Higgins, Great Lakes Legislator of the Year
Congressman Brian M. Higgins (D-NY) has been honored for his support of Great Lakes shipping by the largest coalition representing the industry. The Congressman was named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF). Rep. Higgins will formally receive the award at GLMTF’s 14th Annual Briefing for the Great Lakes Delegation in Washington on April 2, 2009. “As a native of Buffalo, Congressman Higgins has long understood that Great Lakes shipping is an asset to be treasured,” said Don Cree, President of GLMTF and President of the Toledo (Ohio) Port Council.
Great Lakes Urge Override of Vetoed Water Bill
The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to override President Bush's veto of legislation that will accelerate dredging and authorize construction of a second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. These provisions and others benefitting the Lakes are included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 recently vetoed by the President. The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (H.R. 1495) was passed by wide margins in both the House and Senate. Lack of adequate dredging reportedly is forcing the largest U.S.-Flag vessels on the Lakes to lose 6,000 tons of cargo each trip. A second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is one of the most important infrastructure improvements on the Great Lakes in decades.
Study: Closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway Not Needed to Fight Invasive Species
Closing the St. Lawrence Seaway to ocean-going vessels is not the answer to ending the further introduction of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the Great Lakes, said a study by the National Academy of Sciences. The study drew praise from the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), the federal agency responsible for the passage of vessels into the Great Lakes. The study, Great Lakes Shipping, Trade, and Aquatic Invasive Species, concluded that closing the Seaway could not guarantee prevention of further invasives such as zebra and quagga mussels as non-ship-related vectors would continue to allow AIS into the Great Lakes.
Great Lakes Shipping Worries about Tough Spring
Ice conditions have been causing concern for Great Lakes shipping industry. The satellite images show that the Great Lakes once again almost entirely covered in ice. Duluth News Tribune reports that the ice is causing worry in the Great Lakes shipping industry about the prospects of another difficult spring. According to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association, it has been another brutal winter and if it keeps going it will be a challenging resumption to navigation when the vessels get going again in March.
No Stimulus Funds for New Soo Lock
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) has expressed its disappointment that the second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan did not receive any Federal stimulus dollars. GLMTF stated that Congress has strongly supported the project, authorizing the lock at full Federal expense in 2007, and approving tens of millions of dollars in Federal construction funding, including $17 million recently in the FY09 Appropriations Bill. “It is incomprehensible that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not include the new Soo lock in projects that will be funded from its share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),” said Donald Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest coalition promoting waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes.
GLMTF Says USACE Shorted Region on Stimulus
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force said the Great Lakes came up short when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided how to divvy up the $4.6b Congress gave it for job creation and infrastructure improvements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Corps allocated only two percent of its stimulus dollars to the Great Lakes, leaving navigation and environmental projects in America’s heartland high and dry. The Task Force said the eight Great Lakes states received $94m for Lakes projects out of the $4.6b Congress gave the Corps, despite the fact cargo movement can top 200 million tons a year and supports hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs.
SMET Sets Record
Superior Midwest Energy Terminal (SMET) in Superior, Wis., loaded 2,548,173 net tons of coal in July, a new record for the most coal to be shipped by a single dock in one month in the entire history of Great Lakes shipping. The previous peak was 2,468,619 net tons loaded at the Chesapeake & Ohio dock in Toledo in October 1946. Before that, the record was held by Sandusky - 2,200,737 net tons in October 1944. For the season, coal loadings at SMET stand at 8,208,187 net tons, essentially the same level as a year ago.
Spending HMT Will End Dredging Crisis
Using the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for its intended purpose will end the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes declared a stone shipper at a briefing for the Great Lakes delegation in Washington, DC on April 2 hosted by Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. “We need approximately $200m to clear the dredging backlog on the Great Lakes,” said Thomas Buck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Carmeuse Lime & Stone. “The fund collects $1.1b annually, but only spends $700m. That leaves a surplus of nearly $5b. Carmeuse Lime & Stone operates three large stone quarries that ship via the Great Lakes. In 2008, those quarries loaded 14 million tons of aggregate and fluxstone into Great Lakes freighters.
