The St. Lawrence Seaway's 2013 navigation season is getting off to a bit of a slow start as compared to last year at the same time as the international waterway posted declines in tonnage for every major cargo category except liquid bulk.
Overall combined cargo tonnage moved through the System by April 30 declined by 17.28 percent compared to 2012. When put up against last year's April 30 totals, dry bulk cargo tonnage and coal tonnage moving through the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway dropped by 35.84 and 34.21 percent respectively.
Cargo tonnages for iron ore (-17.15 percent) and general cargo, (-13.3 percent) also fell substantially this April compared to last year at the same time.
Combined U.S. and Canadian grain export tonnages were also slightly donw compared to last year, posting a -1.43 percent decline.
The lone bright spot in the April tonnage report was liquid bulk cargo tonnage which was 34.24 greater than it was in April of 2012.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, chaired by Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), will hold a roundtable meeting on today to examine what efforts the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers have made to coordinate freight transportation policy, and what challenges exist for greater coordination amongst federal departments and agencies.
The roundtable policy discussion on “Coordinating Federal Efforts to Improve Freight Transportation” is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. in room 2253 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy will join members of the freight panel for Wednesday’s discussion.
Committee rules allow the chairman to designate special panels to inquire into any matter within the Committee’s jurisdiction. The Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, which held its first hearing on April 24, is tasked with making recommendations to the Committee for improving U.S. freight transportation, which may then be considered for future legislation.
Yesterday the Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration, David Matsuda, announced his resignation. Matsuda will be replaced, on an acting basis, by Deputy Administrator Chip Jaenichen.
In his three years as the Obama administration's Maritime Administrator Matsuda had an often fractious relationship with U.S. maritime labor. In fact, in November of 2011 maritime labor organizations including the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MMP); the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA); the Seafarers International Union (SIU) and the American Maritime Officers (AMO) called for Matsuda's resignation.
Matsuda, a former congressional staffer, plans to leave his current post at the end of May. He made no mention of his future plans in his resignation announcement.