Marine Transportation System National Advisory Committee Meeting Information


Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council Webinar Meeting
September 21, 2012
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
U.S. Department of Transportation
Meeting Summary

Thomas Simmers (Chair), Mark Barker, Alice Cheng, Mike Roberts (for Thomas Crowley), Judith Druskovich, Christina Casgar (for Gary Gallegos), Fred Harris, , Rick Larrabee, Mark Locker, James Lyons, John Parrot, Craig Philip, , Karl Simon. Genevieve Boehm Clifton, Margaret Vaughan, Matt Davis (for Omar Benjamin), Augustin Tellez, David Moseley

Berit Eriksson, David Dawson, Matt Woodruff (for Joseph Pyne), Donna Ymard (for Eduardo Campirano), Norman Fassler-Katz, Richard Berkowitz, Donald Allee, Jim Dwyer (for James White), Mike Luken,  Clay Cook, Greg Mendenhall, Hank Marcus, Jean McKeever, Jonathan Kaskin, Martin Gottlieb, Matt Tedesco, Nancy Mattson, Peter Shaerf, Robert Pierot, Scott Clapham, Tom Wetherald,

Andrew Newhart, John DeCrosta, John DeVierno, Matthew Hummer, Matt Paxton, Emily Vuxton

David Murk, Richard Lolich, George Zoukee, Lauren Brand, Jeffrey Flumignan, Frances Bohnsack

The webinar began at 11:00 AM on September 21, 2012 with a welcome to the group by Tom Simmers, Chair. Mr. Simmers then reviewed the day’s agenda and the Council approved the May 8th meeting minutes.

Mr. Tom Simmers then asked John Parrott, Chair of the Marine Highways Subcommittee, and Mr. Rick Larrabee, Chair of the Ports Subcommittee, to provide the Council with a review of the MTSNAC Senior Leadership meeting with the Secretary on June 13th, during which the Marine Highway and Ports Subcommittee recommendations were presented and accepted by the Secretary.

John Parrott, Chair of the Marine Highway Subcommittee, briefly reviewed the committee’s objectives to 1) integrate America’s marine highway into the surface transportation system, 2) remove impediments to marine highway expansion, and 3) develop an environment that increases demand for Marine Highway Services. To achieve these objectives, the marine highway subcommittee recommended to encourage state DOTs to designate a maritime coordinator, support legislation that truly integrates Marine Highways into the overall surface transportation system, and seek Harbor Maintenance Tax exemptions for certain domestic cargo moves by water.

Rick Larabee, Chair of the Ports Subcommittee, then summarized his group’s objectives: 1) develop a national freight strategy, 2) establish a reliable funding mechanism for freight-related infrastructure investment, and 3) improve delivery of the Federal component of the marine transportation system. In turn, the Ports Subcommittee recommended establishing a function within the DOT that is responsible and capable of developing and implementing freight strategies and policies at the national level, that OST provide support and guidance to MARAD to implement the Port Infrastructure Development Program, that the Secretary of Transportation engage the Ports Caucus to advance port infrastructure development strategies, and improve delivery of Federal services to the MTS through improved coordination and leadership at the local level.

Mr. Simmers then asked Mr. Fred Harris, Chair of the Shipbuilding Subcommittee, to present that subcommittee’s preliminary recommendations to the Council. The subcommittee’s recommendations were based on two objectives:

  1. Ensure transparency and effectiveness of Title XI loan guarantee process for Jones Act Vessels; and
  2. Support the America’s Marine Highway by providing adequate ship capacity and incentivizing demand

Ms. Jean McKeever presented the recommendations based on the first objective (The complete set of slides is attached). They included:

  • Title XI Amendments & Additions
  • Credit Council/Title XI Process Reform
  • Title XI Funding Increase

Mr. Matt Tedesco, Mr. Hank Marcus, Ms. Nancy Mattson, and Mr. Greg Mendenhall then presented the recommendations based on the second objective (The complete set of slides is attached).  They included:

  • Support for reduction of startup costs and risks of America’s Marine Highway (AMH) services through a Marco Polo style lump sum at startup
  • Support for  operation of AMH vessels with per-unit funding from the Navy to cargo owner/agent
  • Support for Investment Tax Credit (ITC) legislation  & Depreciation incentives
  • Support for Amendment to the Tonnage Tax for vessels in domestic service
  • Support for Exemption of Harbor Maintenance Tax for Marine Highway cargoes
  • Support to incorporate development of LNG bunkering terminals at U.S. ports into DOT infrastructure program

Mr. Michael Roberts of Crowley expressed his concern with the wording of the recommendations to support reduction in startup costs for AMH services and to support operation of AMH vessels. He suggested that any incentives be limited to vessel operators providing service entirely within the coastal AMH, and excluding vessels operating in non-contiguous trade. The subcommittee agreed to revise those two recommendations to reflect Mr. Robert’s concerns. Tom Simmers then asked for full committee endorsement of the Shipbuilding Subcommittee recommendations with the minor revisions. The committee unanimously agreed and the subcommittee agreed to forward its revised recommendations back to the committee shortly.

Mr. Paul Baumer of the Office of the Secretary then briefed the committee on the major freight provisions of the recently enacted surface transportation legislation, known as MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century). Mr. Baumer emphasized that MAP-21 as written, allows greater flexibility for states to include maritime and port related projects in their transportation plans. One specific example is the provision for states to establish state freight advisory committees and include a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including operators, shippers and ports. Mr. Baumer encouraged the members to add their comments on MAP-21 through a special DOT webpage dedicated to this.

At the conclusion of the presentation, Mr. Tom Simmers recapped the meeting, requested the Shipbuilding Subcommittee to revise its vessel incentives recommendations and forward them to the full committee. The Webinar call was then adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

Next Meeting: May 6, 2014 Washington, D.C.