Freight News, Sea

U.S. Port Authorities Endorse Senate Bill

[ February 25, 2022   //   ]

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has endorsed the Klobuchar-Thune bill (U.S. Senate) on Ocean Shipping (S.3580) by a vote of the industry’s legislative policy council.

The Klobuchar-Thune bill would increase Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) enforcement of ocean shipping while preserving ‘fluidity charges’ that prompt cargo owners to keep their goods from piling up on severely limited terminal space.

AAPA — the unified voice of seaports in the Americas — represents eighty deep-draft U.S. ports, which indirectly support over one-quarter of U.S. GDP and 31 million jobs.

The following is attributable to AAPA’s President and CEO, Chris Connor:

“U.S. ports are moving more goods than ever — to foreign markets, to American homes, to American businesses.

As shovels start hitting the ground for port capacity expansion, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Klobuchar-Thune bill will further help the system by prioritizing cargo fluidity and increasing access for American businesses and consumers.

The pandemic has laid bare the need for a transport system to be able to surge and stretch — across all links, from sea, to land, to rail, to warehouse, to consumer. Incentives like fluidity charges keep cargo from piling up on the proverbial ‘baggage carousel.’ These fluidity charges are 100 percent proven to decrease the long-dwelling cargo at ports, which was a major cause of congestion during the early stages of the pile-ups. We look forward to seeing this bill through the mark up process, and to both the strengthening of fluidity provisions and putting Federal investment dollars to their highest use.”

Signs continue to flash positive for an untangling of international supply chains, especially for American retail and American agriculture. Ports, terminal operators, carriers, and longshore workers have been working around the clock to keep clearing cargo, including through the use of expanded gate hours and emergency ‘sweeper ships.’

In the longer term, America’s trade infrastructure will need sustained investments greater than those in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — hundreds of billions of dollars for maritime infrastructure alone — to keep up with the growth in trade that drives American prosperity.