US Inland Waterways: High Waters & Swirling Currents
The inland waterway system, flowing through the United States heartland, is a microcosm of all that has been happening in 2020: trade tensions, infrastructure issues, shifting trends in fuel consumption and the pandemic that has gripped us since the winter months. Shortly after the initial coronavirus outbreak here in the U.S., maritime workers were deemed to be “essential”, paving the way for cargo flows to recover from their springtime nadir. As COVID-19 infections turned up on U.S. shores, the boats continued plying the waterways, albeit with reduced volumes in some cases.
Towboat Crewman Missing After Going Overboard
The U.S. Coast Guard said it is searching for a towboat crewman in the water in the Ohio River near Alton, Ind., Sunday.Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley received a report around 12 p.m EST that a deckhand from a towing vessel had gone overboard without a life jacket, somewhere between mile marker 675 and mile marker 700.The male deckhand is described to be in his 50s, about 280 pounds, and 5 feet 10 inches tall.The Coast Guard is coordinating the search with local agency partners, including the Meade County Fire Department and Indiana Department of Conservation.
Waterways Council, Inc.’s 2020 Vision
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) is the national public policy organization that advocates for a modern, efficient inland waterways system. Abiding by our mission has meant success over our 17-year history. In 2020, WCI’s top priority is to conform the cost-share for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-financed construction projects to require 25% of the project cost be derived from the IWTF and the remaining 75% from General Revenues. The policy vehicle for this adjustment is the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)…
MARAD Awards $9.5 Mln for Marine Highways Projects
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded $9.5 million in grants to eight marine highways projects across the Nation under the America’s Marine Highway Program. The funding supports the enhancement of navigable waterways and expands existing waterborne freight services in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and American Samoa.“This Federal assistance will provide additional options to reduce congestion on the roads and help the surrounding local communities’ and the regions’ economic recovery…
INSIGHTS: Mary Ann Bucci, Executive Director, Port of Pittsburgh Commission
Mary Ann Bucci has spent her entire career in many different aspects of the logistics profession, selling container space on international vessels for SeaLand Service, leasing railcar equipment for GE Railcar Services, and negotiated rail rate for Aristech Chemicals. Having spent the last 19 years advocating for the inland waterways system, specifically for the Port of Pittsburgh District, Bucci weighs in on some of the top issues and key projects underway at one of the nation’s busiest inland ports.Please describe the Port of Pittsburgh Commission’s role in supporting waterway commerce…
Port of Indiana-Mt. Vernon Makes ‘Next Generation’ Terminal Upgrades
A recently completed a $2 million capital improvement project aims to attract more cargo to one of the nation’s largest inland ports.Situated 153 miles from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon connects the Ohio River Valley region’s agriculture, coal and manufacturing industries to the rest of the world via year-round access to the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes through the inland waterways system.Each year, more than 3,600 barges…
Sub M Progress – an Update
Subchapter M, the United States regulatory code dealing with towing vessels and requirements for towing vessel safety, has officially been in place since July 20, 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard finalized Sub M rulemaking.Since the rules were finalized there have been a couple of important hammer dates. In spring and summer 2018 the first certificates of inspection (COI) were issued. COIs are central within the Sub M program. A vessel needs a COI to legally operate. (All vessels were required to comply with Sub M by July 20, 2018.
WCI Applauds Corps’ FY20 Work Plan
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) offered praise for Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ for the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) work plan that lays out allocations for funds provided in the FY20 Energy & Water Development Appropriations bill toward the Corps’ civil works mission. The work plan was released late yesterday.Critical to the nation’s agricultural shippers and American family farmers, the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) (Upper Mississippi River – Illinois Waterway System: IL…
Dutra Launches Hydraulic Dump Scow
On August 20, 2019, Dutra’s new Jones Act built Hydraulic Dump Scow ES15 was successfully launched, christened, commissioned and will finish sea trials and additional testing this week. Next week the ES15 will head to Massachusetts to to work on the Boston Harbor Deepening Project.ES15 is a 6,000cy Hydraulic Dump Scow built in Corn Island Shipyard in Grandview, Indiana, located at 734 Mile Marker on the Ohio River. Departing from Corn Island, IN on August 27, 2019, the vessel will head south on the Ohio River…
Maritime Simulation & Training: a partnership that pays off
It is truly no accident that Delgado Maritime & Industrial Training Center and Florida Marine Transport collaborate so closely.Zero incidents, zero injuries and eliminating critical barge and equipment failures doesn’t just happen by osmosis. It’s a result of continual safety training that breeds operational awareness and confidence to anticipate a difficult situation on an inland waterway before it actually occurs.With a high school education, Capt. Shelden Detrafford started out making $25/day in the 1960s.
INSIGHTS: Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director, America's Central Port
Dennis Wilmsmeyer was appointed Executive Director at America’s Central Port on July 1, 2010, prior to which he served 11 years with the Port District, six as General Manager.With over 30 years of experience, Dennis brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table in the areas of transportation, planning, and economic development. His responsibilities include developing the Port’s 1,200-acre industrial park and business campus, redeveloping a former military logistics center…
St. Louis Ports, Terminals Tops in Efficiency
Now Capture 39 Percent of the Upper Mississippi River Barge Traffic; new data highlights concentration of river terminals, resulting in greater efficiencies and lower costs.The latest data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reveals the St. Louis Regional Ports held onto the top ranking as the most efficient inland port district* in the nation in terms of tons moved per river mile during 2017, the most recent year for which final numbers are available. The St. Louis region’s barge industry handled 472,400 tons per mile.
