Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Maritime Administration’s U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet Revitalization Study.

From the 12/29 Federal Register:

There will be three public listening session meetings that are being held to gather data and comments to inform the Maritime Administration’s U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet Revitalization Study. The U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet Revitalization Study will examine the current and potential future role of Great Lakes shipping in supporting the region’s economy and as an important component of the greater U.S. Marine Highway system serving the Nation at large. It will also be used to assess the impact of new environmental regulations on the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet. Of particular interest is the likely impact of the EPA’s final emission standards for new marine diesel ‘‘Category 3’’ engines that goes into effect in January 2012. This study calls for the identification and evaluation of options to recapitalize U.S. vessels and port infrastructure on the Great Lakes, using private and public sector investments, to generate the greatest net benefits for the region and the Nation.

This Maritime Administration study will be a two-phase effort to estimate the costs and options for complying with the new environmental regulations. The first phase will be a data gathering effort. An inventory of current vessel and port assets will be developed. That inventory will be used to determine if the Maritime Administration can assist the U.S. Flag Great Lakes vessel operators in complying with the new regulations.

During the second phase of the study, the Maritime Administration will examine a mix of private and public sector financing options that could be used for vessel or port alterations necessitated by the new environmental regulations. This analysis will be used in developing strategies for how the Maritime Administration might assist the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet and ports in making those changes. The Maritime Administration will use the study’s findings to develop strategies to promote the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet and Ports. Stakeholder input is an essential part of the strategy development process, so the study plan includes three stakeholder listening sessions where the important issues raised by the study will be discussed. Topics of discussion include the new EPA environmental regulations such as the Control of Emissions from Category 3 Marine Engines and their impact on Great Lakes vessel operators, the state of the Great Lakes shipping markets, and issues facing vessel operators and port operators.

The three sessions will be held in Duluth, Cleveland, and Chicago. The Cleveland, Ohio, meeting will take place on February 15, 2011, from 8a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time. The meeting will be held at Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, 420 East Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114.Persons interested in attending the meeting should register by February 4, 2011. Registration: The meetings are open to the public. Advanced registration is recommended. To register, interested parties should send their name, group affiliation, and which of the three meetings they will attend to
The meeting agenda will be sent to registered participants.

The Cleveland session is to be held the day before the annual Great Lakes Waterways Conference/Marine Community Days, at the same location. The website for the Waterways Conference is

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