Flags of Convenience threaten remaining U.S. maritime jobs

Section 100124 reduces the amount of U.S. food aid required to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships from 75 percent to just 50 percent, jeopardizing up to 2,000 American maritime jobs
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
July 25, 2012 - LM Editorial

A short-sighted provision contained in the highway bill, MAP-21, is being challenged by legislators seeking to protect U.S.-flagged vessels.

U.S. Representatives Elijah E. Cummings (D, MD-07) and Jeff Landry (R, LA-03) today introduced the Saving Essential American Sailors (SEAS) Act, H.R. 6170, which would ensure American food aid is transported by American workers.

The bill repeals Section 100124 of the highway bill, MAP-21. Additional original co-sponsors include Congress members Nick Rahall (D, WV-03), Rick Larsen (D, WA-02), Bennie Thompson (D, MS-02), Colleen Hanabusa (D, HI-01), Cedric Richmond (D, LA-02), Michael Grimm (R, NY-13), Tim Bishop (D, NY-01), and Candice Miller (R, MI-10).

Section 100124 reduces the amount of U.S. food aid required to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships from 75 percent to just 50 percent, jeopardizing up to 2,000 American maritime jobs. The Maritime Administration (MARAD) estimates that enactment of Section 100124 could cause the U.S.-flagged fleet to lose 16 vessels and $90 million in annual revenues.

“The number of vessels in the U.S. flag and the percentage of U.S. cargoes carried on American vessels have continued to fall in recent decades. Currently, there are fewer than 100 U.S.-flagged vessels in the foreign trade, and these vessels carry less than two percent of U.S. cargoes,” said Cummings. “If we allow a further decline in this fleet and the loss of additional mariner jobs, we risk leaving our economy and indeed our military dependent on foreign-flagged, foreign-owned vessels manned by non-U.S. citizens – a situation that would be intolerable.”

“This is what happens when Washington rushes bills; we don’t fully debate them or understand their ramifications. Section 100124 will mean that American taxpayers will be paying foreign workers while American mariners sit on the beach,” said Landry. “I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join us in fighting for our American workers and quickly pass the SEAS Act.”

In a May 2011 letter, Commander of the United States Transportation Command General Duncan McNabb wrote that “over 90 percent of all cargo to Afghanistan and Iraq has been moved by sea in U.S. Flag vessels” and noted that U.S. cargo preference laws and the Maritime Security Program have helped in “ensuring the continued viability of both the U.S. Flag fleet and the pool of citizen mariners who man those vessels.” McNabb continued, “the movement of U.S. international food aid has been a major contributor to the cargo we have moved under the cargo preference law that our U.S. commercial sealift industry depends on. Any reductions will have to be offset in other ways to maintain current DoD sealift readiness.”

“This ill-conceived change in our cargo preference laws would literally ship American jobs overseas,” said Rahall.

“The SEAS Act provides a sensible solution to correct this flaw in the surface transportation bill. It is a job-protecting measure that merits smooth sailing through Congressional consideration and enactment.”



About the Author

image
Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

FTR says both spot rates and contract rates are heading up in a full capacity environment and with the fall shipping season rapidly approaching, it explained conditions for shippers could further deteriorate.

Read how others are using Business Process Management to achieve ERP success with Microsoft Dynamics AX. Download the free white paper now.

Now that Congress has issued another highway funding Band-Aid – a $10.9 billion highway bill through next May that former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blasted as “totally inadequate” – what can we expect as the infamously do-nothing 113th Congress winds down in the next month before taking yet another recess to prep for the mid-term elections?

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

Article Topics

Blogs · Ocean Freight · Ocean Cargo · Trade · All topics

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA