The continued rise in import container volumes will place tremendous pressure on an already strained transportation infrastructure, said Raymond. “It is no longer a question of if our nation’s transport infrastructure will start to fail, but when,” he continued.
Short sea shipping services can move cargo from congested ports to ready ports with available capacity, he explained. Instead of allowing highway and rail congestion to slow economic growth and harm the environment in the United States, short sea shipping can bring economic growth to new areas, he added. This would add thousands of well-paid trade-related jobs to communities hungry for growth while at the same time protecting the environment.
Lawmakers and agencies must address regulatory issues this year to allow that to happen, said Raymond. In the short term, he pointed to adjustments to the Harbor Maintenance Tax that would allow companies to start testing the short sea market. Longer term, he said Title XI and Capital Construction Fund rules will have to be changed to encourage vessel and infrastructure investment.