Greenstone II to Depart Port of Duluth-Superior
The tank barge Greenstone II, the first vessel to be built by Superior’s Fraser Shipyards in nearly 40 years, is tentatively scheduled to depart the Port of Duluth-Superior on Monday, May 24, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported today. Fraser Shipyard floated the Greenstone II at its dry dock today (May 21), and has scheduled the Marine Tech, Duluth, tug Miss Laura to escort the vessel to Houghton, Mich. The Greenstone II is a double-hulled fuel barge that will operate between Houghton and Isle Royale National Park, replacing the single hulled barge Greenstone that was retired last year. Fraser Shipyards, whose predecessors date back 113-years, is the only remaining major American shipyard and dry dock operation on the western end of the Great Lakes.
Largest Potential Lakes Project in Generation
Congress is considering the possible funding of the construction of a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, a half-billion dollar undertaking that would rank as the largest navigation infrastructure project on the Great Lakes in a generation. Construction of a new lock at “the Soo” would bring up to 250 jobs annually to northern Michigan and continue for a decade. Estimated cost of the lock is about $475m. One economist has likened the economic impact of lock construction to opening an automobile plant in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Funding could come either through a massive stimulus bill or appropriations bills that will be considered by Congress as early as January. The new lock has been in the planning stage for two decades, but now is ready to move forward once funding is secured.
Soo Locks Open for Cargo Ships
Despite the chilly temperatures and heavy snowfall the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Soo Locks for the start of the Great Lakes shipping season. The Edwin H. Gott, a 1,004-foot freighter, was the first ship to enter the Poe Lock. The Gott was followed by the Roger Blough, with both ships going upbound into Lake Superior to collect iron ore. The locks at Sault Saint Marie, Michigan are among 16 locks that form the St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system, which extends from Duluth, to the Atlantic Ocean.
WRDA Passage to End Lakes Dredging Crisis
The end of the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes moved a giant step closer today when a key House committee approved legislation requiring the federal government to spend all the tax dollars it collects for dredging on dredging rather than use nearly half to balance the budget - at least on paper. Section 2007 of H.R. 5892, the Water Resources Development Act of 2010, mandates that all tax revenues annually deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) be used to dredge the nation’s deep-draft ports and waterways. Because the government does not spend all the tax dollars it raises for dredging, the HMTF currently has a surplus of more than $5b.
MARAD Great Lakes Fleet Revitalization Study
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) will conduct three public listening sessions to gather data and comments to inform the US-Flag Great Lakes Fleet Revitalization Study. The Study will examine the current and potential future role of Great Lakes shipping in supporting the region’s economy and as an important component of the greater US Marine Highway System. It will also be used to assess the impact of new environmental regulations on the Great Lakes fleet. Of particular interest is the likely impact of the EPA’s final emission standards for new marine diesel “Category 3” engines that come into effect in January 2012. The listening sessions will be held in Cleveland (February 15); Duluth (February 23); and Chicago (February 25). 75 Fed. Reg. 82141 (December 29, 2010).
Pacesetter Award for Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor
The top federal official presiding over the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway presented Indiana Governor Mike Pence with its flagship award today in recognition of an increase in international shipping at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Chief executives from the Great Lakes shipping community visited Indianapolis Wednesday to meet with Gov. Pence, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann as well as public and private leaders from Indiana. During the meetings, U.S. Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton presented the "Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award" to Gov.
U.S. Coast Guard Clears Great Lakes Shipping Channels
The US Coast Guard began to prepare for the upcoming shipping season this week, with ice breaking operations on the Great Lakes, says a report in AP. The U.S. Coast Guard's 140-foot icebreaking cutter Bristol Bay broke up ice that remains on some Great Lakes shipping channels in the St. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay welcomed aboard members of the media Friday to demonstrate icebreaking on the St. Clair River. It's all part of an effort to remove unstable ice, provide flood relief and facilitate commerce. The Bristol Bay was cutting ice well into May last year.
