U.S. West Coast ports undergo partial shutdown

WEB_aerial shot of ship backlog 1-31

By: Reuters | Feb 12 2015 at 12:56 PM | Ports & Terminals  

The 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast were effectively closed to cargo freighters for the second time in less than a week on Thursday under a partial shutdown imposed by shipping lines and terminal operators in an escalating labor dispute with the dockworkers’ union.

The loading and unloading of cargo vessels was halted for 24 hours as of Thursday morning, and the companies said those operations will be suspended - as they were last weekend - again this coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday, unless a contract settlement with the union is reached.

The two sides said they planned to return to the bargaining table with a federal mediator on Thursday for the first time since last Friday.

Officials for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing 20,000 dockworkers who have been without a contract since July, say they are very close to a deal with the companies’ bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association.

But the PMA says the talks hit a snag over a new demand by the union for changes in the system of binding arbitration of contract disputes.

In the meantime, inbound cargo vessels continued to stack up at anchor, with about two dozen freighters left idle on Thursday morning waiting for a berth outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s two busiest cargo hubs.

That number is likely to grow by the end of the weekend as additional vessels arrive from Asia with no place to park at the docks.

The affected ports handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia. Slowdowns at those harbors have rippled through the U.S. commercial supply chain, disrupting deliveries of a wide range of goods, from agricultural produce to housewares and apparel.

Citing months of chronic slowdowns in freight traffic they blame the union for instigating, the companies said they were unwilling to pay union workers higher holiday and weekend wages while productivity declines and the cargo backlog grows.

Union shifts worked this Thursday and next Monday would command premium pay in observance of separate Presidents Day holidays falling on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s birthdays.

Union officials said the shippers were engaged in brinkmanship, using the partial shutdown to exaggerate the magnitude of the crisis and exert economic pressure on union members.

The West Coast ports were not left entirely dormant, however. The companies said work will continue in the dockyards, rail yards and terminal gates as they seek to clear some of the cargo containers already stacked up on the waterfronts.

The companies have accused the union of orchestrating work slowdowns since October to gain leverage in negotiations, saying the ports are at the brink of total gridlock. The union has faulted changes in shipping practices instituted by the carriers themselves for the worsening congestion.

Retail and manufacturing groups, which project that a full, extended shutdown of the ports could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day, have urged the Obama administration to intervene to keep the two sides at the bargaining table until a deal is done.

The White House has said it was monitoring the situation and that it was up to the parties to resolve their own differences.

10 day deadline set before California ports are closed by managment

PMA threatens to close West Coast ports if ILWU refuses contract terms

2 hours ago

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) chief executive threatened to lockout longshore workers and shut down West Coast port operations if the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) does not immediately accept its contract terms.

“We have a responsibility to let people know of the critical place we’re at now,” said James McKenna, the association’s chief executive told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

McKenna told reporters that if the union refuses its terms then shipping companies and terminal operators will shut down operations and lock workers out of West Coast ports within a week to ten days.

McKenna said the PMA’s contract proposal includes a five-year contract, a 3-percent salary increase, a pension benefit increase and an agreement that truck chassis repairs will continue to be done by ILWU members.

“The PMA has concluded the latest offer is the farthest we can go to this point,” McKenna said.

In response, the ILWU issued a statement on Wednesday indicating that it feels the two sides are close to an agreement and the threat of a shut down is unnecessary.

“We’re this close,” said ILWU President Robert McEllrath, who held up two fingers in a gesture indicating how close the parties are to reaching an agreement, according to the statement.

He added, “We’ve dropped almost all of our remaining issues to help get this settled - and the few issues that remain can be easily resolved.”

The statement went on to say that the ILWU pledged to keep the ports open and keep cargo flowing, despite what it describes as the “massive, employer-caused congestion crisis that has delayed shipping for most of 2014.”


The ILWU statement concluded by charging that the PMA threat of a work shut down is “the second time in recent memory that the employers have threatened to close ports at the final stages of negotiations. The union has not engaged in a port strike over the coast longshore contract since 1971, 44 years ago.”

Obama seeks to fold US trade agencies into one-stop-shop


By: Reuters | Feb 03 2015 at 06:12 PM | International Trade  

President Barack Obama revived a proposal to fold the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other trade bodies into a one-stop-shop for U.S. exporters, a plan that in the past drew mixed reviews.

