Interview: Matthew Paxton, President, Shipbuilders Council Of America
The U.S. commercial maritime industry is enjoying its most robust period in a generation, with a spate of newbuild activities spurred largely by a resurgent energy production market in the U.S. as well as new rules of vessel emissions which has forced owner to invest in new tonnage. For insight and perspective on the market Maritime Reporter & Engineering News visits with Matthew Paxton, who was selected to be the President of the Shipbuilders Council of America in 2007. In this capacity he advocates for a robust and expanding U.S. shipyard industrial base.
How Difficult is it to Obtain a Jones Act Waiver?
The American Salvage Association’s Jon Waldron provides the ultimate cabotage primer. There always seems to be constant chatter about waiving the Jones Act. In reality, it is a simple task to demystify the thought that it is easy to obtain such waivers. The fact that Senator Landrieu’s comments were not directed against any potential waiver of the Jones Act shows the controversy that Jones Act waivers can rise in the maritime and energy sectors. In reality, however, there exists a misconception amongst many about the ease of obtaining a waiver to the Jones Act. Accordingly, this article will discuss the requirements for obtaining a waiver, analyze key past Jones Act waivers, and look to possibilities for future Jones Act waivers.
Keystone Debate: Obama Rhetoric Rings Half True
President Barack Obama's sharpest criticism yet of Keystone XL this weekend included a controversial contention that the huge pipeline would be used to pump Canadian oil sands crude to global markets, not to U.S. refiners. TransCanada Corp., the pipeline giant that has been waiting six years for U.S. approval to build the $8 billion line, strongly denies it and says it is constructing the 1,179-mile (1,900-km) conduit only to serve import-dependant Gulf Coast refiners, weaning them away from supplies of heavy crude from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The truth, experts say, lies somewhere in between. The 830,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) pipeline helping link Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast was conceived six years ago to supply U.S. customers. Since then, however, the U.S.
House Introduces Vessel Discharge Legislation
The American Waterways Operators, a 350-member trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hailed the House introduction of critical vessel discharge legislation yesterday, praising the leadership of sponsors Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Bipartisan cosponsors include Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Bill Enyart (D-Ill.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Don Young (R-Alaska). H.R.
Vessel Discharge Legislation Awaits Congressional Nod
The American Waterways Operators, a 350-member trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, hailed the House introduction of critical vessel discharge legislation yesterday, praising the leadership of sponsors Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Bipartisan cosponsors include Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN)…
Joe Barton: Lift Oil Export Ban
A senior U.S. Congressman from Texas has come out in full support of the United States lifting the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, putting him at odds with fellow House Republicans wary of weighing in on the controversial issue. Rep. Joe Barton, who until now has maintained a relatively neutral public stance on a topic that has divided Republican members of the House energy and commerce committee, told Reuters in a statement that the time was right for the United States to overhaul its long-standing restrictions on exporting crude oil. "The shale revolution has changed the energy landscape in our country. It is time to change our laws to match this new reality…
Port of New Orleans Awards Terminal Build Contract
The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans awarded a $13.3 million construction contract to Metairie, La.-based Hard Rock Construction LLC today for the Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal improvement project at its monthly meeting. Hard Rock Construction was the lowest of eight bidders. The 12-acre project will result in a modern and efficient intermodal container transfer terminal to facilitate the movement of marine and rail cargo, while enhancing safety and reducing the carbon footprint of the regional and national transportation system.
Congress Gets It Done with WRRDA
On May 22, the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, containing major recommendations of the Capital Development Plan (CDP), was passed by a vote 91-7 in the Senate. As MarineNews was going to press, President Obama finally signed the bill into law. The conference agreement had passed the House on May 20 by an overwhelming 412-4 vote. The bill contains four key elements of the Capital Development Plan that were included in the House WAVE 4 (H.R. 1149) and Senate RIVER Act (S.
US Dredging Needs Growth as Army Corps’ Budget Shrinks
Spend dollars up on dredging, cubic yards moved down. Combined with a reduction in the USACE federal budget, the situation threatens a perfect storm for domestic requirements. U.S. dredging this decade, measured in cubic yards, is only half as active as it was in the early 1960s, with maintenance down slightly since then and new work off considerably, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or USACE. The nation’s spending on dredging in unadjusted dollars has swelled tenfold since the 1960’s, however.
Oil Producers Hope DC Talks Ease Export Ban
Recent meetings between U.S. oil producers and Commerce Department officials have fueled industry hopes that the Obama administration may soon begin to ease a longstanding ban on oil exports. Although it would require an act of Congress to end the four-decade export ban, some analysts and executives believe the White House may be getting ready to open up the taps a bit, allowing some export of a super-light form of oil known as condensate, which falls into a regulatory gray area. Executives and sources said a number of major shale oil producers have quietly stepped up lobbying efforts over the contentious energy issue in recent weeks, meeting with officials from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which oversees exports.
Waterways Council, Inc. Welcomes WRRDA Passage
Urges President’s Signature into Law. Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today celebrated the passage of the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, containing major recommendations of the Capital Development Plan (CDP*). WCI urges the President to sign the bill into law. The conference agreement passed the House on Tuesday by an overwhelming 412-4 vote. Today’s Senate passage by a strong vote of 91-7 underscores the strong bi-partisan effort to enact the critical water resources bill.
AWO Praises Final WRRDA Agreement
AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti issued a statement on behalf of U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge operators praising House and Senate leaders for their work in forging “critically needed” waterways infrastructure legislation and urged Congress to quickly pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act and send it to the President to be signed into law. “AWO is very pleased to see that the comprehensive legislation includes a number of important provisions of the Inland Waterways…
U.S. Senate Moves To Debate Energy Savings Bill; Keystone Bid Stalls
The U.S. Senate agreed on Tuesday to advance a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, but it could die unless lawmakers end a stalemate on how to proceed with the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline project. The Senate voted 79-20 to move toward a debate on the energy bill, making it the first big energy legislation to reach the Senate floor since 2007. Sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the White House-backed bill would save energy through tougher building codes and by making the federal governmentinstall new technologies.
US Senate Democrats Press For Speedier LNG Export Permits
The Obama administration must speed up approvals of liquefied natural gas exports to help boost global supplies and help U.S. allies, five Senate Democrats said on Friday. The lawmakers, all from natural gas-producing states, urged the Energy Department to place additional weight on national security matters in its review of LNG export applications. The Democrats said they wanted to show the White House that there is significant Democratic support for speeding up gas exports, even though Republicans typically lead the chorus.
Obama urged for Early decision on Keystone
Eleven U.S. Democratic senators on Thursday called on President Barack Obama to make a final decision on whether to approve TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast no later than May 31. The group included several lawmakers expected to face tough re-election battles this year, notably Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who chairs of the Senate Energy Committee. "We need a definitive timeline laid out, a timeline that reduces the comment period for federal agencies, officials and other entities," the senators wrote to Obama. (Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn) REUTERS
Senator Landrieu Defends Jones Act
The United States should strengthen a century-old law designed to protect the domestic shipping industry, rather than relax it under pressure from the energy industry, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee said on Tuesday. The 1920 Jones Act restricts the delivery of goods between U.S. ports to ships made in the United States and flying the country's flags. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said defending the law is one of her top priorities and cautioned the Obama administration not to relax the statute.
Industry Urges Senate for Vessel Discharge Legislation
On March 13, a diverse coalition of 59 national and regional organizations representing a wide array of business, maritime and labor interests signed on to a letter to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee leadership, Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), thanking them for cosponsoring S. 2094, a bill that would establish a uniform national framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges, and urging swift Committee consideration and approval. S. 2094, introduced on March 6 by Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), has 23 bipartisan co-sponsors, nearly one-quarter of the Senate.
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).
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…
OMSA Enters Leadership Transition
The Offshore Marine Service Association announced that it will begin a transition of leadership. Several months ago, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Adams informed the OMSA Board of Directors that he would be stepping down by the end of the year to manage a startup business that he and his partners have developed in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. “Jim has done an outstanding job and he will be genuinely missed. He has expertly guided OMSA through some difficult waters.
Billings Assumes OMSA Leadership
The Offshore Marine Service Association announced that Ben Billings has officially assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. Billings comes to OMSA from Washington, D.C. where he has worked for the past nine years on maritime issues in the U.S. Senate for Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Billings commented on his return to his native New Orleans and the experience he brings to OMSA, saying, “I am very happy to have this opportunity to return home for such an important mission.
Offshore Insights from OMSA's Ben Billings
Ben Billings serves as President & CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), a nationwide trade association headquartered in New Orleans that represents more than 200 member companies. OMSA’s membership includes approximately 100 firms operating more than 1,200 vessels that provide transportation services to the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. It’s arguably a very good time to be at the helm of OMSA, with a resurgent U.S.
AWO Praises Vessel Discharge Legislation
The American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, praised yesterday’s Senate introduction of a bill calling for the enactment of a uniform national standard for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges, legislation widely viewed as essential to ending the existing confusing, costly and ineffective patchwork of state and federal rules. AWO specifically called attention to the instrumental leadership of the bill’s lead sponsors, Sens.