ultimately serving as a vessel captain. Additionally, he earned his U.S. Merchant Marine Officer’s License as Master and First Class Pilot on Steam and Motor Vessels. Mr. Khouri came ashore to earn a Juris Doctorate from the Brandeis School of Law—University of Louisville, following which, he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and business executive in the transportation sector. Mr. Khouri joined the Commission in 2010.

Merry Christmas