Richard Lidinsky, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), has confirmed that his first public speaking engagement following the upcoming Presidential election will be at the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT) Northeast Cargo Symposium on November 8, 2012.

Chairman Lidinsky’s appearance at the symposium will be very timely. Since his nomination by President Obama and confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Lidinsky has been very active in regard to critical issues in international ocean shipping, including those related to U.S. ports’ ongoing longshore labor negotiations. For this reason, Chairman Lidinsky has been designated the kickoff speaker of CONECT’s 11th Annual Northeast Cargo Symposium, to be held at the Boston Marriott Newton. He will address symposium attendees at 9 a.m.

The FMC has jurisdiction over international ocean carriers, freight rates, surcharges, marine terminal operators, and charges related to cargo transiting port docks on all coasts of the United States. Importers, exporters, ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, freight forwarders, and customs brokers are impacted by the negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and USMEX (the marine terminal operator negotiation group), which currently are under supervision of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. The FMC continuously scrutinizes actions taken by all parties affected by these negotiations. The parties have agreed to extend the current East Coast and Gulf Coast longshore contract until December 30, and to continue negotiating, without disruption of port operations, through that date.

In addition, the FMC has been active on a number of fronts, including a proposal to create an export freight rate index, which attracted global attention from all sectors of the maritime community. Chairman Lidinsky will discuss this concept as well as his agenda for the Commission at this critical juncture.