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 March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Ship as Lifeboat Concept Disputed by ICV

A recent meeting at the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. (attended by International Cruise Victims (ICV) Board representatives) discussed

BP Gulf Spill Trial Set For January

The high-stakes penalty phase of BP's trial over its role in the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil spill will start next January, court officials said on Tuesday,

China's Seizure of Japanese Ship has Pre-WWII Roots

It all began with a pre-World War II contract between China's then "ship king" and a Japanese company to lease two Chinese freighters. When the one-year lease was up in 1937,

Shipbuilding

Two Navy Contracts for GD Bath Iron Works

Included in the latest listing of contracts awarded by the US Department of Defense, Navy, are two contracts with General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Newport News Shipbuilding's Apprentice School to partner Old Dominion University

The Signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Apprentice School and Old Dominion University (ODU) will take place tomorrow (23rd April) at 3101 Washington Ave.

Viking Welding Delivers Fire/Rescue Boats

Fire Departments in South Carolina and Minnesota have recently accepted delivery of Response FR-28 and FR-31J boats built of welded aluminum by Viking Welding & Fabrication in Kensington, N.

Dredging

IHC Merwede Secures TSHD Order from TNPA

IHC Merwede has been awarded the contract for the design, construction and delivery of a 5,500m3 trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) to Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in South Africa.

Van Oord acquires 100% control of Dravo

Van Oord has acquired all shares of its Spanish subsidiary Dravo S.A.  Dravo S.A. has been owned, since 1987, by Van Oord (50%) and the Spanish company Dragados S.

US FMC Commissioner Visits Panama Canal Expansion Sites

Counsel to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission informs that  Commissioner William P. Doyle has recently surveyed the construction site on a visit to the Pacific-side of the expanded Panama Canal.

News

GEIMS Maritime Training accorded highest grade from DGS

GEIMS Maritime Training accorded highest grade from DGS Great Eastern Institute of Maritime Studies (GEIMS) is now the first approved maritime training Institution

BP Gulf Spill Trial Set For January

The high-stakes penalty phase of BP's trial over its role in the 2010 U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil spill will start next January, court officials said on Tuesday,

Canada To Keep Keystone XL Issue Alive With White House

Far from giving up on the Keystone XL pipeline to the United States, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Tuesday Canadawould keep the issue alive with the Obama

Government Update

UK Subsidises 8 Renewable Energy Contracts

The British government on Wednesday awarded investment contracts under a new subsidy regime to eight renewable energy projects, including five offshore wind farms and three biomass plants.

China's Seizure of Japanese Ship has Pre-WWII Roots

It all began with a pre-World War II contract between China's then "ship king" and a Japanese company to lease two Chinese freighters. When the one-year lease was up in 1937,

ISS to Support Petrobras Expansion

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS)  has had its port agency and tanker husbandry services contract significantly enlarged by Petrobras.   The Brazilian government-owned energy giant,

Logistics

AMSEA Awarded US$33-Million Navy MSC Contract

General Dynamics American Overseas Marine LLC (AMSEA) apprises it has been awarded the USD$32.7 million contract modification to operate and maintain seven large,

Brazilian Soybeans Sold to China Bound for US

Two Brazilian soybean cargoes sold by Japan's Marubeni Corp that were initially sold to China have been switched to the United States, according to port and shipping data updated on Tuesday,

New Scheduled International Cargo Shipping Service

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) today joined the Port of Cleveland in announcing the launch of the

Great Lakes

New Scheduled International Cargo Shipping Service

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) today joined the Port of Cleveland in announcing the launch of the

Coast Guard Concludes Great Lakes Icebreaking

The U.S. Coast Guard concluded icebreaking operations on the lower Great Lakes, Monday, more than four months after it started, Dec. 15, 2013. Operation Coal

Coast Guard Inspects Cleveland's First Containership

U.S. Coast Guard marine inspectors conducted safety and security examinations on the first-ever containership to arrive in Cleveland Saturday morning. The Fortunagracht,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1445 sec (7 req/sec)