Great Lakes Dredging hinges on Federal Legislation
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.
Great Lakes Shipping Industry Urges Fast WRRDA Approval
The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to quickly pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) approved by the House/Senate conference committee. The bill contains provisions that will significantly reduce the dredging backlog on the Great Lakes by increasing the amount of tax dollars the government spends on maintaining deep-draft ports and waterways and designating the Great Lakes a “navigation system” for the purposes of maintenance dredging.
Algoma Invests in Great Lakes Shipping
Algoma Central Corporation expects to invest close to $400m in Great Lakes shipping as it takes bold steps for the future, Algoma President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wight said during his keynote address at the Top Hat ceremony marking the 182nd opening of the Welland Canal. “This level of commitment to this industry is unprecedented,” Mr. Wight said. Algoma’s fleet renewal program is starting with the purchase of five new state-of-the-art Equinox Class vessels, with the hope to expand this order. The new Equinox Class was developed in St. Catharines, Ontario by a team of designers at Algoma’s downtown headquarters in partnership with engineers from around the world. Equinox Class ships are the next generation of bulk carriers on the Great Lakes.
Québec, Indiana Partner for Great Lakes Shipping
Québec Minister of International Relations and Francophonie Christine St-Pierre and Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann today announced that the Province of Québec and the State of Indiana will launch a new partnership to intensify their collaboration in Great Lakes/St. Lawrence System shipping and maritime economic development. Recent studies have shown that for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region, maritime transportation accounts for $34 billion in annual economic returns and more than 225,000 jobs.
'Horrendous' Winter a Challenge for Coast Guard Icebreakers
The 2000 Great Lakes shipping season ended on Feb. 8, when the Canadian Transport loaded 29,000 tons of coal at the Pittsburgh & Conneaut dock in Conneaut, Ohio. The cargo was then delivered to Ontario Hydro's power plant in Naticoke, Ontario. "Ice conditions were horrendous from early December on," said George J.Ryan, president of Lake Carriers' Association, the trade association representing the major U.S.-Flag Lakes lines. "At times, the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers and western Lake Erie basin were clogged with brash ice going down 15 ft. Even the high-powered, ice strengthened lakers that operate at the beginning and end of the season could not have proceeded without the icebreaking assistance provided by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards.
Port of Detroit’s Shipping Season Opens
On April 17, the Port of Detroit welcomed the arrival of the ocean going vessel, Fairload. The ship's arrival begins the Port of Detroit's 2010 shipping season. "We are hopeful about this year's Great Lakes shipping season," said Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) "Indicators show that shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway is improving. This can positively impact the region's economy." The Fairload, a Netherlands flagged vessel, set sail on April 1, 2010 from Aviles, Spain. The ship, 314 ft long with a 60-ft beam, sailed under the command of Captain D. Kobelev. Rotterdam, Netherlands is its home port. Olinek will present the coveted J.L. Hudson Trophy to Columbus Shipping & Trading Agency, Inc., the ship's agent.
House Addresses Great Lakes Dredging Crisis
The end of the Great Lakes dredging crisis took a step closer to reality last week when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348 and included a provision that could lead to substantially increased Great Lakes dredging funding. The amendment directs that all funding collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year. “Passage of H.R. 4348 with the Boustany amendment represents further progress in requiring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund monies all be spent on dredging each year…
House Adopts Amendment Addressing Great Lakes Dredging Crisis
Toledo, Ohio – The end of the Great Lakes dredging crisis came a step closer to reality yesterday when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348 and included a provision which could lead to substantially increased funding for Great Lakes dredging. The amendment directs that all funding collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year. Currently, the Fund has a $7 billion surplus. More than 16 million cubic yards of sediment clog Great Lakes ports and waterways because funding for dredging has been inadequate for decades. “Passage of H.R. 4348 with the Boustany amendment represents further progress in requiring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund monies all be spent on dredging each year…