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Thursday, December 3, 2020

House Of Representatives News

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Opinion: Legislative Loophole Could Keep U.S. Offshore Wind Jones Act Fleet at Dock

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019, which enforces Jones Act requirements for all offshore renewable energy production. However, the bill's current language has the potential to create a loophole that would leave the U.S. Jones Act fleet on the sidelines. The Jones Act and its applicability to the offshore wind sector has long been debated by politicians, activists, and industry professionals. The act requires components transported between points in the United States to be moved by U.S. built, owned, flagged and crewed vessels.

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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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.

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US Trade Chief Vows to Push for 'Broad Reset' at WTO

The Trump administration will push for a broad reset of “outdated tariff determinations” at the World Trade Organization to fix what it sees as years of unfair treatment of the United States, a top trade official told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Geneva-based body was “a mess” and changes in the tariffs set by the Geneva-based WTO were urgently needed to better reflect current economic realities.“Many countries with large and developed economies maintain very high bound tariff rates…

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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.

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Pelosi to Speak as U.S. Closes in on USMCA Deal

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. Mexico Canada (USMCA) trade deal as U.S. and Canadian officials prepared to fly to Mexico City to work on final changes to the agreement."We're close. We're not quite finished yet, we're within range," Pelosi told a forum of chief executives on Monday evening.Her office did not elaborate on any announcement but she will be accompanied at the news conference by Representative Richard Neal…

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 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…

Senator Cassidy: No Jones Act Waiver

A Republican U.S. senator on Wednesday said President Donald Trump will not waive rules requiring that only U.S.-flagged ships move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast.The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Republican senators said the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for 10 years. Bloomberg News reported last week that Trump was leaning in favor of some kind of waiver.Senator Bill Cassidy…

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…

The El Coqui, a U.S. flag ConRo carrier, recently built specifically for the Jones Act Caribbean trades and powered by environmentally friendly LNG. CREDIT: Crowley Maritime

Trump to Meet with GOP Senators on Jones Act

President Donald Trump is set to meet with Republican senators on Wednesday over a proposal to waive rules that only U.S.-flagged ships can move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast.The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Bloomberg News reported last week the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for some energy shipments and that Trump…

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…

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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…

Jamaica Passes Bill to Manage Ballast Water Carried By Ships

The House of Representatives passed the Ballast Water Management Bill, which is aimed at protecting Jamaica’s marine environment, said Jamaica Information Service, a government agency. The legislation seeks to implement measures to prevent ships entering Jamaica’s waters from introducing foreign aquatic species and diseases into the country. The Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague, said the Bill is in keeping with commitments under the Ballast Water Management Convention, of which Jamaica is a signatory.

DCA's Doyle: President Trump Supports Strong Infrastructure Projects

In an address to Western Dredging Association (WEDA) stakeholders, William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director Dredging Contractors of America told his audience: It all starts with dredging. Good Morning, and thank you for inviting me here today to open-up the conference. This is my first time addressing the Western Dredging Association (WEDA), and I am honored to be here. It all starts with dredging, and President Donald J. Trump is backing it up with critical legislative measures. As I will address later in my remarks– the U.S.

Europe: Train Gains Ground in Goods Transport

Parties involved in the transport of goods by rail have reached agreement with State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven on a package of measures designed to make goods transport by rail more sustainable and more attractive. The measures include a large reduction in the user fee, deployment in relation to the European rail safety system ERTMS and improving environmental conditions for those living near the railway. The package will enable a modal shift and is thus in line with the climate targets and the coalition agreement.

New Boost for Dutch Rail Freight Transport

Various parties active in the rail freight transport sector have reached agreement with State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven about an incentives package that is intended to make rail freight transport even more sustainable and attractive. Among other things, the agreement concerns various measures regarding the substantial reduction of the usage charge, adaptation to the European railway safety system ERTMS and the improvement of the everyday surroundings of people in the vicinity of the rail network.

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Trump Tariffs: EU Seeks Permanent Exemption

European Union leaders called on Friday for a temporary exemption from U.S. import duties on steel and aluminium to be made permanent, saying they reserved the right to respond in an "in a proportionate manner" to protect the bloc's interests. The 40-day exemption granted by Washington was like U.S. President Donald Trump "putting a gun to our head", Belgium's prime minister complained. The EU's trade negotiator demanded that the United States drop "artificial deadlines". Trump said on Thursday he would suspend tariffs for the EU…

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Cyber Threats Prompt Return of Radio for Ship Navigation

The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships' satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up systems with roots in World War Two radio technology. Ships use GPS (Global Positioning System) and other similar devices that rely on sending and receiving satellite signals, which many experts say are vulnerable to jamming by hackers. About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea and the stakes are high in increasingly crowded shipping lanes.

(Photo: Maersk Line)

A Full Agenda for the International Container Trades

The past couple of months have been chock-a-block full of maritime activity in the international container trades. As the Big-3 Japanese Lines remain still on track to spin-off their container business units into a single standalone container carrier company, some delayed merger and acquisition activity is finally moving ahead. Separately, Congress has taken a keen interest in the Shipping Act. On May 2, 2017, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), unanimously voted to reject the Tripartite Agreement proposed by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line); Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.

Cyprus Chamber of Shipping Welcomes New Legislation

The Cyprus Chamber of Shipping has hailed the unanimous decision by MPs to forward for a vote the legislation that will define three new branches of the executive – shipping, tourism and development, reports Financial Mirror. The report quoted the umbrella organisation for the entire maritime sector of shipowners, managers and services saying that  the decision, following the approval by the House Finance Committee on Monday, established an “innovative institutional structure” and will substantially contribute to the further development of Cyprus shipping and the economy, in general.

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Legislators Urge Trump to Fund Dredging

A coalition of 75 members of the House of Representatives called on President Trump to fully fund harbor maintenance programs in his upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal. The letter, available here, noted that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) called for FY18 harbor maintenance expenditures to equal 74 percent of FY17 Harbor Maintenance Tax revenue. Although the specific amount is not yet known (the budget typically includes an estimate of previous year revenue), legislators urged the President to include the appropriate amount in his budget. “The U.S.

U.S. House Passes Compromise WIN Act

Bill includes construction authorization for Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. Today's passage of S.612, the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act (WIIN), formerly known as Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), by the U.S. House of Representatives, moves the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project closer to securing the authorization necessary to begin construction. "We applaud the House for passing this legislation before the end of the year, which is critical to modernizing ports and port-related infrastructure across the country," said Jim Newsome, SCPA President and CEO.

WRDA Progresses Charleston Harbor Deepening Project

The passage of H.5303, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 by the U.S. House of Representatives has moved the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project closer to securing the authorization necessary to begin construction. "We applaud the House of Representatives for making this critical legislation a priority before the lame duck session," said Jim Newsome, SCPA President and CEO. "The entire South Carolina Delegation has worked diligently to ensure the bill moves forward in order to enable the project to begin construction next year. H.5303 passed with a vote of 399-25.

Helen Delich Bentley (Image courtesy of the U.S. Congress)

Helen Delich Bentley Dies at 92

Helen Delich Bentley, a former journalist and a U.S. Republican congresswoman from Maryland who gained global attention by smashing Japanese goods to protest Tokyo's trade policies, died over the weekend at the age of 92, officials said. Bentley upset a longtime Democratic congressman to win a U.S. House of Representatives seat in 1984, a year in which Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in the presidential race helped bring several new faces from the party to Congress. The five-term congresswoman was a staunch advocate for the port of Baltimore and the state's maritime industry.