The US Federal Maritime Commission team tasked with reviewing liner operators and their practices has finished its first round of meetings.

The commission said on Friday that its Vessel Operating Common Carrier Audit Team held meetings with 11 key shipping lines to “identify which ocean carriers have export strategies, how well those strategies work and to urge companies without export strategies to establish one”.

“Helping US export shippers is my top priority as chairman and I will ask my fellow commissioners and commission staff to utilize the full extent of our authority to ensure American agricultural producers and manufacturers reach overseas markets,” commission Chairman Daniel Maffei said in a statement.

“The information the Audit Team is gathering from the shipping lines will be invaluable in identifying what carriers are doing well in carrying exports and where we must push carriers to do more.  It’s one part of our comprehensive effort to encourage the ocean carrier industry to increase export service overall.”

The commission said that during the meetings, the team discussed trends in carrier export numbers and focused on agricultural exports.

The audit was announced last summer and included the top nine liner operators: AP Moller-Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co, CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express, Evergreen Line, HMM and Yang Ming Marine Transport.

The effort was expanded in March to look into how the lines serve US export shippers.

The findings from the first round of meetings will be presented to the commission later this spring, The FMC said.

The agency, tasked with regulating international shipping, has taken a more active role since President Joe Biden signed an executive order on competitiveness in the US economy last year.

The FMC has launched formal investigations into the detention and demurrage practices of Ocean Network Express and Wan Hai Lines. The regulator tasked its Bureau of Enforcement look at BAL Container Line, CULines, Lihua Logistics Co, Transfar Shipping and X-Press Container Line, arguing they only began serving US ports once container shipping rates skyrocketed.

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