The proposal in the fiscal year 2016 budget brings back a plan first suggested in 2012, which the administration said at the time could save $3 billion over 10 years.

It comes at a hectic time, with U.S. negotiators hoping to complete work on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership within months and lawmakers expected soon to consider legislation to streamline the passage of such deals through Congress. The United States is also negotiating a trade pact with Europe.

The revamp would put USTR, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Small Business Administration, parts of the Department of Commerce and rural business programs at several agencies under the same roof.

“By bringing together the core tools to expand trade and investment, grow small businesses, and support innovation, the new department would coordinate these resources to maximize the benefits for businesses and the economy,” the budget proposal said. Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews said there was no updated estimate for potential savings.

In the past, some lawmakers voiced cautious support for the streamlining plan while others worried it would create a bureaucratic behemoth that would compromise the independence of some of the trade bodies.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch, said eliminating USTR was “misguided at best.”

“Folding an agency with a proven track record, like USTR, into a massive government bureaucracy would only undermine its effectiveness,” he said in a statement.

USTR has the lead on free trade deals and World Trade Organization disputes. The Commerce Department supports exporters and helps adjudicate complaints about unfair competition from exports, and Ex-Im provides financial support for exporters and overseas buyers of U.S. goods.

The budget proposal also includes $469 million to expand duty-free access for exports from selected trading partners and a separate program aimed at African nations. (Reuters)



Download CargoforVetsFlyer2015OnePage 1.28




Sponsored and supported by the City of Doral, City of Miami,
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and the
Florida Veterans Foundation

WHEN:              March 21-22, 2015

TIME:                8am to 4pm

WHERE:            JC Bermudez Park, 3000 NW 87th Ave

Doral, Fl 33172

ITEMS:              Household goods, furniture and home furnishings, hardware, sporting goods, clothing,

automotive parts, etc


All proceeds will benefit the Florida Veterans Foundation a State of Florida non-profit created under the IRS Code 501(c)(3) that provides direct support to our Veterans and their families as well as the sponsor of the South Florida Homeless Veterans Stand Down scheduled for May 1-3, 2015. Visit the Foundation Website at http://www.floridaveteransfoundation.org for specific information on programs and services.

To make a monetary contribution and/or register Cargo Donations for this event please visit the Florida Veterans Foundation Donation links:

For Cash Donations:
Please Visit: Donations at PayPal Here orwww.FloridaVeteransFoundation.org/donate
For Cargo Donations:
http://afsonline.us/Veterans Donations/


For additional information on the public clearance event please contact Mr. Sabatier,
Event Coordinator at Tel: 305-569-0021 or Email: LtCol Tony Colmenares USMC (Ret)
at colmenaresa@fdva.state.us.fl 










This is an excellent once a year opportunity to get a tax break on that stalled cargo. E-mail me at rick@eyerdam.com and I will put you together with the Vets' group. March is coming soon!

