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

Legal

Largest Vessel to Call ICTSI, Rijeka

Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) container handling facility in the Port of Rijeka, Croatia,

MOL President Reports Slack Performance

MOL President, President, Koichi Muto reported that the performance of the company was slack. Presenting his report he stated:  I am sad to report that our business performance fell short,

Holland America Line Wins Sparkie Award

At a March 5 reception at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott, Holland America Line was presented with a Sparkie Award by the United Way of King County, Washington.

Shipbuilding

Seaspan Acquires 7th SAVER Boxship

Seaspan Corporation announced today that it accepted delivery of a 10000 TEU containership, the MOL Beacon. The new containership, which was constructed at Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding Co.

OOCL Orders Six Ultra-Large Container Ships

Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. has placed a new order for six mega 20,000 teu container ships from South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co. for US$951.

Shipping Confidence Hits 2.5 Year Low

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry fell to their lowest level for two-and-a-half years in February 2015, according to the latest Shipping Confidence

Dredging

China's Artificial Islands in South China Sea Raises U.S. Concerns

China has been building artificial islands on reefs in the many disputed areas around the South China Sea. The unprecedented land reclamation currently being conducted

Sen. Paul Proposes New Harbor Dredging Criteria

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) reintroduced the Harbor Equity Act on Monday, his office announced. This legislation modifies the existing criteria used by the U.S. Army

News

Largest Vessel to Call ICTSI, Rijeka

Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) container handling facility in the Port of Rijeka, Croatia,

MOL President Reports Slack Performance

MOL President, President, Koichi Muto reported that the performance of the company was slack. Presenting his report he stated:  I am sad to report that our business performance fell short,

Holland America Line Wins Sparkie Award

At a March 5 reception at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott, Holland America Line was presented with a Sparkie Award by the United Way of King County, Washington.

Government Update

Largest Vessel to Call ICTSI, Rijeka

Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) container handling facility in the Port of Rijeka, Croatia,

EU Takes Tough Stance on Ship Scrapping in South Asia

The EU is set to ban owners from scrapping ships on South Asian beaches, according to news report in Reuters.   The new rules will require that EU-registered

U.S. DoI Upholds 2008 Shell Arctic Lease

The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday upheld a 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, moving Royal Dutch Shell a step closer to returning to oil and gas

Logistics

Power Cut in Turkey Disrupts Port Operations

Port operations in Turkey are facing disruption as a result of a massive power cut that has hit dozens of provinces across the country today (Tuesday 31 March).

OOCL Orders Six Ultra-Large Container Ships

Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. has placed a new order for six mega 20,000 teu container ships from South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co. for US$951.

Wan Hai Profits Up

Asian container operator Wan Hai Lines Ltd sees 2014 profit jump as revenue grows faster than costs.   The Taiwanese container carrier recorded a profit of TWD5.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Losing Ice

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reports ice cover for all of the Great Lakes combined at around 52%, thanks to milder temperatures and gusty winds over the past several weeks.

Rand Logistics Announces Debt Refinancing

Rand Logistics, Inc. announced today that it has closed a $170.0 million revolving loan facility which refinanced approximately $102.0 million of the company's

Soo Locks Open for Great Lakes Shipping Season

At 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially opened the Soo Locks for the start of the 2015 Great Lakes shipping season.   The locks at Sault Ste.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2372 sec (4 req/sec)