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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Congress News

Tracy Zea is the Waterways Council Inc.’s new President & CEO.

Interview: Tracy Zea, President & CEO, Waterways Council Inc.

We recently checked in with Tracy Zea, Waterways Council Inc.’s new President & CEO, on what’s in store for the U.S. inland waterways for the remainder of 2020.To start, give us some insight on your background and how you came to lead WCI.I was born and raised in Chandler, Ariz., and attended South Dakota State University, receiving a degree in Political Science. After college, I found my way to Washington, D.C. via an internship with Senator Thune (R-S.D.). After the internship, I was hired by the House of Representatives, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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Op/Ed: Federal Support for Ports is Critical

Florida’s seaports are one of the state’s greatest economic assets, positively affecting every region and every resident. Our seaports have a $117.6 billion economic impact across Florida and account for more than 900,000 direct and indirect jobs, while linking our communities to vital national and international markets.During the COVID-19 crisis, ports across the country have sustained mounting losses. Ports that specialize in moving hard-hit cargoes like steel and automobiles, or depend on tourism and cruise ships are also particularly vulnerable.

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Congress Responds to COVID19 and Other Challenges for the Maritime Industry

In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Congressional Research Service released a report that stated global economic growth has declined by 3% to 6% in 2020 with a partial recovery predicted for 2021. Also, the GDP of the U.S. has fallen by 5% in the first quarter 2020. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the maritime industry, and seafarers themselves, have not been able to escape the significant effects of this crisis.All sectors of the maritime industry have been adversely affected by the global pandemic.

Photo: ©Hasenpusch

SMM 2021: Plotting a Course Forward for the Global Maritime Community

As the maritime world collectively feels its way forward in a time now defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the SMM in Hamburg, traditionally the world's largest and most influential maritime and shipbuilding trade event, share market overview insights on the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the the shipping industry.The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world economy on its head. “The recession this year will likely be more severe, and recovery in 2021 will be slower than we anticipated two months ago…

Mark D. Sickles

Sickles Named Interim Head of Dredging Contractors of America

Former Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) executive director and Weeks Marine’s corporate and government relations director Mark D. Sickles will serve as Interim CEO and executive director as the organization searches for new staff leadership to succeed outgoing DCA head William P. Doyle, who has been appointed to lead the Maryland Port Administration, and Executive Director of the Port of Baltimore.Sickles was unanimously approved by the DCA board of directors and general membership during its annual meeting on July 9.

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New Bill Aims to Secure Grant Funding for Maritime Training

A new bill introduced in the U.S. aims to make available $200 million in grant funding for community and technical colleges offering training programs for maritime industry professions. The legislation H.R. 7456 was introduced by Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (Texas-29) alongside Rep. Don Young (Alaska-At-Large), Rep. Anthony G. Brown (Md.-04), Rep. Brian Babin (Texas-36), and Rep. Steven Palazzo (Miss.-04).“Maritime industry jobs are a critical part of our nation’s economy. Yet research has shown that there may soon be a shortage of maritime industry workers,” said Congresswoman Garcia.

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Coronavirus Rekindles Global Trade Disputes

At the start of the year, U.S.-China tensions were easing after their Phase I trade deal, while Washington, Brussels and Tokyo agreed on new global trading rules to curb subsidies. A relative calm had set in.Then the new coronavirus struck.Countries across the world imposed 222 exports curbs on medical supplies and medicines and in some cases food, according to Global Trade Alert, a Swiss monitoring group. For medical products, it was more than 20 times the usual level.Those curbs are now being lifted…

THE GOLDEN RAY response project, although still unfinished, provides a stark example of how easily the US spill response program can get off track. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brian McCrum

Marine Salvage and SMFF Regulations

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA, often called the Clean Water Act), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), provides:If a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources…

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US Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Trump's Steel Tariffs

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge to President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported steel brought by an industry group that had argued that a key part of the law under which he imposed the duties violates the U.S. Constitution.The justices declined to hear the American Institute for International Steel's appeal of a February ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favor of the administration. The institute is a pro-free trade group that…

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Waterways Council, Inc.’s 2020 Vision

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) is the national public policy organization that advocates for a modern, efficient inland waterways system. Abiding by our mission has meant success over our 17-year history. In 2020, WCI’s top priority is to conform the cost-share for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-financed construction projects to require 25% of the project cost be derived from the IWTF and the remaining 75% from General Revenues. The policy vehicle for this adjustment is the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)…

American Steamship Company’s M/V American Courage upbound on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio with a load of taconite from the iron ranges on Lake Superior for ArcelorMittal Cleveland, one of the most productive integrated steel mills in the world. (Photo Credit: Thomas Rayburn)

Great Lakes Shipping Companies Navigate Market Challenges Ahead

For U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes, 2019 was a good year. Total cargos were 90 million net tons, up 7.5% over 2018 and 4.6% over the five-year average. 49.7 million net tons of iron ore were shipped, up 8.5% over 2018 and 11.7% over the five year. Limestone was up 9.7% over 2018 and 10.2% over the five-year average. In 2010 and 2011, coal and limestone were each about 20 million net tons. Since then, coal has shown a steady decline as coal-fired power generating plants…

MarAd Insights: “In peace and war” -- Even Against a Virus

The U.S. maritime industry takes great pride in our motto: “In Peace and War.” It sums what we’re all about. From colonial times, through the Revolution, the Civil War, two World Wars, several regional conflicts, and many natural and humanitarian disasters, we got the cargo delivered because our economic security and our national security depend on it.Today, we confront a new kind of enemy: an invisible, debilitating, and too often deadly disease. Yet, just as the courageous merchant…

Join a webinar on June 17, 2020 for the global release of a major new market study on the depth, breadth and growth prospects of the Offshore Wind Market -- https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UR5uY1boTOKdAAcAXDbR4g
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The Emerging U.S. Offshore Wind Industry in a Post-COVID-19 World

Join a webinar on June 17, 2020 for the global release of a major new market study on the depth, breadth and growth prospects of the Offshore Wind Market --  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UR5uY1boTOKdAAcAXDbR4gJust when it was looking like the offshore wind industry was finally about to take off in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced one more significant layer of uncertainty upon an already very complicated playing field. There are currently 15 active offshore wind projects in the planning stages which…

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Doyle Hired to Lead the Port of Baltimore

William P. Doyle, a former U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner, has been hired to lead the Port of Baltimore as the new executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced.Currently CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America, Doyle will take the helm at the Port of Baltimore effective July 22, succeeding Jim White, who announced he would step down at the end of 2019. Doyle was appointed by Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Greg Slater…

(Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Trump Issues National Maritime Day Proclamation

In recognition of National Maritime Day, held on May 22 each year, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation honoring the U.S. maritime industry. The full text is below.Since the founding of our great Nation, we have relied on merchant mariners to deliver goods to market and strengthen our national security. On National Maritime Day, we recognize the United States Merchant Marine for all it does to facilitate our commerce and protect our interests at sea.Our Nation’s merchant…

(Photo: Port of Brownsville)

When the Bell Rings: Honoring US Merchant Mariners

This Memorial Day, as we rightfully honor the military men and women who gave their lives winning and protecting our freedoms, let us not forget an often-overlooked remembrance for the thousands of U.S. merchant mariners who also died serving our country in their own selfless ways.In 1933, by a joint Resolution of Congress and by Proclamation of the President of the United States, May 22 was set aside as National Maritime Day to honor the sacrifices of U.S. merchant mariners during wartime and in peace.

Owen Gibson (Photo: USCG)

Coast Guard Academy Cadet Receives Fulbright Award

First Class Cadet Owen Gibson, a Civil Engineering major from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, has received a Fulbright Award to pursue a two-year Master of Science degree in Water Resource Engineering and Management at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.Gibson’s Fulbright research project will focus on climate change and soil erosion models. The goal of his research is to develop a model for assessing coastal soil erosion rates. The model will address the uncertainty of climate change using probability analysis and will be tested throughout coastal regions in Northern Germany.