New Cuba Rules from Jen Diaz

The new changes announced today provide a revision to the regulations and will have a substantial impact on the following areas: travel, telecom, building materials and agricultural equipment, financial services, personal importations.
1. Travel
• Travel to Cuba for tourist related activity is still not authorized. “Specific licenses” will not be necessary if you are traveling to Cuba as one of the 12 “authorized travelers”. Instead, “authorized travelers” will now be able to travel to Cuba under a “general license,” the major difference being under a general license “authorized travelers” can travel to Cuba without the requirement of having to first apply to the OFAC and receive a license prior to travel.
• The 12 authorized traveler categories are:
1. family visits;
2. official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations;
3. journalism;
4. professional research and professional meetings;
5. educational;
6. religious;
7. public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions;
8. support for the Cuban people;
9. humanitarian projects;
10. activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes;
11. exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and
12. certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.
• For example, “professional research and professional meetings” is one of the 12 authorized traveler categories. OFAC published a frequently asked questions related to Cuba and clarified that “professional research in Cuba [must be] relating to a traveler’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule.” The new regulations further clarify that “professional” travelers cannot engage in travel in pursuit of a hobby, or research for personal satisfaction only.
• Airlines and travel agents are permitted to provide authorized travel services and authorized remittances without specific licenses to OFAC. Airlines will need to secure approvals from other U.S. government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration. Travel agents must maintain names and addresses and appropriate backup to confirm the traveler is “authorized” for 5 years. Once airlines have service, authorized travelers may book directly with the airlines, but, similarly the authorized traveler must maintain records for 5 years to prove the travel was “authorized”.
• Insurance companies are now authorized to provide travel insurance for “authorized” travelers.
2. Telecom
The following transactions are now authorized without a license:
• Exports to Cuba of certain consumer communications devices, including computers, communications equipment and related items, mobile phones, televisions, radios and digital cameras and memory cards, batteries, related software, applications, hardware, either sold or donated.
• Exports of items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems will be authorized.
• Access to the Internet, use of Internet services, infrastructure creation and upgrades is now authorized. This week, Facebook CEO launched internet.org in Colombia, perhaps he will now consider Cuba.
• All transactions, including payments, incidental to the provision of telecommunications services involving Cuba, including roaming agreements, are authorized.
• All transactions, including payments, relating to the establishment of telecommunications facilities, including fiber-optic cable and satellite facilities connecting Cuba with the U.S. or third countries are authorized.
• “Telecommunications services” include data, telephone, Internet, radio, television and news wire feeds, regardless of medium of transmission.
3. Building Materials, Tools, Equipment and Supplies
The following commercially sold or donated items may now be exported to Cuba without a license:
• Building materials, and tools for use by the private sector to construct or renovate privately-owned buildings, including privately-owned residences, businesses, places of worship and buildings for private sector social or recreational use;
• Tools and equipment for private sector agricultural activity; and
• Tools, equipment, supplies, and instruments for use by private sector entrepreneurs. Note that this provision will, for example, allow the export of such items to private sector entrepreneurs, such as auto mechanics, barbers and hairstylists and restaurateurs.
4. Financial Services
• “Authorized travelers” to Cuba are able to use their U.S. credit and debit card with removal of the per diem spending limit.
• The amount of authorized remittances authorized travelers to Cuba may carry has been increased to $10,000 per trip.
• The limit of a general remittance to a Cuban national has been raised from $500 to $2000 per quarter.
• Banking institutions, U.S. registered brokers, and U.S. registered money transmitters are permitted to process authorized remittances without a license.
• U.S. institutions are permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions.
• The regulatory definition of “cash in advance” is revised to specify that it means “cash before transfer of title,” providing more efficient financing of authorized trade with Cuba.
5. Personal Imports
• “Authorized travelers” to Cuba are authorized to import into the U.S. $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined, for personal use only.
There is no clarity on how, or if, enforcement any of these limited license exceptions will take place.


Basic of the Cuba deal

The US and Cuba have announced a broad agreement between the countries that will be a first and historic step toward normalizing relations after more than 50 years of hostility. Here are the basics of what each country has agreed to, as is known so far:

Mariel Port, major competition

What the US will give Cuba

Diplomatic opening: The U.S. will take steps toward restoring diplomatic ties with Cuba, severed since 1961. The travel ban will still be in place, as will the embargo, but the embargo's impact will be eased. And some preexisting exceptions to the travel ban will be expanded.
Embassy in Havana: This will include the goal of reopening a US embassy in Havana in the coming months. The embassy has been closed for over half a century.
Release alleged Cuban spies: The US will release three Cubans who were convicted of espionage and imprisoned in the US: Gerardo Hernandez, Luis Medina, and Antonio Guerrero. All three prisoners were members of the "Wasp Network," a group that spied on prominent members of the Cuban-American community. CNN reports that Hernandez, the group's leader, was also linked to the downing of two two civilian planes operated by Brothers to the Rescue, a U.S.-based dissident group.
Easing business and travel restrictions: The U.S. will make it easier for Americans to obtain licenses to do business in Cuba, and to travel to the island. CNN reports that the new rules still won't permit American tourism, but will make it easier to visit for other purposes.
Easing banking restrictions: Americans will be able to use credit and debit cards while in Cuba.
Higher remittance limits: Americans will be able to send up to $2000 per year to family members in Cuba. Cuban-American remittances are a major source of income for many Cuban families.
Small-scale imports of Cuban cigars and alcohol: US travelers will be able to import up to $400 in goods from Cuba, including $100 in alcohol and tobacco products.
Review of basis for sanctions: Secretary of State John Kerry has been ordered to review Cuba's status as a "state sponsor of terrorism." If his review determines that Cuba no longer deserves that status, that will be a first step towards lifting at least some US sanctions.
What Cuba will give the US

