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Friday, July 19, 2019

Congress News

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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…

A VLCC alongside in the port of Corpus Christi, TX (CREDIT: port of Corpus Christi)

Moda Midstream Eyes Second TX VLCC Berth

Moda Midstream LLC is considering building a second berth at its Ingleside, Texas, crude export terminal to accommodate booming shale oil production on the Gulf Coast, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.The expansion to the terminal that loads oil tankers will come as three major pipelines open in the second half of 2019, CEO Bo McCall said in an interview. Moda is also increasing the facility's crude storage capacity to 10 million barrels from 2 million."When these new pipelines come online…

The Icaro (© Leslie Brug / MarineTraffic.com)

PDVSA Insists it's Still Working with BSM

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA said on Thursday it has not halted business with maritime firm Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), even after the German firm said it would remove the crews that have been operating 10 of 15 PDVSA vessels over unpaid fees and return the tankers.On Tuesday, PDVSA's maritime arm PDV Marina declared an emergency due to lack of staff to immediately receive the 10 vessels BSM proposed to return to Venezuelan ports due to unpaid bills of at…

Tom Allegretti, President & CEO

AWO Testifies Before Congress

Today, the American Waterways Operators testified before two congressional committees on the state of the American maritime industry.Tom Allegretti, President & CEO, testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee while across the Capitol, Jennifer Carpenter, Executive Vice President & COO, appeared before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. In written testimonies submitted to the Committee and Subcommittee, both Mr. Allegretti and Mrs.

Securing, Enhancing America’s Ports & Supply Chain

The American Association of Port Authorities and its membership recently looked ahead at the challenges and opportunities facing the Port Security Grant Program.In its annual “State of Freight” series, AAPA has highlighted the transportation infrastructure needs of U.S. ports, state transportation agencies and multimodal projects. In this final report in the State of Freight series, AAPA turns to the vital role that security infrastructure plays in moving goods.In 2002, Congress…

River Raisin Dredging, Monroe, Michigan

U.S. Army Corps Selects 10 Beneficial Use Pilot Projects

At the end of December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) announced its selection of ten dredging projects that will form the core of a pilot program to advance the beneficial use of dredged material.The recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement culminated a program required by Congress, established within the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, specifically Section 1122. Congress directed that the ten pilot projects selected were required to present environmental…

Kristen DeMarco, JAXPORT Chief Commercial Officer

INSIGHTS: Kristen DeMarco, JAXPORT Chief Commercial Officer

Kristen DeMarco is JAXPORT’s Chief Commercial Officer. She is responsible for leading JAXPORT’s international cargo sales and marketing initiatives as well as tracking trends and issues related to maximizing the port’s business potential. DeMarco has nearly two decades of business development experience in the logistics industry, with a track record of successfully negotiating multi-million dollar deals and building relationships with decision-makers from some of the world’s largest companies.

The International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (ISSC).

C-Job Naval Architects to join two ISSC 2021 Committees

The International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (ISSC) has recently appointed representatives from Dutch Naval Architecture firm C-Job Naval Architects to two of its 2018 – 2021 committees. The ISSC is a forum for the exchange of information by experts undertaking and applying marine structural research. Mark Slagmolen, Naval Architect at C-Job, has been selected for a technical committee concerning ‘Design Methods’ and Claudia Loureiro Garcia, Lead Naval Architect at C-Job…

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Offshore Terminal Plan Slowed by U.S. Shutdown

The U.S. government shutdown has delayed Enterprise Products Partners LP's plan to build a major U.S. crude export terminal off Houston, blocking the pipeline operator from filing paperwork with U.S. regulators, an executive said on Wednesday.Enterprise plans to file a 10,000-page permit application with the U.S. Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard as soon as the U.S. government reopens. It takes about a year for regulators to process an application for a deep-water terminal."Tell me when the government opens and I'll tell you when it happens…

Image: North of England P&I Club

US Shutdown Impacts Shipping: North P&I Club

US Coast Guard and other federal agencies are operating at a reduced capacity following US government shutdown, said North of England Protecting and Indemnity Association (North P&I Club).Since 21 December 2018, the US Government has been in shutdown following the failure of Congress to agree federal funding. With no end in sight, it is the longest shutdown in US history, it said."We have not received any indications as yet that the shutdown is causing significant disruption to shipping," said a statement from North P&I Club.

© Robert Coy / Adobe Stock

US Oil Export Boom Sparks Battle to Build Texas Ports

Booming U.S. oil exports have set off a scramble to build Gulf Coast ports to handle more than 3 million barrels per day in new supplies expected over the next five years.Of seven proposed oil-export projects, nowhere is the opportunity greater or the competition more fierce than in Corpus Christi, Texas, where three firms are vying to open the state's first deepwater port.Commodities trader Trafigura has taken an early lead with a planned offshore facility that has an easier…

AAPA: U.S. Ballast Water Legislative Victory Appears Imminent

Legislation that sets standards for incidental water discharges from vessels passed the House on Nov. 29.The Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, S. 140, which includes the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), passed the Senate two weeks earlier and now moves to the President to be signed.The provision places the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the lead role of establishing standards for ballast water discharge, and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will monitor and enforce compliance.