OP/ED: Farm Facts
USDA Study Underscores Value of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture.On August 28, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) for Civil Works R.D. James toured Mel Price Locks and Dam in Alton, Illinois, and held a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the importance of the waterways, agriculture and the U.S. economy. At the event, Secretary Perdue briefed agricultural and waterways stakeholders on a newly released study – Importance of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture – from the U.S.
INSIGHTS: Peter Stephaich
Chairman & CEO, Campbell Transportation Company.Peter H. Stephaich is Chairman and CEO of Blue Danube Incorporated and Campbell Transportation Company. Currently, he is also Chairman of the Board of the Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI). Peter also serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Danube, a position that he has held since 1982. Serving the barge industry for over 30 years in a number of key roles, he also counts among his many qualifications his tenure(s) as Past Chairman and Past Treasurer of the American Waterways Operators (AWO)…
Marine News' Top 10 Stories of 2017
Plucked from the headlines, the top stories of 2017 were compelling, and each provided impact to the domestic waterfront and in particular – the workboat sector. Follow along as Marine News recaps the highlights, drama and significant events that shaped the past 12 months. When Elaine Chao was sworn in to be the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the Washington veteran brought a welcome burst of competence to the position. Her wide-ranging experience across the maritime sector and prior service at the U.S.
Op/Ed: Real World Infrastructure Needs
Over the last few months, the inland waterways system has been particularly stressed by both emergency and Mother Nature-inflicted outages at key locks and dams. Lock and Dam (L&D) 52 on the Ohio River was closed September 6-14 when the dam’s low-lift wooden wickets could not be raised to hold a stable pool for navigation, halting shipping on the river. Given the river’s conditions, the wicket gates had to be raised individually, by hand, to impound water to create the pool. While raising the wickets, the U.S.
Federal Waterways Infrastructure Outlook
On Capitol Hill, October 1 was the first day of 2018, at least for the federal government’s fiscal year. In theory, on 10/1, the federal budget is supposed to be finalized with appropriations – i.e., spending – established for the next year. In practice, of course, it rarely works that way. Budget deliberations frequently last through December. And even on New Year’s Eve, Congress may be forced to vote on a Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating. The 2018 budget is of particular interest and it’s particularly important.
Taking Inland Waterways To the Mainstream
It takes nonstop work to maintain America’s position in today’s global economy. Every day we compete against strong international rivals for demanding foreign and domestic customers. Thankfully, the American economy has a large-scale, crucial asset that gives us an edge on the rest of the world: over 28,000 miles of inland river and coastal waterways with consistent navigation at suitable depths (9 feet during 9 months of the year) – more any other nation on earth. Although we have the world’s greatest industrially-useful waterway network, we are barely using its full capacity.
Investment Impact in Inland Waterways System
The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) has commissioned and released a two-year, ground-breaking study by the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky, “Inland Navigation in the United States: An Evaluation of Economic Impacts and the Potential Effects of Infrastructure Investment” (November 2014). The study examines the waterways’ national economic return on investment and the need for and benefits of an accelerated program of waterways system improvements that sustain and create American jobs.
Study Examines Impacts of Inland Waterway Investment
The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) has commissioned and released a two-year study to examine the U.S. inland waterways’ national economic return on investment and the need for and benefits of an accelerated program of waterways system improvements that sustain and create American jobs. The study, conducted by the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky and entitled “Inland Navigation in the United States: An Evaluation of Economic Impacts and the Potential Effects of Infrastructure Investment” (November 2014)…
Come Together, Right Now …
Collaboration is a wonderful thing. And in Washington, DC, it seems to be a concept that has become more alien than ever before, with partisan politics that have gripped the nation’s capital. But teamwork is alive and well in the inland waterways industry when it comes to supporting the concept of increasing the amount of investment raised for lock and dam infrastructure on the inland system. Since 1986, commercial inland towing operators have been paying a user fee of 20-cents-per-gallon of fuel used while operating on the inland system that is deposited into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). Those monies are then matched by General Treasury dollars and spent for the purpose of new construction and major rehabilitation work on the inland waterways.
AWO Urged Action on Waterways Infrastructure
As part of the American Waterways Operators’ annual Barge-In, U.S. vessel owners, operators and mariners are fanning out all over Capitol Hill today visiting nearly 150 Congressional offices to talk about the industry’s top advocacy priorities and the industry’s important role as economic generators, safety leaders and environmental stewards. The group’s advocacy priorities this year include: ensuring final passage of needed water resources development legislation; garnering support for a uniform national federal framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges…
Good News for Inland Waterways - Just in Time
On January 17, 2014, Congress averted another government shutdown with a “just in time” delivery of an Omnibus Appropriations bill. Thankfully, some good news for the inland waterways also has arrived; Just in Time! The recent Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, or Omnibus bill, has brought a healthy funding level to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This new law contains the FY 2014 Energy & Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that funds the Corps’ Civil Works program. The total program funding level of $5.467 billion represents a $749 million increase over the FY 2013 post-sequester enacted level, and is a 15.9% increase relative to FY ‘13 funding levels.
