It’s been a busy few days for U.S. legislators setting their sights on creating laws that impact the maritime industry. From a bill to monitor and report on US port operations, to a ship recycling bill and a multi-modal freight act, Washington’s got the spotlight on shipping.
The Port Performance Act requires statistical data on the capacity and performance of major ports, and performance reports prior to the end of a labor agreement and monthly until the establishment of a new labor contract. Among the objectives is to use the information to analyze trends and identify freight bottlenecks for improvement and action, and in general, more transparency in port operations.
While the bill seems necessary, especially after the West Coast ports’ lengthy labor negotiations reportedly cost the United States an estimated $2.5 billion daily, some politicians and stakeholders still expressed concerns about the act, which may be considered invasive to contract negotiations, or could be a distraction to port operations, or even hinder their competitiveness if proprietary information is revealed.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the act, however, which may become part of a transportation bill that may be up for discussion and action by Congress later this summer.
A couple of other maritime-themed initiatives have been introduced by lawmakers over this past month. Ships to Be Recycled in the States (“STORIS”) Act, about marine recycling reforms, was recently introduced by Congressman Garret Graves of South Louisiana; and The National Multimodal Freight Policy and Investment Act, was introduced by Senators Cantwell, Booker, Murray and Markey.
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Laing, Keith. “Panel approves bill to boost federal port oversight.” The Hill, 25 Jun 2015. Web. 05 Jul 2015. http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/246165-panel-approves-bill-to-boost-federal-port-oversight
Morgan, David. “Senate panel approves bill to monitor port performance.” Reuters, 25 Jun 2015. Web. 05 Jul 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/25/us-usa-ports-congress-idUSKBN0P52P820150625
“U.S. Congressman Introduces Ship Recycling Bill.” The Maritime Executive, 25 Jun 2015. Web. 05 Jul 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/us-congressman-introduces-ship-recycling-bill
“US Senate Approves Ports Performance Act to Preempt Cargo Flow Disruptions.” World Maritime News, 26 Jun 2015. Web. 05 Jul 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/164817/us-senate-approves-ports-performance-act-to-preempt-cargo-flow-disruptions/
“U.S. Senate Introduces Multimodal Freight Act.” The Maritime Executive, 26 Jun 2015. Web. 05 Jul 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/us-senate-introduces-multimodal-freight-act