Release Alan Gross: US contractor Alan Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba for the last five years on charges of attempting to undermine the Cuban government. His detention has been a major issue for the US and the Obama administration. He has been released and is on his way back to the United States.
Release political prisoners: Cuba will release 53 political prisoners from a list provided by the United States. CNN also reports that Cuba is releasing a US intelligence source who has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than 20 years, but it is not clear whether that individual was one of the 53 included on the list.
Increased internet access: Cuba will allow its citizens increased access to the internet. The US has long sought this as a means of increasing pressure within Cuba for democratic reform.
Access by the UN: Cuba will allow officials from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to return to its territory.

Agriculture Transportation Coalition urges the President to act on the West Coast Port crisis

Agriculture Transportation Coalition urges the President to act on the West Coast Port crisis
By: AJOT | Nov 17 2014 at 05:20 PM | Ports & Terminals

The impact of West Coast port disruption is becoming increasingly dire for U.S. agriculture and forest products exporters. Christmas trees are not being exported and will miss the holiday season in Asia completely. Potatoes are not being exported and the cargo will likely be a total loss for the farmers whose entire year is dependent upon current shipments. Foreign customers are already canceling orders and turning to other countries to satisfy their needs.

The consequences are being felt throughout the country. The railroads are unable to bring agriculture products from the Midwest and the South to West Coast ports because of the labor slowdown at the ports. At the same time, the ocean carriers are passing on their increased cost by imposing draconian congestion surcharge fees on the U.S. exporter, who cannot pass them on to the customer. It is rendering our agriculture and forest products non-competitive in the global marketplace. It is destroying the President’s National Export Initiative. It could take years for our agriculture to recover lost foreign markets.

It is time for the White House to step in. It has tools to do so; we ask the President to intervene personally in order to get the longshore labor back to work, end the slow downs, and compel the terminal operators and the ILWU to complete work on their contract, which expired at the end of June.

The damage to the U.S. economy is profound as agriculture is now the largest export from the United States, and one of the primary areas in which the U.S. is globally preeminent. But that preeminence is now threatened, both immediately, and for some sectors, permanently.

Left Coast ports crippled by ILWU slowdowns

Longshore Union’s job actions spread from Pacific Northwest to Southern California
By: AJOT | Nov 06 2014 at 04:23 PM | Ports & Terminals

Escalating its use of orchestrated job actions that have already crippled terminal operations at Pacific Northwest ports, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has now targeted the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by unilaterally refusing to dispatch hundreds of qualified, skilled workers for critically important positions transporting containers in terminal yards at the nation’s largest port complex.

On short notice, the Union informed the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) that starting Monday, November 3rd, it would not dispatch qualified ILWU members, most of whom have significant experience operating yard cranes in the terminal, placing cargo containers on trucks and rail cars for delivery to customers. “We’ve used the same dispatch procedures for qualified crane operators since 1999,” said PMA spokesperson Wade Gates. “After 15 years, the ILWU leadership has unilaterally decided to change the rules for hundreds of qualified workers who are dispatched daily to help operate terminals at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.”

Terminal congestion has been a mounting issue at Southern California port terminals due to a variety of factors, including a surge in cargo volume, shortage of chassis and rail cars, and insufficient numbers of truck drivers. Given these already congested conditions, the ILWU’s refusal to fill critical yard crane positions makes an already difficult situation far worse. Many of the qualified, skilled members the ILWU is withholding have more than 1,000 hours of experience operating this equipment. As a result, the PMA estimates that the ILWU’s withholding of skilled workers will leave half of the yard crane positions unfilled unless corrective actions are taken.

The ILWU’s job actions, which have already crippled operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, now threaten to do the same in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Together, these four ports collectively handle nearly 80% of all containerized cargo at West Coast ports. The job actions began soon after a PMA offer responding to the ILWU’s demands during contract negotiations last week.

