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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Senate News

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…

Kurt Nagle (Photo: AAPA)

Senate EPW Committee Hearing Testimony for AAPA CEO Nagle

The hearing will be in Room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to consider the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2019, and to hear input from stakeholders about implementation of the DERA program.In his prepared remarks, Kurt Nagle shares examples of several ports that have received DERA grants, including the latest one last month in which the EPA awarded a DERA grant of $400,000 to the Alabama State Port Authority to replace a 1982 locomotive with a Tier IV locomotive engine.

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.

Andrew Wheeler (Photo: EPA)

NOIA Applauds Wheeler’s Confirmation

NOIA President Randall Luthi released the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Andrew Wheeler as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator:“NOIA congratulates Andrew Wheeler and applauds the Senate following his confirmation as EPA Administrator. Mr. Wheeler has shown his ability to successfully navigate through tough issues, tough interest groups and a tough confirmation process with his knowledge, demeanor and a well-conceived plan for the future of the agency.

Simon Bennett (Photo: ICS)

Canadian Legislation Concerns ICS

The Canadian Senate is giving consideration to legislation that would have the effect of establishing a moratorium on the shipment of crude oil in the waters of Northern British Columbia (Bill C-48: An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia’s north coast).“Such a dramatic step could lead to serious concerns being raised by Canada’s international trading partners” said ICS Deputy Secretary General, Simon Bennett.

FMC Offices Closed due Partial Federal Shutdown

The Federal Maritime Commission is closed effective Wednesday, December 26, 2018 as part of the partial federal government shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations. The Commission will resume normal operations when appropriations legislation is enacted and the federal government reopens.With the exceptions of Acting Chairman Michael A. Khouri and Commissioner Rebecca Dye, who are Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed officials, all Commission employees have been placed on furlough and are prohibited by law from performing any duties during the shutdown.

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.

Image: Port of Long Beach

Long Beach Port to Add Trains to Improve Cargo Movement

The Port of Long Beach received a $14 million grant from the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP) to offset construction costs for a $25 million rail project to increase efficiency and reduce local traffic.The grant will fund the port's Pier G and J Double Track Access Project, which is designed to allow for better use of the on-dock rail yards at Piers G and J. It will help pay for improvements to freight corridors across California using designated transportation funds…

Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach.

Rail Project at Port of Long Beach Wins $14 Million Grant

Added access for trains will improve cargo movement.The Port of Long Beach has been awarded a $14 million grant to help pay for construction of a planned rail project that will increase efficiency while also reducing traffic congestion on local streets and freeways. The grant is from the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which helps pay for improvements to freight corridors across California using designated transportation funds from Senate Bill 1 and the National Highway Freight Program.

Marco Rubio and Chris Coons (official portraits)

US Senators Alarmed if China Gets Control of Djibouti Port

Two prominent U.S. senators expressed alarm on Tuesday about the military and political consequences if China gains control of a port terminal in Djibouti, and said they were concerned it could further boost Beijing's influence in East Africa.In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons said they were concerned about Djibouti's termination of a contract for the Doraleh Container…

Pic: Port of Everett

Port of Everett Becomes First Port to Receive Federal Rail Loan

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau will provide up to a $5.95 million Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to the Port of Everett in the State of Washington. The Port of Everett is the first Port to make it through the complex loan process.“I’ve been proud to work with the Port of Everett to secure federal investments to ensure the Port continues to meet the demands of the 21st century economy, and I’m thrilled to see the federal government bring even more resources to the table.

WCI President & CEO Mike Toohey

WCI, AAPA Upbeat on Federal Funding for USACE, Inland Navigation Projects

WCI yesterday praised Congress for passage of the FY2019 Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895 that combines appropriations bills for the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veteran Affairs, and Energy & Water Development that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Separately, The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) lauded the ‘On Time’ FY'19 Energy and Water Development Appropriation, also noting that it marked the first time since 2004 that an E&WD…

© lianxun zhang / Adobe Stock

China Will Hit Back After New US Tariffs

China accused the United States of bullying and warned it would hit back after the Trump administration raised the stakes in their trade dispute, threatening 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday it was "shocked" and would complain to the World Trade Organisation, but did not immediately say how it would retaliate. In a statement, it called the U.S. actions "completely unacceptable".The foreign ministry described Washington's…

William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director Dredging Contractors of America

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.

© Pere Sanz / Adobe Stock

EU to Hit Back at US Tariffs

The European Union's plans to hit back at new U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminium exports include hiking duties on a range of imports from the United States, from blue jeans and rice to the proverbial kitchen sink.In eight closely typed pages of documentation lodged at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, the EU has set out 25-percent tariff increases that are in part aimed at hurting the electoral districts of some of President Donald Trump's allies.That explains "motorcycles ...

