11/15/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/15/2022 10:34
Chairman Daniel B. Maffei travelled to the San Francisco Bay Area October 31 and November 1, 2022 for a series of meetings exploring shipping, supply chain, infrastructure, and technology issues.
The visit began with Chairman Maffei participating in a Congressional roundtable discussion held Monday October 31st in Oakland and led by Representatives Jim Costa, Mike Thompson, Barbara Lee, and John Garamendi. Panelists from key agencies at the federal and state levels were present to discuss progress on addressing supply chain challenges. Panelists also heard from shippers and other supply chain participants about issues they continue to have with ocean transportation services.
"I applaud these Members of Congress for the interest they have taken in shipping and their determination that ocean carriers do a better job of serving U.S. shippers, especially agricultural exporters. The experiences and frustrations their constituents have endured the past two years are why the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 was passed quickly and overwhelmingly. I am committed to implementing OSRA in a manner that is punctual and reflective of Congressional intent. This roundtable demonstrates continuing Congressional attention to the supply chain as well as how ocean carriers conduct themselves in the marketplace," said Chairman Maffei.
Also on Monday, the Chairman met with Danny Wan, Executive Director of the Port of Oakland, and his key senior maritime operations staff to discuss the Port's vital role in supporting U.S. agricultural export shippers. Approximately 50% of Oakland's volumes are export shipments. The Chairman toured the port as part of his visit, seeing firsthand terminal operations and sites the Port plans on developing to increase its abilities to serve all shippers.
"Oakland is a vital and preferred gateway for export shippers based not only in California, but deep into the Heartland of the United States. Identifying what steps can be taken to improve the frequency and certainty of vessels calls at Oakland is something the Commission might be able to explore through our Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Audit Program," said Chairman Maffei.
On Tuesday, November 1st, the Chairman travelled across the Bay to meet with Willie Adams, the President of the San Francisco Port Commission, Elaine Forbes, the Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, and key port leadership staff to discuss that facility's maritime business. The Port of San Francisco serves cruise, bulk, project, and auto trades and is working to bring more business to their maritime operations. Ms. Forbes and her staff outlined investments they are making in facilities improvements, including upgrading their electrical grid, improving road access to industrial port facilities, and identifying new opportunities to grow their maritime business. Also addressed were plans the Port has for addressing sea level rise and protecting the port and parts of the city vulnerable to flooding and storm surges.
"Supply chain congestion revealed to people outside of the maritime sector the tremendous value and concerning scarcity of port capacity. The Port of San Francisco recognizes and is acting on the opportunity to grow their industrial maritime business, increase service offerings to cargo shippers, and increase utilization of their cargo facilities. Mr. Adams, Ms. Forbes, and the Port staff are to be commended for their leadership in prioritizing improvements to their industrial operations. I was also impressed by how strongly the Port's cruise business has recovered from COVID. The number of passengers visiting San Francisco has in some months exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Pleasure cruising is an important part of many cities' tourism sectors. I am certain the expanded rights to a refund the Commission created earlier this year is providing consumers the necessary confidence to book cruise voyages," said Chairman Maffei.
Chairman Maffei finished his visit to the Bay Area by meeting with the Chief Executive Officers of Cargomatic and FlexPort, two supply chain technology companies innovating how shippers move ocean cargo. Topics of conversation covered not only their respective business models, but their experiences serving customers the past two-years, and their observations about trends in trade, shipping, and the economy.