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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Congress News

An emperor penguin poses for a photo in front of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is on its way to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

USCG PSC Equals meaningful Polar Presence

The Coast Guard needs a ship that can do more than just break ice; it needs a multi-mission ship to provide for the nation’s security, asserting its sovereign rights, and protecting its long-term economic interests. That ship is the Polar Security Cutter.Since Russia cashed the check in 1867 for the purchase of Alaska the U.S. has been an Arctic nation. Today, it is one of eight countries that have territorial land or seas above the Arctic Circle or in the polar region (six of those countries have Arctic Ocean coastline or an exclusive economic zone above the Arctic Circle). The U.S.

Chris Connor. Photo: AAPA

AAPA Says Senate Cuts Key Port Grant Program

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is very concerned with the U.S. Senate’s approval of a fiscal 2020 appropriations bill that cuts funding by more than two-thirds to a U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) program that provides critical grants for port infrastructure projects nationwide.MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, initiated last year and funded at $292.73 million, would be slashed to $91.6 million if the Senate’s appropriation mark is upheld in the final bill.Not only would funding for the program be severely cut…

Photo: Dredging Contractors of America

Full Utilization of HMTF Passes in U.S. House

This evening the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a recorded vote the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), H.R. 2440. The vote was 296 in favor and 109 opposed. The voting required a two-thirds super majority of the House in order to pass under “suspension of the rules.”There were  seventeen (17) bills presented in the House of Representatives today with fifteen (15) bills passing by voice vote. The Full Utilization of the HMTF was one of two bills…

William P. Doyle, CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA)

DCA to U.S. House: Fully Utilize HMT Fund

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider H.R. 2440, Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund bill on Monday October 28, 2019. The bill may be presented in the House under “suspension of the rules.”“We strongly support the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for intended purpose,” said William P. Doyle, CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA). “This bipartisan bill makes it easier for Congress to appropriate any funds collected in the Trust Fund for authorized harbor maintenance needs…

Photo: ESPO

European Ports Get EcoPorts’ PERS

European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) congratulates Port of Barcelona (Spain), Port of Vigo (Spain) and Port of Baku (Azerbaijan) for getting EcoPorts’ environmental management standard (PERS).Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO’s Secretary General, handed over the PERS certificates to the ports’ representatives during the Green Port Congress in Oslo.“I would like to congratulate Port of Barcelona and Port of Vigo for renewing EcoPorts’ environmental standard and Port of Baku for obtaining it for the first time.

Pic: Hyundai Heavy Industries

US Fines HHI $47Mln Over Dirty Engines

US authorities announced that South Korea's top shipbuilding conglomerate Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) will pay a US$47 million fine for illegally importing and selling dirty diesel engines in violation of American environmental rules.US Justice Department and and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that between 2012 and 2015, the company imported nearly 2,300 diesel-powered heavy construction vehicles with engines that did not meet US emissions standards.“Hyundai put profits above the public’s health and the requirements of the law…

File image of a typical DP World terminal operation. CREDIT: DP World

DP World’s Topaz, P&O Merger Complete by Year-end

Port operator DP World's planned merger of its P&O Maritime and recently acquired Topaz Energy and Marine businesses is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Topaz CEO Rene Kofod-Olsen said on Monday.DP World bought Dubai-based oil services company Topaz in July with the intention of combining it with P&O Maritime as part of efforts to diversify beyond its core port operations to other marine-related sectors.The merged entity, to be known simply as P&O, will give Topaz…

File Image: SMM

SMM 2020 Publishes Maritime Industry Report

“Driving the maritime transition”: In times of the global climate debate and the digital transformation, SMM 2020 will once again be the focal point for decision-makers in the maritime industry.Topics that are currently high on the industry's agenda are highlighted in the new issue of the SMM Maritime Industry Report: Shipping, shipbuilding and supplier companies are especially interested in alternative propulsion technologies and attractive niche markets.The year 2020 marks a major turning point in international shipping: On January 1…

Ship manager CCPO first to adopt ABB Ability Tekomar XPERT for fleet  (Photo: ABB)

