14 Aug 2023
NSMV: The Model for the Future of Government Shipbuilding
At the time of publication, the first National Security Multi-Mission Vessel (NSMV), the Empire State VII, is steadily advancing towards its final delivery to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and SUNY Maritime College. Let’s be clear—this is a huge win, not only for MARAD, its vessel construction manager TOTE Services, the shipbuilder Philly Shipyard, and SUNY Maritime, but for the future of government shipbuilding.To put this milestone in its appropriate context…
22 May 2023
Time to Meet the US Mariner Shortage Head On
We have a national and economic security crisis on our hands. It is time for Washington policymakers to stop dancing around the facts and looking for small fixes. The U.S. mariner shortage is real and it poses an unescapable threat not only to our ability to establish lines of communication to the U.S. warfighter, but also to our nation’s ability to project power through international trade.Two Congressional hearings held on March 28 illustrate the challenge.
02 Nov 2022
US Mid-term Elections Bring Changes, Uncertainty in Congressional Maritime Leadership
Regardless of whether the Republicans seize or the Democrats maintain control of the House and Senate, there is a guarantee that changes in leadership will occur in some of the key Congressional leadership positions that will impact the maritime industry. Two of the most significant Congressional committees of jurisdiction are the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (House T&I) and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Senate Commerce).
12 Oct 2022
Congress, GAO Set Their Focus on Cargo Preference Fixes
On September 14, 2022, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I Committee), Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, held a hearing which indicated a potential revitalization, and new enforcement regime, of U.S.-flag requirements under the Cargo Preference Act of 1954 (the CPA). The hearing occurred on the heels of a Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report regarding the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) lack of COA enforcement…
07 Apr 2022
Maritime Antitrust Immunity in Crosshairs
While those in the Beltway continue to struggle to offer solutions to U.S. supply chain capacity issues, it seems apparent that policymakers have at least found their scapegoat for these issues in the form of the maritime industry. A specific talking point during the State of Union Address, a White House-endorsed agreement between the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and Department of Justice (DOJ)…
01 Nov 2021
Feds Struggle to Address Supply Chain Capacity Issues
The Biden Administration’s struggles to alleviate supply chain capacity issues appear to be continuing with no end in sight. Part of the issue arises from the Administration’s limited focus on ports and another part arises from Congressional stalemates. Could the much-needed beltway leadership on these issues come in the form of the newly-tapped Maritime Administrator?Biden focuses on ports to address…
16 Sep 2021
Prefabrication of Federal Shipbuilding Project Funding
Initial appropriations discussions are underway for Fiscal Year 2022, with a continued focus on federal shipbuilding programs. It has been rough going for the Navy as Congress raised questions about the President’s commitment to the Navy’s long-term shipbuilding program. Meanwhile, House appropriators are seemingly focused on continuing shipbuilding successes at the Maritime Administration and Coast Guard. With billions of dollars in the balance, the U.S.
25 Aug 2021
Dredging Up Federal Funding for Inland Ports and Waterways
All signals from Washington, D.C., indicate that Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 could be a record-breaking year for inland port and waterway investment. The successful opening of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a recording-breaking United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) budget request, positive improvements to the Port Infrastructure Development Program, and a possible bipartisan infrastructure deal…
01 Apr 2021
Ready Your Salad Fork for Biden’s Offshore Energy Plans
In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare coined the phrase “salad days” to mean a youthful time filled with unbridled enthusiasm and idealism. Indeed, youth, much like salad, is often raw, flavorful and most of all… green. Therefore, it is fitting to think of our present time as the salad days of offshore energy in the United States. Let’s dig in.Executive Order appetizersOn January 27, President Biden…
08 Mar 2021
Washington Watch: Winds of Change in DC
For operators venturing into the offshore wind space, 2021 started off with a gust of changes and reports. From Jones Act clarifications and new enforcement authorities, to millions in port infrastructure funding, the new Congress and presidential administration will have plenty of tools available to shape the future of the industry’s development.NDAA brings Jones Act changesOne of the most persistent questions that has hung over the development of the U.S.
02 Dec 2020
Streamlining and Simplifying US Government Guaranteed Vessel Financing
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has taken several steps to streamline and simplify the Federal Ship Financing Program under Chapter 537 of Title 46 of the U.S. Code (commonly referred to as Title XI). The Title XI program provides for a full faith and credit guarantee by the United States government to promote the growth and modernization of the U.S. merchant marine and U.S. shipyards. The Title XI Program supports U.S.
09 Nov 2020
Working Out the Election’s Impact on the US Workboat Industry
By the time this article is published, voting will have concluded in the 2020 United States presidential election. Based on the possibility of legal challenges to the election, however, it may be some time before we know who will be occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20, 2021. Additional uncertainty may linger with regard to control of the Senate. However, beyond the general spectacle of American politics, an important question remains: What does this election mean for the U.S.
08 Sep 2020
Congress Eyes Maritime Economic Relief
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted in March 2020, provided relief to numerous industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Air carriers, for example, benefitted from the creation of a $25 billion Treasury direct loan program, in addition to a $25 billion worker support program that provides a mix of grants and loans to cover employee wages, salaries and benefits.
18 Feb 2020
The Federal Government’s 2020 Inland Impact
It is often difficult to push through the federal government morass to focus on the issues that actually matter to the inland operator. While 2020 inevitably will be a contentious year in American politics, it is critical to stay focused on the items that will have direct impact on the U.S. maritime industry. From a potential new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill to potential Jones Act challenges…
15 Jan 2020
The Good, the Bad and the Undeniably Ugly
The end of 2019 promises to be a busy, and potentially discordant, legislative and regulatory period for the United States maritime industry as both Congress and the Executive Branch look to take decisive action, with both positive and negative potential impacts depending on your perspective. With appropriation and authorization bills still pending, and various open regulatory actions, there are significant…
15 Apr 2019
WASHINGTON WATCH: A Tale of Two Fleets
Mixed Government Support for U.S. Shipbuilding.It has been a busy start to the 116th Congress for the U.S. shipbuilding industry, with three congressional hearings in early March focused on the industry’s role as a critical component of the U.S. national security industrial base. In addition, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, which was signed into law on February 15, contained mixed news for shipbuilding programs.
21 Feb 2019
Maritime Challenges: A Time to Act Boldly
Maritime Challenges in the 116th Congress.The 116th Congress, with its now Democrat-controlled House and 110 newly-elected members, faces a choice. On one hand, Congress can continue to pursue the status quo, supporting U.S.-flag vessel operators and domestic port infrastructure development through existing programs, with suboptimal results. On the other, the 116th Congress can choose to be bold. It can recognize that the U.S.-flag fleet…
19 Mar 2018
Trump Proposes Boost to Maritime Infrastructure Investment
On February 12, President Trump released his highly anticipated infrastructure proposal, a “Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America.” Unlike prior federal infrastructure development strategies, which rarely discussed the need for maritime infrastructure investment, the proposal places maritime infrastructure on equal footing with other surface transportation modes in terms of potential funding opportunities.