The labor-orchestrated slowdowns come at a critical time in negotiations for a new coast-wide labor contract, and threaten to stem the flow of cargo during the final holiday season push. “Although the existing congestion has had ripple effects throughout the supply chain, it is the ILWU slowdowns that now have the potential to bring the port complex to the brink of gridlock,” Gates said. “The ILWU’s orchestrated job actions are threatening the West Coast’s busiest ports and potentially billions of dollars in commerce. It is essential that the ILWU return to normal operations, as promised, so that we can continue meaningful negotiations in a productive environment free of union-staged slowdowns that are disrupting terminal operations at our largest ports.”

Negotiations for a new coast-wide contract covering nearly 13,600 registered workers began in May, with the goal of reaching an agreement by July. Once the contract expired on July 1st, the parties agreed to continue negotiating, and to resolve their differences at the table. The PMA and ILWU specifically stated that normal operations at West Coast ports would continue until an agreement could be reached. In a jointly-issued statement the day the contract expired, the parties stated: “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).”

“After six months of negotiations, during which a tentative agreement was reached on maintaining health benefits, the ILWU has resorted to its old playbook of slowdowns in order to leverage the employers at the bargaining table,” said Gates. “We were hopeful that the ILWU’s promises of normal cargo operations during negotiations would prove true – and until last week, they did. Now, they reneged on that agreement.”

In the Pacific Northwest ports of Tacoma and Seattle, continuing slowdowns have resulted in terminal productivity being reduced by an average of 40 to 60%. For example, some terminals that typically move 25-35 containers per hour were moving only 10-18, according to statistics compiled by PMA, which tracks historical productivity based on the number of containers moved per hour for each vessel at the same terminal.

The PMA, representing carriers and terminal operators coast-wide, has informed the ILWU that its unilateral action to withhold qualified, skilled workers in Southern California is a violation of the parties’ contract. According to the terms of the ILWU-PMA contract, slowdowns are impermissible, and jointly appointed arbitrators have repeatedly found in favor of employers during such disputes. Yet the ILWU has refused to agree to a contract extension – which would preserve the waterfront’s long-standing grievance procedures – thus frustrating employers’ efforts to return the ports to normal operations.

While the ILWU typically denies slowdown activity, often making false or exaggerated safety claims to justify the work-slow orders, the practice has been well-documented. During the 1999 contract negotiations, the Wall Street Journal revealed an ILWU dispatch audio tape that ordered slowdowns in Oakland. During the 2002 negotiations, the Los Angeles Times ran a story under the headline, “The Fine Art of the Slowdown.” And during the most recent six-year contract period, independent arbitrators have repeatedly ruled that ILWU slowdowns or work stoppages were in violation of the ILWU/PMA contract.

“Given the headwinds faced by our industry, and the declining market share of West Coast ports, further instability on the docks could lead to permanent losses of cargo and jobs,” Gates said. “Ultimately, despite our differences on the issues, the PMA and the ILWU both have an interest in preserving jobs on the docks and in our communities. It is time for us to show that we are serious about reaching agreement without putting jobs and our economy at risk.”

CMA CGM unveils “Ocean Three” alliance in quest for efficiencies

Container group CMA CGM unveils “Ocean Three” alliance in quest for efficiencies
By: Reuters | Sep 09 2014 at 07:05 AM | Channel(s): Liner Shipping

French container shipping group CMA CGM has sealed an alliance with two rivals after a failed attempt to partner with bigger peers Maersk and Switzerland’s MSC, vetoed by China earlier this year due to competition concerns.

CMA CGM said on Tuesday it had agreed a service-sharing alliance with China Shipping Container Lines Co Ltd and United Arab Shipping Co to be known as Ocean Three. The agreement still needs approval from the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.

The deal comes after the collapse in June of CMA CGM’s planned service-sharing alliance with Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co or MSC, since when the latter two operators have formed a two-way linkup that they expect to launch early next year.

The shipping industry has been battling overcapacity linked to a glut of new vessels ordered during a boom period before the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, forcing operators to look for ways of improving efficiency.

“While the CMA GGM/UASC/CSCL setup is not necessarily a love relationship, that does not mean that the new alliance won’t work well,” Jan Tiedemann, a shipping analyst with consultancy Alphaliner, said.

“The three carriers could work together well, provided they find a way to manage and streamline day-to-day vessel and terminal operations,” Tiedemann said.