ABB’s Digital Solution Helps to Reduce Fuel Costs

ABB secured its first contract for ABB Ability Tekomar XPERT for fleet of 55 vessels with Hamburg based ship manager CPO Containerschiffreederei (CCPO).CCPO offers high quality service to its charter clients and professional ship management for 111 of own and third-party ships. They were an early adopter of the smart engine performance diagnostics software, Tekomar XPERT, during its initial release in 2015. The latest Tekomar XPERT for fleet web application launched in June this…

Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao

U.S. DOT Names Nine Marine Highway Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced the designation of nine Marine Highway Projects and a Marine Highway Route that will benefit Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington State and American Samoa. Marine highways are navigable waterways that can be used as alternate options to traditional shipping methods. “The designation of marine highways by Congress will help move cargo and people to help grow the economy and shift freight off of congested highways,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Adm. Gary Roughead  (Photo: Fincantieri Marinette Marine)

Roughead Joins Fincantieri Marinette Marine Board

Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead was elected as the chairman of the board of directors of Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation July 10.Roughead was the 29th Chief of Naval Operations from 2007 - 2011, after holding six operational commands. He is one of only two officers in the history of the Navy to have commanded both the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.Roughead served in several key positions aside from his sea duties, most notably as the commandant of the U.S.

© THATREE /Adobe Stock

Freight Volumes Impacted by World Economy

Freight volumes in the United States and around the world are falling, signalling tougher times for manufacturers amid escalating trade tensions and heightened uncertainty.Freight volumes in the United States were up by just 0.8% in the three months from March to May compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.Volumes fell year-on-year in May, for the first time in more than two and half years, according to the agency's transportation services index.Freight is growing at the slowest rate since the mid-cycle slowdown of 2015/16…

IMO Secretary Kitack Lim addressing the delegates (Photo: CIMH)

World Congress on Maritime Heritage Focused on Sustainability

A three-day meeting of maritime industry, government leaders, scientists and scholars was held in Singapore to explore the intersections and impacts of maritime heritage. Organized by the Consortium for International Maritime Heritage (CIMH) the key message from this first World Congress on Maritime Heritage is a simple one:  the oceans are in trouble and if the oceans are in trouble, so too is the earth. We breathe oxygen produced by the sea and the sea mitigates the impact of inadequately controlled CO2 emissions. This is a water planet, with two-thirds of the earth covered by it.

Photo Credit: International Propeller Club of the U.S.

Propeller Club Promotes Relationship with Congress

In his role as the new Executive Vice President of the International Propeller Club of the United States (IPCUS), John Cullather, is setting a course for the 50 American-based clubs, specifically, that involve streamlining and improving communication between ports and maritime policy issues and members of Congress.“Congress has played a vital role in U.S. ports since the founding of our nation,” says Cullather. “From the dredging of our harbors to the construction of lighthouses and the installation of aids-to-navigation…

Photo courtesy of The 
Shipbuilders Council of America

DeFazio Honored with 2019 SCA Leadership Award

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) honored U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio (R-OR) as a 2019 recipient of SCA’s Maritime Leadership Award.As recipient of the Maritime Leadership Award, Chairman DeFazio is recognized as an exemplary leader in Congress who has demonstrated outstanding dedication and support of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry. Overall the American maritime industry, including shipbuilding and repair…

U.S. Deploys Troops to Middle East, Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks

The United States on Friday announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country's Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month's tanker attacks.President Donald Trump's administration also invoked the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates…

Propeller Club Names Cullather as EVP

The Board of Directors of the International Propeller Club of the United States has selected Mr. John M. Cullather as its new Executive Vice President.In the role of Executive Vice President, he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the International Propeller Club, will oversee all activities and functions of the International Propeller Club of the United States, and will serve as the primary liaison to the Club’s 70 port chapters worldwide. Along with the Board of Directors…

File Image: Congressman John Garamendi at a recent speech at the California Maritime Academy.