(Credit: GLDD)

US Dredging: An Advocate for Ports, Waterways & Coastal Protection

U.S. dredging companies are unlocking the potential of U.S. Ports. These companies build their equipment in U.S. shipyards, are owned by U.S. companies and staff their ships and projects with hardworking Americans. U.S.-based Dredgers build to suit the needs of the United States. We all know that it takes a significant amount of time to complete an environmental analysis before a dredging project can commence. This usually means that an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) must be undertaken.

File Image: a domestic dredge under construction in a U.S. yard (Credit: GLDD)

U.S. Infrastructure Bill May Not Pass this Year

The U.S. Senate's second highest-ranking Republican on Tuesday expressed doubt that Congress will pass legislation to increase infrastructure spending this year, citing time constraints. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, told reporters: "I think it will (be) challenging. I certainly would be happy if we could, but we’ve got a lot of things to do, that being one of them, and I don’t know if we will have time to get to that," according to a transcript from his office. President…

The signing of the letter of intent to close the TCP transaction was held in the Federal Senate of Brazil. Photo courtesy China Merchants Group

CMPort Acquires Container Terminal in Brazil

China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CMPort) said that the Company's transaction regarding the acquisition of Paranaguá Container Terminal (TCP) in Brazil is completed. The acquisition is the biggest merger and acquisition so far in Brazilian and Latin American port sector. It is not only the first investment of CMPort in Latin America, but also the first M&A in mature port assets overseas with controlling stake. Since then, TCP has officially become a subsidiary of CMPort…

Photo: Port of Indiana

Indiana Port Awarded $9.85 Mln FASTLANE Grant

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will receive one of the nation's 10 FASTLANE small project grants for 2017, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao has confirmed. In August, Secretary Chao informed Congress the Department of Transportation was recommending approval of a $9.85 million discretionary grant for the port. After a 60-day review period, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved all the projects.

© donvictori0 / Adobe Stock

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.

Mark Buzby (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Buzby Confirmed as MARAD Administrator

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Mark H. Buzby as the new administrator of the Maritime Administration (MARAD). MARAD executive director Joel Szabat had been serving in lieu of the administrator following the departure of outgoing administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen. Buzby, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in June, is a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) alumnus and retired U.S. Navy admiral with a military career spanning over three decades at sea and ashore. He was most recently president and CEO of National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA).

(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.

File photo: Port of Los Angeles

US Trade Rep Says No Deadline Set for NAFTA Deal

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday there was no deadline for completing NAFTA trade talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico even as lawmakers warned that U.S. business would be hurt by prolonged negotiations. "There is no deadline. My hope is that we can get it done by the end of the year, but there are a lot of people who think that is completely unrealistic," Lighthizer told a Senate Finance Committee hearing to discuss the USTR's budget. Under U.S. law, Lighthizer, a veteran trade lawyer, will be the principal U.S. negotiator on NAFTA, although U.S.

From left to right: SCA President Matthew Paxton with Rep. Hunter and newly-elected Chairman, Richard McCreary (Photo: SCA)

Shipbuilders Council Names McCreary Chairman

Shipbuilders Council of America  names Richard McCreary as new chairman; honors Sen. Cochran and Rep. At its annual spring meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the national trade association representing the U.S. shipyard industry, named Richard McCreary of BAE Systems as the new chairman of the association. Additionally, SCA honored Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) as recipients of its Maritime Leadership Award, recognizing the two for their demonstrated dedication and support of the U.S.

Photo: Official FB Page of Austal USA

Navy Christens USNS City of Bismarck

Austal celebrated the christening of Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS City of Bismarck (EPF 9) with a ceremony at its state-of-the-art shipyard on May 13. City of Bismarck is the ninth of 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) that Austal has under contract with the U.S. Navy as part of a contract worth over $1.9 billion. The ship’s sponsor, Congresswoman Jane Harman, headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the ship in Austal’s final assembly bay.

Senator Reed and Irene Hirano Inouye (Photo: Daniel K. Inouye Institute)

Sen. Reed Honored for Maritime Industry Support

The Daniel K. Inouye Institute honored U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island on Wednesday, May 17 for his long-standing support of the American maritime industry. Joined by dozens of maritime and Senate leaders, Sen. Reed received the Daniel K. Inouye Maritime  Guardian Award for his strong leadership and dedication to the U.S. maritime industry. Irene Hirano Inouye, widow of Sen. Inouye, presented the award to Sen. Reed, whose coastal state of Rhode Island ranks 4th per capita among all U.S. states for American maritime jobs. Sen.