The alliance will cover Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Transpacific and Asia-United States East Coast trade routes, and will combine vessel-sharing, slot-exchange and slot-charter agreements, CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipping firm by containers carried and fleet size, said in a statement.

With freight rates still struggling to rebound, companies are betting on vessel-sharing arrangements to help them reduce operating costs.

“For the big carriers ... it is almost not an option not to be in alliance ... as there is market consolidation going on,” Tiedemann added.

In another sign of a push to greater scale in the sector, Hapag-Lloyd and Compania SudAmericana de Vapores have agreed to form the world’s fourth-largest container shipping group, a deal that sources said last week should win conditional approval from the European Union.

Alliance of U.S. Freight Interests Releases Surface Transportation Reauthorization Platform

Art 2 for pro mar

Long-term, sustainable funding for freight mobility tops recommendations

The Freight Stakeholders Coalition, an alliance of 18 shipping and transportation provider/planning groups working together to support policies that promote freight mobility in the United States, has released a platform of nine principles for consideration in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization legislation.

The top two principles in the coalition’s platform focus on achieving long-term, sustainable funding to meet the nation’s existing and future freight transportation infrastructure needs, and to provide dedicated funds outside of the Highway Trust Fund for freight mobility.

Chaired by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) in Alexandria, Va., AAPA Executive Vice President Jean Godwin said that the Freight Stakeholders Coalition membership represents nearly every segment of the U.S. economy. “Like other coalition members, AAPA believes that the next surface transportation bill must recognize the indisputable link between goods movement and economic competitiveness,” she said. “With this link in mind, we are recommending new and additional funding in the next surface transportation bill that prioritizes freight projects which optimize and integrate the nation’s freight transportation system.”

Ms. Godwin added that coalition members are committed to modernizing America’s freight transportation system by advocating projects of regional or national significance that reduce congestion, enhance goods movement, improve the environment and create and sustain jobs.

Surface Transportation Reauthorization Platform - 2014

The Freight Stakeholders Coalition represents nearly every segment of the economy - shippers, transportation providers, as well as public and private owners and operators of infrastructure assets that move goods across the United States. The Coalition is united in the belief that a strong federal role in transportation programs is essential to maintaining interstate and foreign commerce and for the development of a more robust and competitive freight network.

The next surface transportation authorization is an opportunity to provide long-term, sustainable funding and to build upon MAP-21, which recognized the linkage between goods movement and economic competitiveness. However, it is time to match this new emphasis on freight by ensuring both long-term Highway Trust Fund solvency, as well as with new and additional non-HTF funding dedicated to prioritizing projects that optimize and integrate the nation's freight transportation system.

The findings and recommendations of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Special Panel on 21st Century Transportation advocated a truly national and interconnected freight transportation system and proposed many recommendations supported by this Coalition, including a call for robust public investment in all modes. The federal government must lead long-term efforts designed to further America's competitive advantage by advancing projects of regional and national significance that reduce congestion, enhance goods movement, improve the environment and create jobs.

We are committed to the modernization of our nation’s freight transportation system. It must accommodate projected growth in manufacturing and trade in years ahead or risk the U.S. being surpassed by foreign competitors.

The Freight Stakeholders Coalition has agreed to the following principles for the upcoming surface transportation authorization legislation:

1. Congress and the Administration, together, must achieve real, long-term, sustainable funding solutions designed to meet our current and future infrastructure needs. It is broadly acknowledged and understood that the current federal revenue sources of funding supporting highway, transit, rail and safety programs are insufficient to meet the nation’s current needs and without increases to revenues, this gap will grow exponentially in the future. Addressing our infrastructure funding gap is directly connected to maintaining our nation’s global competitiveness.

2. Provide dedicated funds for freight mobility/goods movement. It is critical that we resolve the funding challenges and ensure that the future funding is available for the current surface transportation programs, which currently fund many eligible projects that directly support freight mobility. In addition, there is also a need to identify and provide new, dedicated funding outside of the Highway Trust Fund for freight mobility. These dedicated funds should be provided for planning and capital investment in critical multimodal freight transportation infrastructure that provides public benefits and should be made available to both states and local governments (including seaports) and MPOs. High priority should be given to investment in efficient goods movement on the most significant freight corridors, including investment in intermodal connectors into freight terminals and projects that support national and regional connectivity.