WCI, AWO Welcome Process to Reauthorize WRDA
The Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) and The American Waterways Operators (AWO) expressed their support of the bipartisan process to move a long overdue Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). House efforts, led by House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), along with Ranking Member Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), as well as Water Resources and Environment Committee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Ranking Member Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), culminated in this week’s introduction of H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA). WCI and AWO are urging the inclusion of provisions in H.R. 1149, the WAVE 4 Act…
WRDA to the Wise
May 15, 2013 was a very good day for the nation’s barge and towing operators, as well as shippers of grain, coal, chemicals, petroleum products, aggregate materials, and agri-input products. It was also a good day for our nation’s economy and for its consumers. The Senate passed, by a vote of 83-14, a long-overdue Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), last reauthorized in 2007. Six years may not seem like a long time to await action on Capitol Hill. But since 57% of the locks and dams on the nation’s inland waterways system have exceeded their economic design life expectancy of 50 years…
WCI Applauds Senate for WRDA Bill
In a news press release yesterday, Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) expressed its gratitude to Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member David Vitter (R-LA) for their collaborative efforts to draft, manage and pass a long-overdue Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), S. 601. WCI said it was also grateful for the inclusion of several provisions of the RIVER (Reinvesting In Vital Economic Rivers and Waterways) Act, S. 407, introduced by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and cosponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).
Congress Representatives Introduce WAVE 4 Investment Bill
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) has announced its strong support for WAVE 4 -- “Waterways are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency and Environment Act of 2013” (H.R. 1149) that was introduced today by Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), along with cosponsor Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL). Additional cosponsors include Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX). WCI, along with 200 stakeholders, support WAVE 4, initially introduced in the 112th Congress as H.R.
WCI Endorses American Waterworks Act
New Waterways/Ports funding proposal will create jobs, relieve traffic congestion, increase exports. At its Board of Directors meeting held yesterday in Houston, Waterways Council, Inc.’s Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the American Waterworks Act, proposed in late October by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to modernize America’s inland waterways and ports. Increase revenue to Inland Waterways Trust Fund in a manner consistent with the agreement between the Inland Waterways Users and the U.S.
WCI Reacts to Obama's Infrastructure Proposal
WCI says that President's proposal may be counter-productive to Nation's Economy. Michael J. Toohey, President and CEO of Waterways Council, Inc. “While Waterways Council, Inc. and its members applaud President Obama’s call for higher levels to recapitalize our nation’s lock and dam infrastructure, the Obama plan for collecting the funding may be counter-productive to the nation’s economy and fails to include the necessary project delivery and other reforms that must be a part of a comprehensive investment strategy for our waterways.
Waterways Users Board Testifies Before Senate
Matt Woodruff, a member of the Inland Waterways Users Board, the Waterways Council Board of Directors, and Director- Government Affairs for Kirby Corporation in Houston, Texas, testified before the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works about the essential value of the waterways system to the nation’s economy, jobs and America’s continued competitiveness. He specifically addressed the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan, a comprehensive, consensus-based package of recommendations formulated by an industry and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working group to improve the reliability of the U.S. inland navigation system and its infrastructure over the next 20 years.
Where are Rivers and Ports in Obama’s Plan?
Waterways Council’s Inc. (WCI) and its more than 200 members were surprised and disappointed with President Obama’s announcement on September 6 that he intends to ask Congress for at least $50 billion in funding for infrastructure but made no mention of waterways infrastructure projects. Roads, rails and runways — why not Rivers? WCI issued a press statement reacting to the Obama announcement: “While the nation celebrated Labor Day and all that the workforce has done to make America great…
WCI: Groundswell of Support for Inland Waterways Capital Plan
To date, more than 200 industry stakeholders including national organizations, state, regional and local organizations, and companies have endorsed the new comprehensive, consensus-based package of recommendations formulated by an industry and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working group to improve the reliability of the U.S. inland navigation system over the next 20 years, known as the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan. Among the supporters are the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, American Land Conservancy, National Corn Growers Association, National Grain & Feed Association, Steel Manufacturers Association, National Mining Association, National Council of Farm Cooperatives, and many others from diverse segments of the American economy.
NRC Report on Upper Miss Study
An independent committee of the National Research Board tasked with reviewing a re-structured navigation and environmental study of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers today issued a mixed initial review of the study, suggesting that the 12-year, $67 million study be extended again beyond the current six-year extension, while at the same time urging action to move forward: "at some point, scientists and managers must decide that existing data are sufficient to allow for management actions to be implemented" (page 21). One of the committee's criticisms concerned grain export projections, citing them to be too high. "Everyone understands that grain export projections are a moving target," said S. Richard Tolman, Chairman of MARC 2000 and CEO of the National Corn Growers Association.
Upper Mississippi Nav Study Inconclusive
Prejudicial, Premature or Both? actions to be implemented" (page 21). One of the committee's criticisms concerned grain export projections, citing them to be too high. "Everyone understands that grain export projections are a moving target," said S. Richard Tolman, Chairman of MARC 2000 and CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. "But if we plan to capture a growing market share, we have to stop relying on 70-year-old lock and dam infrastructure and start a long-term program to support export demand well into the future. now let's get our domestic policy synchronized," he continued. 2000. similar," commented Mr. Brescia. Suggestions that the existing traffic needs to be managed more efficiently have been studied.
Feature: CEO Roundtable: Industry Leaders Speak to Strengths, Weaknesses and Challenges
MarineNews presents an old-fashioned roundtable discussion — collected via high-tech means — presenting the thoughts and concerns on the minds of six top executives from leading marine companies. MarineNews thanks Tom Allegretti, President and CEO, American Waterways Operators; Merritt Lane, President & CEO, Canal Barge Co.; Craig Philip, President & CEO, Ingram Marine Group; Joe Pyne, President & CEO, Kirby Corporation; Mark Knoy, President, Memco Barge Line; and Barry Palmer, President & CEO, Waterways Work! for sharing their views and expertise with our readers. MN: What is the most pressing challenge you feel is facing the barge/towing industry today?