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IRPT 2019 Conference Recap

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Federal Maritime Agencies

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Federal Maritime Agencies

If you missed the below Subcommittee hearing on 04/08/2019 regarding Federal Maritime Agencies, you can access a recording of the hearing here: https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/4/federal-maritime-agencies-ensuring-a-safe-secure-and-competitive-future

Additionally, you can view individual testimonies in pdf format here:

The Honorable Mark H. Buzby, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Admiral Karl L. Schultz, United States Coast Guard

The Honorable Michael A. Khouri, Federal Maritime Commission

The hearing, led by Chairman: U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AL), began with the opening statements, including “America’s ports, waterways and river systems, support over $4.6 trillion in annual economic activity and almost 650,000 American jobs”.

The entire hearing was just fascinating to listen to, and there was talk on budget priorities, legislative proposals, government shutdown and its affects to the Coast Guard, drug smuggling and such.

If you watch the video using the link above, the entire hearing is 2 hours 10 minutes (2:10:09). The hearing itself starts 34 minutes in to the full video. Here are some very pointed questions that directly pertain to IRPT Members:

1:03:10 “Small shipyards are vital part of local communities but also play an important part for our overall economic and national security”. Chairman Sullivan asked Adm. Buzby to speak about the impact that increased funding has had on the ability to meet the needs. Adm. Buzby stated that “it’s a great program that helps many shipyards” and that $20 million in 2018 was available to disburse for 29 facilities. Chairman Sullivan asked if that was enough. Admiral Buzby said they were grateful for whatever Congress passes and that many more applications were submitted than what was funded.

1:16:23 “On March 15, 2019 the Coast Guard issued a waterway closure to all vessel traffic on the Missouri River between St. Joe and Omaha.” Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb) asked Admiral Schultz to provide an update on the impact of flooding in the Missouri River on vessel traffic and also asked if he had a sense of how long a waterway closure may be necessary along the Missouri River. Admiral Schultz responded with: Sector commanders have a very key role working with other waterway stakeholders…  including conversations about water levels, currents and would need to follow up with a snapshot as he did not have it available at the hearing.

01:58:56 “We are working on reauthorizing the FastAct here there’s been some interesting maritime supply chain title in the next reauthorization bill that would enhance some of MARAD’s current authorized programs like the Port Development program, the Marine highway program Chairman Sullivan asked for Adm. Buzby’s views on that. Admiral Buzby stated that Maritime Administration view the shore side part of the merchant marine equation with obviously with equal interest and importance. Ture intermodalism occurs in our country is when the ships transfer to rail to trucks to maritime highways and all of that needs to function together, not only in the local area in that port, but how it plugs int o the larger national supply chain, so as was pointed out earlier and the uptick in maritime traffic, or ports need to be modernized and more efficient. And those connectors are not optimized for large loads.  Adm. Buzby went on to mention that the bigger ships can cause increased congestion. The response given seemed to focus on coastal ports and infrastructure related to.

 

April 5, 2019

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Federal Maritime Agencies
Federal Maritime Agencies: Ensuring a Safe, Secure and Competitive Future

Watch Live TODAY at 10:15 AM ET

To watch the hearing please click here: https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, chairman of the Subcommittee on Security, will convene a hearing titled, “Federal Maritime Agencies: Ensuring a Safe, Secure, and Competitive Future,” at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 4, 2019. This hearing will examine the President’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, and the Federal Maritime Commission and the current operational successes and challenges before the agencies.

Witnesses (subject to change):

  • The Honorable Mark H. Buzby, Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • The Honorable Michael A. Khouri, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission
  • The Honorable Karl L. Schultz, Commandant, United States Coast Guard

To learn more about the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, please visit: https://www.commerce.senate.gov