3. Continuation of and funding for the Projects of National and Regional Significance program. The rules for this discretionary grant program, as enacted in SAFETEA-LU, have been fully developed by USDOT with significant input from stakeholders. The program awards funds on a competitive basis and is designed to recognize the national interest of projects that span across multiple states and jurisdictions. Many of these directly facilitate the movement of freight. This program is vital to addressing national freight needs and should be funded.

4. Promote and expedite the development and delivery of projects and activities that improve and facilitate the efficient movement of goods. MAP-21 introduced important reforms to expedite surface transportation project reviews while ensuring environmental protections. The next authorization must continue to build upon MAP-21 environmental streamlining provisions and make improvements to speed project delivery. Efficient federal and state reviews are critical to ensuring that project sponsors and financial investors have the ability to predictably move projects from the drawing board to construction while protecting the environment.

5. Establish a multi-modal freight office within the Office of the Secretary. Freight mobility should be a key priority within USDOT. This office would serve as an advocate for freight and fill several key roles that are missing today. It should administer the Projects of National and Regional Significance program and other freight freight-related funding and finance initiatives. It would serve as the department’s coordinator across all modes for multi-modal freight projects as well as work cooperatively with federal, state and local officials on project delivery. It would review rulemaking across all USDOT agencies and departments to create consistency for regulations affecting freight mobility.

6. Support multi-state freight corridor planning organizations. Multi-state freight corridor planning organizations have assisted states in planning and developing multi-state projects critical to regional and national freight mobility. Congress should allow States and MPOs to use federal funding to support multi-state corridor planning and organizations in order to enhance the ability to address multi-state projects and strategies to improve freight intermodal connectivity.

7. Reauthorize/reinstitute programs that have facilitated freight mobility projects. MAP-21 enhanced the existing core highway program to enable States to prioritize projects by increasing the federal match for freight projects on Interstates/highways and expanding eligibility for STP, including intermodal connectors. In addition, there are numerous previously existing transportation programs that facilitate freight mobility and are demonstrably valuable that MAP-21 retained outright or made eligible in a new consolidated and limited core program structure. Examples of these include Projects of Regional and National Significance; Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, National Cooperative Freight Research Program; Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, Truck Parking Pilot Program, and Rail-Highway Crossings. These programs should be reauthorized.

8. Expand freight planning at the state and local levels. Congress should continue to encourage states, MPOs and localities to develop freight planning expertise to address multi-modal freight mobility as part of their planning processes. Since the enactment of ISTEA, states are required to address multimodal issues as part of the scope of planning process. MAP-21 continued this trend by encouraging states to develop statewide freight plans, as well as linking the increased federal match incentive by requiring eligible projects be included in these plans. Federal law should continue to encourage the incorporation of freight planning into local plans and funds should be made available to MPOs to assist these efforts.

9. Foster operational and environmental efficiencies in goods movement. As in other aspects of transportation, improvements designed to achieve long term sustainability in goods movement are desirable to meet both commercial objectives—economy and efficiency—and public objectives—energy security and reduced environmental impact. Federal policy should employ positive approaches to enhance freight system efficiency and throughput with the goals of improving safety and reducing energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions.

American Association of Port Authorities
Susan Monteverde
(703) 684-5700

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Chris Smith
(202) 624-5839

American Trucking Associations
Darrin Roth
(703) 838-1900

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Delania Hardy
(202) 624-3680

Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors
Leslie Blakey
(202) 828-9100

Intermodal Association of North America
Joni Casey
(301) 982-3400

International Warehouse and Logistics Association (IWLA)
Pat O’Connor
(202) 223-6222

National Association of Manufacturers
Robyn Boerstling
(202) 637-3178

National Association of Regional Councils
Joanna Turner
(202) 986-1032 x. 216

National Association of Waterfront Employers
Paul Bea
(202) 607-6415

National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association
Jon Kent
(202) 223-6222

The National Industrial Transportation League
Bruce Carlton
(703) 524-5011

National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association
Chuck Baker
(202) 715-2920

National Retail Federation
Jonathan Gold
(202) 626-8193

Retail Industry Leaders Association
Kelly Kolb
(703) 600-2064

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Janet Kavinoky
(202) 657-2616

Waterfront Coalition
Robin Lanier
(202) 861-0825

World Shipping Council
Anne Kappel
(202) 589-1235