Great Lakes Dredging hinges on Federal Legislation

press release
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

House and Senate Bills Offer Hope for Lakes Dredging Crisis.

 

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have taken up legislation that could end the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes.  H.R. 335 and S. 218 would require the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (“HMTF”) to spend what it takes in each year for dredging on dredging.  Currently, the HMTF spends only one of every two tax dollars it collects for dredging on dredging.  The surplus, now approaching $7 billion, is used to mask the size of the Federal deficit rather than maintain the nation’s ports and waterways.  As a result, 17 million cubic yards of sediment clog Lakes harbors and have the largest vessels losing more than 10,000 tons of cargo in just one trip.


H.R. 335, the Realize America’s Maritime Promise (“RAMP”) Act, was introduced on January 22 and currently has 67 co-sponsors, 15 of whom are from the Great Lakes region.  S. 218, the Harbor Maintenance Act of 2013, was introduced on February 4.  The bill was authored by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and has 28 co-sponsors, 10 of whom are from Great Lakes states.
 

“Congress must quickly pass these bills,” said Donald N. Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote waterborne commerce on the nation’s Fourth Sea Coast.  “The largest U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters were leaving behind more than 10,000 tons of cargo each trip by the end of 2012.  The dredging crisis is obliterating the efficiencies of Great Lakes shipping,” declared Cree, who is also Great Lakes Special Assistant to the National President for American Maritime Officers.
 

The decades-old dredging crisis has been compounded by the drought that has sent the water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron plunging to record lows and reduced drafts throughout the system.  “Initial forecasts suggest that vessels will have to load to less than 25 feet when transiting the St. Marys River this spring,” said John D. Baker, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF and President Emeritus of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council.  “If that proves to be the case, oceangoing vessels loading export grain could leave almost 2,000 tons of cargo behind when they depart Lake Superior terminals.”
 

“Plunging water levels are beyond anyone’s control, but the dredging crisis is man-made,” stressed James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers’ Association.  “In this century the Corps has received enough money to reduce the backlog of sediment in the Lakes in only two years: 2008 and 2009.  The backlog actually shrank from 18 to 15 million cubic yards during that time.  But the budget has been woefully inadequate in the years that have followed and the backlog again tops 17 million cubic yards.”
 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it needs $200 million to restore the Great Lakes Navigation System to project dimensions.  “$200 million is only 2 percent of the HMTF’s surplus,” said Thomas Curelli, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and Director of Operations for Fraser Shipyards, Inc.  “Year after year the government taxes cargo to pay for dredging.  An adequately funded dredging program is long overdue.”
 

A more equitable distribution of HMTF receipts is also long overdue.  In some years, an inland river’s allocation is twice that of the Lakes per dollar of transportation savings generated.
 

Shipping on the nation’s Fourth Sea Coast plays a vital role in the region’s and nation’s economic well-being.  Cargo movement can top 200 million tons in a boom economy.  The primary commodities are iron ore, coal and limestone carried by U.S. and Canadian “lakers.”  Oceangoing vessels, referred to as “salties,” arrive with specialty steels and other manufactured goods and depart with Midwest grain.
 

A recent study determined shipping on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System creates and sustains nearly 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada with an annual business revenue of $35 billion.  Great Lakes shipping also supports more than 400,000 U.S. export jobs.
 

Founded in 1992, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force promotes domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes.  With 87 members, it is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards, and other Great Lakes interests.  Its other goals include construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; protecting the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws and regulations; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade via the St. Lawrence Seaway; and opposing exports and/or increased diversions of Great Lakes water.
 

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

Turkey Detains 4 in Connection with Capsized Migrant Boat

Turkish police have detained four Syrians suspected of involvement in organising the passage of a boat which capsized, drowning 12 people including a toddler, as

Singapore Becomes Sea-Dispute Settlement Centre

The government of Singapore has become a venue in Asia to settle maritime disputes for proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Shipbuilding

Willard to Supply Patrol Boats for the Philippines

The U.S. Department of State awarded a contract to boatbuilder Willard Marine, Inc., to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels

Comprehensive Winch Outfitting for New Trawlers

Fishing company HB Grandi of Iceland recently awarded Naust Marine a contract for complete winch outfitting of three new 180 ft. fishing trawlers.   The contract,

CMA CGM Launches 18,000 TEU Containership

Container shipping firm CMA CGM Group has taken delivery of its newest colossal containership, the 18,000 TEU, 400-meter-long CMA CGM Bougainville.   Now the

News

USCG AIS Mandate Resource Center Launched

McMurdo informs it has launched an online resource center at to help impacted vessel operators comply with the requirements of the United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

RYDLYME Marine Selects GoM Distributor

RYDLYME Marine has named R Carter & Associates, Inc. of Mobile, Ala. a new stocking distributor for the Gulf of Mexico area, targeting shipyards, larger workboats,

Government Update

Willard to Supply Patrol Boats for the Philippines

The U.S. Department of State awarded a contract to boatbuilder Willard Marine, Inc., to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels

Libya Plans to Sell Ex-rebel Tanker

Libya plans to sell a tanker that a former rebel group used in an attempt to bypass the Libyan government and export oil on its own last year, the Tripoli-based state prosecutor said on Thursday.

Former CIA Spy Ship Becomes Victim of Oil Slump

A ship built by the CIA for a secret Cold War mission in 1974 to raise a sunken Soviet sub is heading to the scrap yard, a victim of the slide in oil prices.   Christened the Hughes Glomar Explorer,

Logistics

Hoover Container Solutions Unveils Asset Tracer

Hoover Container Solutions, a subsidiary of Hoover Group Inc., and a global provider of chemical tanks, cargo carrying units and related products and services, has unveiled its new Liquitrac Tracer,

CMA CGM Launches 18,000 TEU Containership

Container shipping firm CMA CGM Group has taken delivery of its newest colossal containership, the 18,000 TEU, 400-meter-long CMA CGM Bougainville.   Now the

Mary Anne Rooney Named APP President

Mary Anne Rooney, Harbor Commissioner at California’s Port of Hueneme, has been named President of the Association of Pacific Ports (APP), a trade and information

Great Lakes

Historic Steamship Towed to Buffalo for Restoration

A 113-year-old “Boblo Boat” SS Columbia is being towed from Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, N.Y., where the historic vessel will be docked for the next year for restoration.

Great Lakes Shipyard to Build Guatemalan Harbor Tug

U.S. shipbuilding and repair yard Great Lakes Shipyard informs it has signed a contract to build another of its HandySize Class, 3,400 HP twin-screw tugboat for

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2267 sec (4 req/sec)