The United States Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Friday announced the creation of a new office to manage its enforcement and compliance activities.
The agency, which is responsible for regulating U.S. international shipping, said it was consolidating its investigation and prosecution functions into a new Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations and Compliance (BEIC). ) with immediate effect.
FMC President Daniel B. Maffei said the reorganization “strengthens FMC’s ability to scrutinize the conduct of shipping companies and marine terminal operators to ensure compliance with the law and fairness for US importers and exporters”.
“Strict enforcement of the Shipping Act is absolutely essential to the effectiveness of the Federal Maritime Commission. This reorganization has the support of all five commissioners and creates a structure better suited to fulfill the mandate that the President and Congress have given to this agency to prioritize enforcement,” Maffei said.
In June, President Joe Biden enacted the Marine Navigation Reform Act, which, among other things, strengthens the FMC’s investigative powers by allowing it to launch investigations into the business practices of public shipping companies and to apply enforcement measures. The Biden administration said the legislation is designed to improve oversight of shipping, which will help curb inflation and reduce export backlogs.
BEIC is created after an internal review of the agency’s enforcement and compliance activities determined that a restructuring and amalgamation of the enforcement and compliance programs would result in a more efficient, coordinated and responsive operation from inception to conclusion of an investigation, FMC said.
The newly created office will be headed by a Senior Executive Service lawyer with regulatory, prosecution and investigative experience. The Commission’s Executive Director, Lucille M. Marvin, will also act as interim director until a permanent director is hired.
The office will be divided into three sections: the Office of Enforcement, the Office of Investigations and the Office of Compliance. These offices will each be headed by an office manager. The Director of BEIC will oversee and manage the activities of the three offices and will be supported by a Deputy Director who will assist in the management of the program. The Director of BEIC will report to the Director General.
As part of the reorganization, the Commission is converting the Area Representative positions to Investigators, placing them within the Investigations Office. In addition, the Commission will increase the number of investigators at its disposal. Investigators will now focus exclusively on enforcement activities and the public education function previously carried out by the Area Representative role will be handled by the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services in as part of their broader public assistance work.