Maritime Executive Magazine is holding a forum in Baltimore, Maryland to win Congressional and public support for a major new investment in the U.S. maritime industry through a media campaign entitled “StrongShips for America,” which features a series of conferences leading up to the 2012 election.
The publication focuses its efforts on a marine highway initiative designed to take truckloads off highways and onto ships and seeks the support of vessel operators, shipbuilders, ports and training institutes at its “Rebuilding America and Creating Jobs” forum scheduled for October 12th and 13th at Baltimore.
Maritime Executive editor Tony Munoz says: “We believe strongly in the merits of the maritime solution as a way to revive the American economy and create millions of new jobs. That’s why we’re forming a new organization called StrongShips for America and holding a series of Jones Act conferences to generate support.”
The Jones Act provides that vessels operating between two U.S. destinations must be built at U.S. shipyards, manned by U.S. crews and the vessels owned by U.S. citizens.
The publication says that: “America’s marine highways have been underutilized for decades due to failed federal policies and inadequate funding mechanisms. Today, while the infrastructure is in place, U.S. vessel operators, shipbuilders, training institutions and port authorities have been overlooked as vital assets in the U.S. economic recovery plan.”
Rebuild the United States (rbtus.com), a campaign to create 20 million new U.S. jobs, supports Maritime Executive’s effort.
Rebuild the United States is focusing on the following marine highway priorities that can create new jobs as well as reduce U.S. fuel consumption and carbon emissions:
• Congress must allocate at least $7.6 billion in urgent projects to repair and replace locks and dams on the nation’s inland waterways, according to Waterways Council, Inc. A national dredging initiative is also needed to eliminate barriers to shipping along the lower Mississippi River and elsewhere. New initiatives such as the Arkansas River channel deepening can shift thousands of truckloads off roads and on to tug/barges saving taxpayers money. Farm exports will benefit.
• A marine highway shipbuilding initiative can construct fuel-efficient ocean-going container vessels to shift less efficient long-haul truckloads off congested coastal highways and on to ships.
• New ship designs can be built in the United States, such as Wärtsilä Ship Design’s new MARLIN container ship series developed in co-operation with the DNV classification society. This design “delivers approximately 30 percent improved fuel efficiency” per container than current designs, the company says.
• The construction of next generation fuel-efficient diesel electric ships, tugboats and self-propelled inland waterway vessels can reduce fuel consumption as well as carbon and sulfur emissions.
• New inland and coastal cargo handling facilities will be needed for marine highway shipping as well as upgrades at hub ports, such as New Orleans, Norfolk and LA/Long Beach.
• The support of longshore unions is necessary to keep marine highway vessels competitive by embracing flexible manning rules at U.S. ports.
• Saving modern shipyards such as the Aker Philadelphia shipyard from shutting down is critical.
• Replacing older fuel-guzzling ships with new, fuel-efficient ships will lower freight rates to Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico consumers and strengthen support for the Jones Act.
To register for the Marine Executive forum go to: