Page 6: of Marine News Magazine (May 2019)

Inland Waterways

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EDITOR’S NOTE s we fast approach midyear 2019, it is time for our annual Inland Waterways edition.

Indeed, much of the emerging news foretell better times ahead for inland operators and their customers. That reality is balanced by the fact that there is plenty left to accom-

A plish, and still more in the way of obstacles that could run even the best laid plans aground.

Inland waterway stakeholders can be happy with what has transpired over the past 12 months.

At the same time, it wouldn’t take much to alter that benchmark.

First, the good news: As we went to press, the U.S. Maritime Administration announced $6.7 million in grants for Marine Highway Projects throughout the United States. Projects receiving funding include shortsea shipping guru Bob Kunkel’s Harbor Harvest Long Island Sound Ser- vice, the nascent Baton Rouge-New Orleans ‘Container on Barge’ Service, and the James River keefe@marinelink.com

Expansion Project. All three projects promote the development of shortsea shipping, leverage

U.S. ? ag assets, clean up the environment and ? nally, promise to remove thousands of trucks from our congested highways. What’s not to like? This is what Marad SHOULD be doing.

The Marad grants are critical for the effort to jumpstart these important efforts, but none of that is possible without infrastructure, especially in way of locks, dams and inland waterways dredging. We hit a home run, of course, with last year’s completion of the Olmsted project, and that milestone achievement is already yielding fruit. Inside this edition, however, the challenges of channeling the necessary help to get – and keep – waterways and infrastructure in good condition are addressed by MarineNews contributor and IRPT board member Jim Kearns and

AIWA Executive Director Brad Pickel. Both highlight the need to change the way we allocate funding for waterway improvements.

I am preaching the choir when I talk about the importance of inland waterways to the nation’s wellbeing, or at least I should be. But, if that concept is a dif? cult one to grasp, then the adage of ‘a picture is worth a thousands words’ is the perfect descriptor for Tom Ewing’s summation of a

WCI presentation given by Canal Barge Company’s Mike Little in the autumn of 2018. Little asked, “What’s moving on your waterways?” You might be surprised. Turn to page 36 to ? nd out.

I could talk about a dozen other features buried in this edition, but I will ? nish instead with a word of caution for inland stakeholders who still think that the seemingly ‘far away’ discussions about Jones Act waivers and relief are just a blue water issue. Today, two points of attack are in play; the tired refrain from Puerto Rico advocates, and now, an all-out assault from energy interests who hope to broaden Jones Act waivers for tanker shipments between U.S. ports.

There’s just no such thing as being ‘a little bit pregnant.’ If you need further convincing, then just imagine those project cargoes shown on page 38 coming up river with an unvetted foreign mariner at the helm.

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Joseph Keefe, Editor, keefe@marinelink.com

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May 2019 6 MN

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.