PORTS, SHIPPERS, CARRIERS DECRY ADMINISTRATION’S HARBOR SERVICES FUND
The U.S. port industry, ocean carriers, rail carriers and shippers vocally opposed the Clinton Administration’s inclusion of a tax on vessels calling at U.S. ports which would be used to pay for port dredging projects and harbor maintenance projects.
The Administration’s proposal again surfaced in the fiscal year 2001 budget request to fund programs of the U.S. Army Crops of Engineers.
The Harbor Services Fund would serve as a replacement of the Harbor Maintenance Tax on exports, which was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1998.
If implemented, the fees would cost vessel operators almost $1 billion per year, opponents of the Administration’s plan said.
Organizations opposed to the proposed fees include the American Association of Port Authorities, the Chamber of Shipping of America, the Agriculture Ocean Transportation Coalition, the Transportation Institute, the National Mining Association, a large group of ocean carriers, the American Waterways Operators, the Association of American Railroads, the National Waterways Conference and Intertanko.
The European Union is also opposed to the proposed fees, on grounds that they would constitute an unfair trade practice.
Opponents of the fees support legislation that would provide funding for port projects from the U.S. Treasury.