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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Washington News

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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PDVSA Changes Oil Deals to Include Shipping as Sanctions Bite

Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA has begun offering to ship its own oil, figuring in the costs in crude supply deals to help customers who have struggled to hire vessels to carry the country’s oil due to U.S. sanctions, according to company documents seen by Reuters.The United States has blacklisted vessel owners, shipping operators and threatened to sanction any tanker facilitating the country’s oil exports as it tightens restrictions on trade with the South American country.Washington has been trying to weaken socialist President Nicolas Maduro by choking the OPEC member’s oil exports…

Henry Martyn Robert created Robert’s Rules of Order. Photo courtesy Port of Green Bay

The Connection Between Robert’s Rules of Order and the Port of Green Bay

Mention the name Henry Martyn Robert and you will probably get a blank stare from whoever you are talking to. Mention Robert’s Rules of Order and that’s completely different. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in meetings – whether business, governmental or community organizations – is probably well aware of Robert’s Rules.Now you can put the two together. Henry Martyn Robert created Robert’s Rules of Order. But that’s not all Robert was involved in back in the days of the Civil War and after. And there’s even a Port of Green Bay connection.

Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes (Photo: UKHO)

UKHO Taps Sparkes as Acting Chief Executive

The U.K. Hydrographic Office has announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes, the current U.K. National Hydrographer and Deputy Chief Executive, to the position of acting chief executive and accounting officer.Sparkes will hold the position while a permanent replacement is sought for Tim Lowe CBE, the previous UKHO chief executive and accounting officer, who announced his retirement Friday.Commenting on Lowe’s retirement, Sparkes said, “On behalf of the senior leadership team and all at the U.K.

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Coronavirus Rekindles Global Trade Disputes

At the start of the year, U.S.-China tensions were easing after their Phase I trade deal, while Washington, Brussels and Tokyo agreed on new global trading rules to curb subsidies. A relative calm had set in.Then the new coronavirus struck.Countries across the world imposed 222 exports curbs on medical supplies and medicines and in some cases food, according to Global Trade Alert, a Swiss monitoring group. For medical products, it was more than 20 times the usual level.Those curbs are now being lifted…

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Tankers Carrying Venezuelan Oil Stuck at Sea

Tankers carrying nearly two months worth of Venezuelan oil output are stuck at sea as global refiners shun the nation’s crude to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to industry sources, PDVSA documents and shipping data.Washington is tightening sanctions to cut Venezuela’s oil exports and deprive the government of socialist President Nicolas Maduro of its main source of revenue.The OPEC member’s exports are hovering near their lowest levels in more than 70 years and the economy has collapsed, but Maduro has held on - to the frustration of the administration of U.S.

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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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MARAD Awards $9.5 Mln for Marine Highways Projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded $9.5 million in grants to eight marine highways projects across the Nation under the America’s Marine Highway Program. The funding supports the enhancement of navigable waterways and expands existing waterborne freight services in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and American Samoa.“This Federal assistance will provide additional options to reduce congestion on the roads and help the surrounding local communities’ and the regions’ economic recovery…

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China Bought 10+ Cargoes of Brazilian Soy This Week

China has bought over 10 cargoes of Brazilian soy this week, as its trade tensions with the United States continue to rise causing Beijing to look towards securing supplies, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.Brazil is the top supplier of soybeans to China, the world's biggest buyer of the beans.The development comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the more recent Chinese proposal of imposing national security laws in Hong Kong, to add to the long-standing trade war between

Arthur Mead (Photo: AWO)

AWO Elects Crowley's Mead as Chairman

Arthur F. Mead, Vice President and Chief Counsel at Crowley Maritime Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), succeeding outgoing Chairman Scott Merritt, former Chief Operating Officer with Foss Maritime Company, LLC.Members of the national tugboat, towboat and barge industry association elected a new slate of leaders this week during the association's Spring Board of Directors / Annual Membership Meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautionary measures that resulted in the meeting not taking place in Washington…

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Israel Linked to Cyberattack on Iranian Port

Israel appears to be behind a cyberattack earlier this month on computers at Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port that caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility, the Washington Post reported on Monday.Citing unnamed U.S. and foreign government officials, the Post said the May 9 disruption of Iranian computers was presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempted cyberattack on rural water distribution systems in Israel.The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not…

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels in April approached U.S. Military ships in international waters of the North Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo)

US Tells Gulf Mariners to Stay Clear of Its Warships

In an alert that appeared aimed squarely at Iran, the U.S. Navy issued a warning on Tuesday to mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters away from U.S. warships or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”The notice to mariners, which was first reported by Reuters, follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass Navy vessels."Armed vessels approaching within 100 meters of a U.S. naval vessel may be interpreted as a threat," according to the text of the notice.A U.S.

“I think we need to be bold in our thinking, but cautious in our applications. It doesn’t cost that much money to play around with ideas; and that small investment could turn up some great benefits. But if you’re afraid to make that initial investigation, things will pass you by.”
John Waterhouse, Elliott Bay Design Group

Interview: John Waterhouse, EBDG - “Be Bold in Thinking but Cautious in Application”

John Waterhouse is a ubiquitous character in the U.S. maritime industry, a deep-thinker, a signature bow tie and more than three decades of naval architecture and marine engineering experience and success as co-owner of the Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG).While growing up, John Waterhouse spent some time in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and it was as a young boy standing on the shores of English Bay, watching ships come in from around the world to load and unload their cargos, when he realized that a maritime career could be his future.

