With former U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda heading for the door, is there a new day dawning for shortsea shipping in the United States? That light in the East might be the dawn of a new day for the U.S. maritime industry or it might be the final cataclysmic flash in the pan for this beleaguered industry.
It was intimated by a U.S. Maritime Administration official not long ago that the lack of emphasis on the maritime industry and shortsea shipping originated not with the U.S. Maritime Administrator, nor with the Secretary of Transportation, but at the highest levels of the Obama administration. As the House of Representatives convenes a special committee on intermodal transportation, perhaps there is an opportunity to finally move the America’s Marine Highway program forward.
Maritime Executive’s Tony Munoz recently opined that the U.S. could learn from the EU’s short sea policies. The success of the European model in regards to job creation, economic value and environmental impact (or lack thereof) is enviable. An interesting graphic on some of the successes of the EU Marco Polo Project here.
As gCaptain’s John Konrad put it, “…no one in shipping has ignored the problem. What they have done is wasted millions on spreadsheets and PowerPoints to convince each other how much this will benefit shipping……our time needs to be spent outside official channels. Don’t write your congressmen about short sea shipping write Fox News about how frustrated you are sitting in I-95 traffic, and get your wife to write about how the rust on your bridge scares the s$%^ out of her every time she crosses it with the kids.”
These guys have some very valid points. Perhaps there IS hope for America’s Marine Highway and the U.S. Merchant Marine…..if there is a Maritime Administrator from the maritime industry,
More information on the European Union’s maritime strategy here.
Interesting discussion on shortsea shipping on gCaptain here.