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)…
President's Request Cuts Funding for USACE
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the Trump Administration’s release of an outline of its top-line FY20 budget numbers yesterday. Today, the Corps of Engineers released its account and project-specific funding levels. For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, the FY20 budget proposes $4.827 billion, a 31% cut from the FY19 appropriated amount of $7.0 billion. Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) proposed funding in FY20 is $55.5 million, with a total of $111 million requested for the Lower Mon Project (Monongahela River, Pittsburgh), funding it to completion.
Ports of Indiana: Big Successes, with Big Projects in the Wings
For Indiana’s state-established, but autonomous Ports of Indiana, 2018 was a record setting year, both for system-wide numbers and among the three individual Ports. These consist of Burns Harbor, on Lake Erie; Jeffersonville, on the Ohio, across from Louisville, KY; and Mount Vernon, also on the Ohio River, about 140 miles downriver from Jeffersonville.Not only were actual numbers robust, but Port officials reported “unprecedented tonnage increases” within the three-port system.
Waterways Council Reacts to Budget Numbers
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the Trump Administration’s release of an outline of its top-line FY20 budget numbers yesterday. Today, the Corps of Engineers released its account and project-specific funding levels.For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, the FY20 budget proposes $4.827 billion, a 31% cut from the FY19 appropriated amount of $7.0 billion.Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) proposed funding in FY20 is $55.5 million, with a total of $111 million requested for the Lower Mon Project (Monongahela River, Pittsburgh), funding it to completion.
OP/ED: Structuring Infrastructure
The Inland Waterways View.At the start of any new year, we are often asked what our challenges will be or what we are going to do differently in the year ahead. However, in 2019, just like each year since Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) was founded in 2003, we intend to stay the course to advocate for full and efficient funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue its Civil Works mission to construct and maintain navigation projects on the inland waterways.The Corps’…
Burns Harbor Extends Key Partnership
The Port of Indiana Burns-Harbor has extended its partnership with its longtime stevedore and marine terminal operating company, Federal Marine Terminals.A press note from the Ports of Indiana, a statewide port authority operating three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan, said that the deal will run through at least 2023."FMT has been a vital collaborator with the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor since 1999," said Port Director Ian Hirt, "and this consolidated operating agreement underscores FMT's commitment to the greater northwest Indiana and Chicago markets."FMT has been handling cargoes in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River and along the East and Gulf coasts since 1960.
Update: Coast Guard Responds to Tug and Barge Accident on the Ohio River
The Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Towing Company, the responsible party, are continuing their response to a tug and barge accident on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, Wednesday.The water at the McAlpine Dam rose approximately three feet over the course of the past 24 hours causing one additional barge to sink. Nine barges are currently lying on the dam just above the falls. Seven of the nine barges sank.The Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and the responsible party are working together to evaluate the ever-changing situation each day.
Coast Guard Reopens Ohio River for Restricted Movements
The Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Towing Company, the responsible party, are continuing their response to a tug and barge accident on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, Thursday.The Coast Guard reopened the Ohio River to all vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to McAlpine Lock and Dam.Traffic movement is currently only permitted during daylight hours and with an assist vessel, which is available pre-stationed at McAlpine Lock and Dam.Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley received a report at approximately 8:10 p.m.…
Ohio River Closed Near Louisville after Barge Breakaway
A section of the Ohio River near Louisville, Ky. has been closed to all vessel traffic after 15 loaded coal barges broke away from a towing vessel that made contact with a bridge in the area.The U.S. Coast Guard said its watchstanders at Sector Ohio Valley received a report at approximately 8:10 p.m., Tuesday, that the towing vessel Debbie Graham, made contact with the 2nd Street Bridge, causing the 15 coal barges that it was pushing to break free. The cause of the incident is…
The Top 10 Maritime Stories for 2018
Choosing the ‘top stories of 2018’ was, this year, a difficult task. Many compelling story threads played out, dramatically impacting the North American waterfront, and in particular, the workboat sector – each in their own unique way. Read on to find out how and why.Autonomous Vessels: Ready or Not, Here They ComeFuturistic, remote-controlled autonomous marine vehicles aren’t coming. They are here. As the pace of change quickens, autonomous vessels are already providing service and value on the water. Out ahead of the rulemaking process, autonomous technology providers already churn out not just prototypes and designs, but also countless workboats, many already in service.
Olmsted: Online & Open
After more than 30 years of frustratingly slow progress, cost overruns and more than a few mistakes, Olmsted is finally poised for success. That’s something to celebrate.It is official: The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) wants Olmsted operational by October. After more than 30 years, the ribbon cutting to officially open the Olmsted Locks and Dam took place on August 30. The very old (1929) upstream locks and dams – Nos. 52 and 53, which Olmsted is replacing – will be dismantled by December 2020. Before that happens, Olmsted’s performance will be tested and confirmed.