© Alexey Lesik / Adobe Stock

China Exports, Imports Set to Plummet

China’s exports and imports are expected to record double-digit declines in April after a tentative recovery in March as the coronavirus pandemic batters global demand and disrupts manufacturing supply chains, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.The pessimistic projections reinforce concerns that the collapse in global demand will restrain the recovery in the world’s second-biggest economy as it gets back on its feet after weeks of paralysis due to the virus outbreak.Shipments out of China are likely to have fallen 15.7% in April from a year earlier…

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SMM Exhibition Rescheduled to February 2021

One of the world's largest shipbuilding exhibitions, SMM, held bi-annually in Hamburg, Germany and scheduled to take place in September 8-11, 2020, has been postponed to 2-5 February 2021 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and its global impact on major events and international travelling.“The continued highly dynamic development of COVID-19 and the resulting ban on major events have left us no other choice but to postpone SMM to next year. Finding a suitable new timeframe for SMM was not an easy task for us…

Rear Adm. Melissa Bert (Photo: USCG)

Rear Adm. Bert Makes History with New USCG Role

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday Rear Adm. Melissa Bert has been invested as judge advocate general and chief counsel of the Coast Guard. Bert is the service’s first woman to hold that office.Bert was most recently the director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the Coast Guard, where she was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.As judge advocate general and chief counsel, Bert will lead a group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions…

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Insights: Contracts are Overrated in Maritime

My company has been around since 1875, and today we actually still do things that were being done in 1875. We still get calls from underwriters to attend on disasters all over the place, and we are still asked to provide values on ships on a moment’s notice.Moreover, some of the companies that ask us to attend to those issues, in some form or another, also have been around since 1875.That results in a very smooth operational routine, where we get a call from one of those clients in the middle of the night, we pull our pants on, step into the car and go out to see what is going on.

Photo: Scott Dobry Pictures

Dredging: Managing the Impact of Channel Deepening and Widening on Surrounding Structures

U.S. ports have worked toward increasing the depth and width of their channels to allow for larger ships with greater capacities. The equation is generally: bigger ships = more throughput = increased profitability. But what are the impacts around a channel after it’s widened? The ripple effects may go further than you think.Managing the Impact of Channel Improvement Projects on Structures and PipelinesWith more water to impact them, structures around an expanded channel may need improvements, and pipelines under the channel may need relocation to make way for dredging.

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Fed Funds Could Aid Battered Cruise Lines

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday officials will have a better idea this week of the total cost of a coronavirus aid package, but predicted it will likely be "significant but not huge."Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday" he also planned to talk to lawmakers about critical aid to airlines, as well as the hotel and cruise ship industries."It's hard to model some of these things because you don't know how many workers are going to be home. I want to be careful about throwing out numbers," he said.

Photo: Weeks Marine

Big Ship Ready Port Dredging Kicks off 2020

The end of the 2019 saw some unprecedented funding measure pass through Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The Gulf and East Coast have continued to receive significant funding to help deepen and widen navigational channels and gateways. One of the projects passed into law included the Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration Project. Some of the ports receiving funding and underway include Mobile, Baltimore, Houston, Port Everglades and Norfolk. All these projects funded by Congress draw a direct correlation to the expanded Panama Canal.

Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias explains the recently-completed capital investment made at the shipbuilding facility to (left to right) Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS); Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations; George Jones, Ingalls Vice President of Operations; and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). Photo by Derek Fountain/HII

CNO Michael Gilday Visits Ingalls Shipbuilding

America’s largest military shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries announced that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday visited the company’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division.During his visit, Gilday toured the shipyard facility and received an overview of infrastructure improvements as well as an update on shipbuilding programs. Adm. Gilday, who was sworn in as the Nation’s 32nd chief of naval operations in August 2019, also met with crew-members of ships currently under construction or modernization at Ingalls.“Along with Mississippi’s two U.S. Senators, Sen.

MV Argo Merchant was a Liberian-flagged oil tanker that ran aground and sank southeast of Nantucket Island, Mass., on Dec. 15, 1976, causing one of the largest marine oil spills in history. U.S. Coast Guard Archives

Anatomy of a Marine Casualty Investigation

Blank Rome’s maritime attorneys have represented clients in some of the largest maritime casualties in the last 20 years, including the Staten Island Ferry allision with a maintenance pier in New York, the blow out and eventual loss of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the sinking of the El Faro during Hurricane Joaquin, and the collision between the Navy Destroyer USS John S. McCain and the tanker ALNIC MC in the Singapore Strait. These casualties have resulted in the catastrophic loss of life…