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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Senate News

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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 Ports Seek COVID-19 Relief

America’s port authorities are advocating for relief to manage the “extremely negative impacts” on the seaport industry brought on by the coronavirus pandemic as U.S. policymakers begin negotiations on the next COVID-19 aid package.Among the port leaders’ advocacy efforts are letters sent Friday to U.S. House, Senate and Administration leaders, urging them to provide $1.5 billion for seaports to cover business-critical expenses that ports have incurred due to COVID-19. The letters…

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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)…

Baron Philippe Bodson (Photo: Exmar)

New Leadership at Exmar After Chairman Bodson Dies from COVID-19

Belgian shipping and offshore company Exmar outlined its leadership succession plan following the April 4 death of board chairman Baron Philippe Bodson due to the novel coronavirus.Nicolas  Saverys,  previously  CEO  of  Exmar,  will  take  up  the  position  of  executive  chairman  of  the  board  of directors, and Francis Mottrie, deputy CEO of the Exmar Group, as been appointed as CEO.Bodson, 75, had been a member of Exmar's board of directors for 18 years, and served as chairman for 15.

© HMM/ Marc Ihle

Leases and Fees Defered at the Port of Hamburg

All tenants of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) in the port of Hamburg can apply for the interest-free moratorium of the building- and land lease for the months April, May and June. Payments can be deferred until December 31, 2020. The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg furthermore supports the port industry in the current difficult situation by deferring charges. Ocean carriers, inland shipping companies and port skippers for example are able to request a moratorium for port dues payments for the months of April, May and June.

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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.

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…

Michael Toohey (Photo: WCI)

WCI's Toohey Announces Retirement

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President and CEO Michael J. Toohey has revealed plans to retire, the group announced to its Board of Directors and members at its meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday.“Having turned 71 this month, I believe it is time to focus on my faith, family, my golf handicap and my other interests,” Toohey said. “I remain committed to WCI’s continued achievement now and in the future once a successor is named.”WCI’s Executive Committee will select an executive search firm to begin the process to seek a successor.

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…

Image: South Carolina Ports Authority

$138M Ok'd for Charleston Harbor Project

US President Donald Trump approved $138 million for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project as part of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill in the 2020 Budget.According to a statement from South Carolina Ports Authority, both the Senate and the House voted to approve the appropriations bill this week as part of the fiscal year 2020 funding package, and Trump signed it into law Friday."This enormous step forward means the project is fully funded to completion and on track to achieve a 52-foot depth in 2021," it said.S.C.

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…

Lisa Lefeber (Photo: Port of Everett Commission)

Lefeber Named Port of Everett CEO

On August 13, the Port of Everett Commission voted 3-0 to approve a contract naming the Port’s Deputy Executive Director Lisa Lefeber the next CEO, effective October 16, 2019. Lefeber is the first female to be selected for this top leadership role in the Port’s 100-year history.Prior to her role as Deputy Executive Director, Lefeber served as the Port’s Chief of Policy and Communications, a position she held for more than 13 years. In this role, she managed the Port’s communication and government affairs program…

Pic: Port of Oakland

Oakland Port Gets Funding for Tech Program

The Alameda County Transportation Commission has received $12.45 million from the California Transportation Commission for the implementation of the Freight Intelligent Transportation System (FITS) program at the Port of Oakland.FITS includes 15 freight technology demonstration projects designed to address traffic management, security systems and roadway improvements at the Oakland seaport. The funding comes from California Senate Bill 1 funds.The Port said FITS will reduce congestion and improve traffic flow for truckers who haul cargo containers in and out of Oakland.

Photo: Port of Oakland

Oakland Port Receives Final FITS Funding

The Alameda County Transportation Commission has received $12.45 million from the California Transportation Commission for the implementation of the Freight Intelligent Transportation System (FITS) program at the Port of Oakland.FITS includes 15 freight technology demonstration projects designed to address traffic management, security systems and roadway improvements at the Oakland seaport. The funding comes from California Senate Bill 1 funds.The Port said FITS will reduce congestion and improve traffic flow for truckers who haul cargo containers in and out of Oakland.

U.S. Dredgers Applaud President for Jones Act Support

Wednesday, 1 May: Late this afternoon, President Donald Trump met with Congressional leaders from the Senate and House to discuss U.S. Maritime Policy. On the table was the Jones Act. President Trump assured the Congressional leaders that he is not seeking any changes to the Jones Act, nor is he seeking any waivers.“President Trump had the Jones Act matters all under control from the get-go”, said William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America. “Mr. Trump is all about jobs and national security — he’s never wavered on this.

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…

Q4 2019  - Short Sea Shipping Ports