• ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American ShipperShipping

Congress pushes to strengthen Great Lakes shipping

The Office of Management and Budget approved of $1.35 million in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a cost-benefit study for a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

   The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved of $1.35 million in funding last week for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a cost-benefit study for a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
   The Soo Locks Complex is comprised of four locks, however the Poe Lock, which is the only lock capable of handling 1,000-foot vessels, and the MacArthur Lock, are the only two that are actively used. The Davis Lock is only utilized by Soo Area Office vessels when necessary and the Sabin Lock was permanently decommissioned in 2010, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District’s website.
   Senators Debbie Stabenow, D.-Mich., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., called on OMB Director Shaun Donovan in June to approve the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ request to help replace the Davis and Sabin Locks with a lock similar in size to the Poe Lock.
   “The Soo Locks are the busiest in the United States, transporting nearly 80 million tons of goods and raw materials every year that supply Michigan’s agricultural, mining and manufacturing industries,” Sen. Peters said.
   “A failure of the aging locks causing even a temporary outage could cost our economy millions of dollars-a cost we cannot afford,” said Sen. Stabenow said.
   The study will commence in December and will take approximately two years, House Rep. Rick Nolan, D.-Minn., who also pressed the OMB to approve the funding, said in a statement.
   “An unanticipated shutdown of the locks would be crippling to the economy, not just here in Michigan, but across the country,” added Rep. Dan Benishek, R.-Mich.
   Over the summer, the MacArthur Lock was taken out of operation from July 29 though Aug. 17 due to mechanical issues. On Aug. 17, 103 ships were delayed a total of 166 hours at the locks as a result of this closure, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District said. Shipping companies experienced additional delays as they slowed down in the system or were holding back at dock facilities to minimize wait time at the Soo Locks Complex.
   Meanwhile, Sens. Stabenow and Peters sent a separate letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security last week in which they called for robust funding in the fiscal year 2016 appropriations legislation for a new U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes. 
   “Heavy ice cover disrupts shipping and commerce on the Great Lakes, resulting in a severe loss of economic activity, revenue and jobs that depresses both the regional and national economy,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “This past winter resulted in an estimated decrease in cargo of 3.2 million tons, costing the economy $355 million in lost revenue and nearly 2,000 jobs.”
   This letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin, D.-Wis.; Amy Klobuchar, D.-Minn.; Al Franken, D.-Minn.; Bob Casey, D.-Pa.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; and Sherrod Brown, D.-Ohio.
   The U.S. Coast Guard currently operates one heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes, the 240-foot USCGC Mackinaw. In addition, the Coast Guard operates six, 140-foot Bay-class icebreakers on the Great Lakes with medium icebreaking capabilities; and two, 225-foot Juniper-Class buoy tenders on the Great Lakes with light icebreaking capabilities.

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