In the past month, the world as we know it has made unprecedented changes that have altered everything. These alterations have impacted how we eat, how we communicate, and our personal relationships. But these changes could have major implications that aren’t on most people’s radar. 

The Problem

After being as strong as it has been in several years, the economy has fallen into a tailspin, and companies across the nation have been put on pause. This temporary paralysis of even the largest of corporations has created stalls in the maritime industry. China was hit hard by this invisible pathogen but recently has begun to start producing again. The U.S. cargo owners feel it is not in their best interest to retrieve these goods because of all of the cancellations from their customers. Questions are beginning to arise about what to do with all of these inbound cargo containers to minimize congestion.

The Proposal

The Commissioner of the FMC or the Federal Maritime Commission, Rebecca Dye, has proposed an initiative to the high-ranking executives in the industry that would keep the supply chains fluid and in constant motion. Dye plans to accomplish this task by creating an open line of communication that would link the essential parts of the maritime operations such as the supply chain teams, director of ports, and the agency; as well as connecting the ocean carriers, freight forwarders, truckers, and other mandatory appendages in the logistics industry. Dye said her greatest worry is that the smaller BCO’s, or beneficial cargo owners, will not have many options when the containers finally begin to arrive again and their warehouses are already overflowing. On April 6th, the FMC began identifying the necessary next steps to solve the most challenging problems caused by the pandemic, referred to as the Fact-Finding No. 9.

Several ports are making efforts to solve these overwhelming issues by identifying spaces to be used for the storage of containers and cargo away from terminals. Others are discussing with warehouses operators that may be willing to find some extra space for the tsunami of extra merchandise. Jim Newsome, the CEO of the South Carolina Port Authority, has seen this crisis and responded with creative solutions. 

At RTM Lines, we applaud the FMC for rolling up their sleeves and working on innovative solutions to keep the supply chain running smoothly and effectively. The proactive responses from the government and companies will make all the difference in ensuring the supply chain continues to run efficiently.