OP/ED: The Jones Act is Worth Fighting For

The President says he wants to make American great again, so why is he trying to destroy the principal support system for America’s maritime industry? This week, we learned that President Trump is “seriously considering” issuing a broad waiver for the Jones Act, a critical law that requires domestic shipping in the U.S. to occur on ships that are built in the United States, fly the U.S. flag, and are operated by crews consisting of at least 75 percent American citizens.I served as the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee of Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation for six years.

VT Halter in Pascagoula, MS, won a $746m contract to build the U.S. Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. Photo: VT Halter.

VT Halter Wins Historic $746m CG Contract

VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS has emerged the victor in one of the most prized and coveted shipbuilding contracts in recent memory, a $746m deal to build the Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. If two additional ship options are exercised, the total deal could approach $2B.The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, through an Integrated Program Office (IPO), awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi, a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) of the Coast Guard’s lead Polar Security Cutter (PSC).

Photo courtesy of AAPA

Ports Call for Maintenance and Infrastructure

In written testimony submitted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Water Resource and Environment hearing on the “Cost of Doing Nothing,” the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) calls on Congress to invest in critical landside and waterside connections to seaports, fully utilize HMT revenues and implement a long-term funding solution for port maintenance.“Landside and waterside investments are critical to building America’s 21st century seaport infrastructure.

Dredging Operations at the Port of New Orleans, LA (CREDIT: Port NOLA)

U.S. Lawmakers Seek Massive Infrastructure Funding

Democratic leaders in Congress said on Thursday they would seek President Donald Trump's support in coming weeks for legislation to invest up to $2 trillion to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools.House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said at separate news conferences they would try to revive an effort that sputtered early in Trump's presidency for major investments in aging public works.The White…

Adm. Karl Schultz delivers the annual SOTCG Address in San Pedro, CA (Image: CREDIT USCG)

USCG Commandant Delivers SOTCG Address

The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard delivered his first State of the Coast Guard address Thursday at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach in San Pedro.Speaking from the largest port in the nation, Adm. Karl Schultz highlighted Coast Guard security and marine safety operations, which facilitate $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity.Schultz also recognized the service and sacrifice of Coast Guard men and women deployed around the world ensuring global peace and prosperity, including servicemembers supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command.

Image: South Carolina Ports Authority

$138M Allocated for Charleston Harbor

President Donald Trump included $138 million in his budget for the coming year to help deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet so it can handle larger container ships, said Charleston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.The project, in the works since 2011, had never been included in a president’s budget until now. The U.S. Army Corps last year revised a formula that measures the project’s economic benefit, putting it above the threshold needed for consideration.The Charleston…

file Image: an idled PDVSA tanker (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Leslie Brug

BSM: PDVSA Tanker Management Likely Ending

Maritime contractor Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) is considering to stop managing Venezuelan state-oil company PDVSA's tankers by the end of this month or in April following U.S. sanctions against the country, BSM said on Thursday.It also said in a statement that recent political developments made managing assets for the Venezuelan government "an almost impossible task", and it was working on returning Venezuelan vessels to PDVSA's maritime arm PDV Marina and its subsidiaries.The German firm…

File Image: AdobeStock / © Sunny

U.S. Democrats Initially Cool to New NAFTA

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives gave a cool reception to the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement on Wednesday as the top U.S. trade negotiator opened a campaign to win broad support for the accord in Congress.Several Democrats said a closed-door meeting between United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and their caucus failed to ease their concerns about the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement's (USMCA) provisions on labor, biologic drugs and some other issues.A USTR spokeswoman declined to comment on the meeting.The support of Democrats…

Senator Debuts Bill to Repeal Jones Act

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Open America’s Water Act of 2019 last week, according to a press release from the senator, a bill which would repeal the Jones Act and allow all qualified vessels to engage in domestic trade between U.S. ports.“Restricting trade between U.S. ports is a huge loss for American consumers and producers," said the Senator in the press release. "It is long past time to repeal the Jones Act entirely so that Alaskans, Hawaiians, and Puerto Ricans aren’t…