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Trump Administration Issues Maritime Advisory on Sanctions

The Trump administration on Thursday issued guidelines to help ship owners and insurers avoid the risks of sanctions penalties, standards that maritime players and a senior State Department official said were modified following months of discussions with industry.The guidelines, known as a Global Maritime Advisory, concern sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Syria. The State Department said it is committed to disrupting sanctions evasion and smuggling of goods, including oil exports from Iran…

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Will FMC's New Demurrage & Detention Rules Aid NVOCCs?

On April 28, 2020, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) released the long-awaited interpretive rules in Docket No. 19-05 relating to how ocean common carriers may lawfully apply demurrage and detention charges to exporters, importers and ocean transportation intermediaries, including Customs brokers in certain circumstances and still be compliant with the “reasonableness” requirement of 46 U.S.C § 41102(c). The analyses and guidance in the interpretive rules have been in high…

MarAD Extends Comment Period for SPOT Terminal Services LLC

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced the extension of the period for the public to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed SPOT Terminal Services, LLC deepwater port facility. The comment period was initially scheduled to end on March 23, 2020, but is now extended 30-days from the publication date of this Federal Register notice published on Friday, May 1, 2020.Due to the nationwide impacts of COVID-19 and the associated social distancing protocols, MARAD and the U.S.

Rear Adm. Melissa Bert (Photo: USCG)

Rear Adm. Bert Makes History with New USCG Role

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday Rear Adm. Melissa Bert has been invested as judge advocate general and chief counsel of the Coast Guard. Bert is the service’s first woman to hold that office.Bert was most recently the director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the Coast Guard, where she was responsible for external engagement with Congress, the media and other inter-governmental entities.As judge advocate general and chief counsel, Bert will lead a group of legal professionals who are responsible for the delivery of all legal services in support of the Coast Guard's missions…

 Arthur John “A.J.” Reiss (Photo: NOAA)

Reiss Named Director of NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center

NOAA has selected Arthur John “A.J.” Reiss, as the director of NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) in College Park, Maryland. OPC provides marine forecasts and critical decision support services for mariners, ensuring the safety of lives and vessels at sea by alerting to hazards like hurricane-force winds and high seas.“The nation’s maritime shipping industry is a $2.1 trillion economic activity for the U.S., making accurate and reliable weather forecasts at sea economically critical,” said Grant Cooper, Ph.D., acting NCEP Director.

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Insights: Contracts are Overrated in Maritime

My company has been around since 1875, and today we actually still do things that were being done in 1875. We still get calls from underwriters to attend on disasters all over the place, and we are still asked to provide values on ships on a moment’s notice.Moreover, some of the companies that ask us to attend to those issues, in some form or another, also have been around since 1875.That results in a very smooth operational routine, where we get a call from one of those clients in the middle of the night, we pull our pants on, step into the car and go out to see what is going on.

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Bunge to Sell 35 US Grain Elevators to Zen-Noh Grain

Agricultural commodities trader Bunge Ltd said on Tuesday it will sell 35 of its interior U.S. grain elevators to Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, dramatically reducing its grain origination network in the United States.Financial details of the sale with the subsidiary of Japan's Zen-Noh Group were not disclosed, and the deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, Bunge said.Although the sale will significantly reduce the number of Bunge grain storage and handling assets in the United States…

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Saudi, Russia Closing in on Record Oil Cut Deal

OPEC and it allies held talks on Thursday on record oil output curbs of about 15 million barrels per day (bpd) or more, roughly 15% of global supplies, to support prices hammered by the coronavirus crisis, sources involved in the discussions said.They said the plan included cuts of about 5 million bpd from producers outside the group known as OPEC+ and could be made gradually, as the group seeks to overcome resistance from the United States whose involvement they see as vital to a deal.Talks have been complicated by friction between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia…

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COVID-19 Impacts on Demurrage and Detention

What might not be so obvious in this COVID-19 environment, which we have grown to associate with shortages, is that counterintuitively there are issues beginning to appear dealing with the opposite situation. The Journal of Commerce has reported that “[t]he container shipping industry is marshaling a response to signs of a building import backlog as some retailers and manufacturers fail to pick up containers because warehouses are full or closed due to not being deemed essential…

Mario Cordero (Photo: AAPA)

AAPA Elects Cordero as Board Chairman

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has elected Mario Cordero, executive director of California’s Port of Long Beach, to serve as the association’s next Chairman of the Board.Cordero will be installed as Chairman on the final day of AAPA’s 2020 Annual Convention, set for September 13-16, in Québec City, QC, Canada. He will assume the AAPA chairmanship from Gary G. Nelson, executive director of Washington State’s Port of Grays Harbor, who began his term on October 15…

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Shipping Not Immune to a Pandemic -BIMCO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a pandemic. There is little doubt that this will have significant implications for the shipping industry. But to what extent? BIMCO expects that the strict containment measures imposed by governments around the world will result in substantially lower global economic growth and consequentially, lower demand for shipping. Container and dry bulk shipping are at the front line when it comes to feeling the fallout…

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COVID-19 and Supply Chain Implications for Ocean Shipping

Only 10 days ago, reports indicated that China cargoes were returning to pre-coronavirus levels, and there appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel. Today, however, a barrage of new headlines has underscored the impact on the rapidly changing global supply chain, including in the United States. In addition to the aggressive spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), new economic developments indicate a decreased trend in global manufacturing. Changes in local economies negatively impacting employees reflect corresponding changes in consumer buying patterns.

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Seattle Cancels Two Cruise Calls Amid Coronavirs Outbreak

The Port of Seattle announced Wednesday that it has canceled two cruise ship calls to help curb the spread of the novel coronoavirus.“This region is in a public health emergency and we will cancel the first two sailings of our cruise season,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “The health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents is our top priority.”The canceled one-day stops by Grand Princess and Celebrity Eclipse on April 1 and 5 respectively were to…