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HANSA 03-2017

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Häfen | Ports Photo: AAPA Kurt Nagle, CEO American Association of Port Authorities »AAPA favors reciprocal international trade liberalization on a fair and equitable basis, supports new trade legislation which is consistent with US international obligations and has the effect of strengthening the President’s ability to expand US exports rather than creating new US import restrictions.« licy.« The association has clear ideas which set screws are urgently needed. According to Nagle, AAPA is hopeful that the Trump Administration’s pledge to invest 1 tn $ into the nation’s infrastructure over the next decade will result in improved transportation infrastructure in and around America’s seaports. In a recently published paper, AAPA took position on the potential of policies intended to focus on local industries. The association said to favor »reciprocal international trade liberalization on a fair and equitable basis, supports new trade legislation which is consistent with US international obligations and has the effect of strengthening the President’s ability to expand US exports rather than creating new US import restrictions.« In addition, AAPA favors continued US participation in comprehensive negotiations to expand trade in goods and services on a fair and equitable basis. It encouraged consideration of the economic and employment impact on seaports prior to imposing trade sanctions on imports from other nations. AAPA-CEO Kurt Nagle emphasizes that freight connections to US ports are falling behind 21st century needs. On the landside »first and last mile« connectors like roads, railways, bridges and tunnels serve as vital links. But one-third of AAPA member ports say congestion at landside connectors has caused productivity to decline by 25% or more over the past ten years. Nearly 80% of ports in the US require at least 10 mill. $ investment in their landside connectors through 2025; 31% require over 100 mill. $. According to the association, ports and their private sector partners are already contributing their share, and will invest more than 155 bn $ in modernization of infrastructure over the next five years. Yet, only 1.1 bn $ of 11 bn $ in freight infrastructure funding from the US Department of Transportation is eligible for multi-modal projects. On the waterside the APAA criticizes that, while the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) raises over 1.7 bn $ per year, chronic underspending has resulted in a surplus of more than 9 bn $ in the HMT Trust Fund – »at a time when critical maintenance needs and tax equity are not being addressed.« According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, failure to invest in the nation’s infrastructure could add 14 bn $ to the cost of traded products by 2040 due to shallow harbors and lead to a 9.3 bn $ trade loss from the use of undersized vessels in shallow harbors and narrow channels by 2020. »By 2037, the US will export more than 52 mill. shipping containers through US seaports each year,« Nagle says. Therefore, AAPA urges Congress and the new administration to support infrastructure policies that include robust freight transportation provisions and sustainable funding for the nation’s seaports. Recommended action for federal policy makers include landside investments to eliminate transportation bottlenecks as well as multimodal freight investments which are called »a key priority«. In addition, the association calls for action to modernize and maintain federal navigation channels through waterside investments. The ports argue in a similar way. With a view to extended Panama Canal, they not only had their systems and fairways developed, but had also opted for modernization in the supposed certainty that free trade would not be touched. HANSA has asked some US locations about their expectations and plans. Not everyone wanted to answer. Those who did, emphasized above all the opportunities that could arise through the announcements of the new government. Criticism is expressed only indirectly or very cautiously. »Ground Zero« at the West Coast The West Coast hub Long Beach, despite a 5.8% decline in container throughput in 2016 (to 6.78 mill. TEU), is quite confident to be well prepared for the future. Interim CEO Duane Kenagy tells HANSA, that the main 82 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 3

Häfen | Ports »Ports & private partners are already doing their share While the Harbor Maintenance Tax raises over 1.7 bn $ per year, chronic underspending has resulted in a surplus of 9 bn $ in the HMT Trust Fund« reason for the downturn was the bankruptcy of Korean liner giant Hanjin. »Long Beach was ground zero in the US for that. Hanjin accounted for 12.3% of the Port’s total containerized volume in 2015 and the company was the majority shareholder at our largest terminal.« However, a few months after the bankruptcy, the port arranged a deal with MSC’s subsidiary Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) to take over Hanjin’s terminal stake. Now, Kenagy is »looking forward to a productive relationship with MSC and its 2M Alliance partners.« The port’s CCO Noel Hacegaba expects that, after the new container alliances start in April, »effciency will be the name of the game as carriers look for ports and terminals that will deliver the smoothest flow of cargo for the lowest cost. »We expect ocean carriers to regularly deploy 14,000 TEU ships before long, and our competitors on the East Coast either don’t have the infrastructure to service vessels of that size or the experience to effciently handle them,« he says. To cope with the coming tasks, Long Beach has set up a 1 bn $ rail infrastructure program. »This year, we’ve proposed an 820 mill. $ project to increase our ondock rail capacity and effciency,« Kenagy says. Regarding potential changes in US trade policies, the CEO is »looking forward to working with the new administration to support investments to infrastructure, to increase exports and to work together to further improve security at ports. We’ll definitely monitor the issues and stay engaged on policies of interest to the port industry as they take shape. We expect to continue to experience growth, albeit modest growth, this year.« A new overall record for the West Coast was set by Los Angeles. The port reported a throughput of 8.857 mill. TEU for 2016, a growth of 8.5%, and moved »more cargo than any port in the Western Hemisphere has ever moved.« Asked about the expectation in respect of the new government, the port’s Executive Director, Gene Seroka, states that it is a »non-partisan agency and we don’t speculate on politics or policy. That said, we look forward to working with leaders from the federal, state, regional and local levels to promote trade and commerce through the Port of Los Angeles.« The port aims to continue to focus on capabilities building in three key areas: »We will focus on process management and on technology in the form of the GE Transportation Pilot project, as well as our collective efforts to bring 13 container terminals in San Pedro Bay onto one or two data platforms.« Another focus point is the strategic use of land. The port is looking at repurposing an 80 acre former coal facility and developing it into a peel-off yard and a parking area for trucks. A huge growth plan worth 600 mill. $ was recently initiated in the Californian port of Oakland. By investing in new facilities and better infrastructure with private and public partners, the objective is to attract more containerized cargo and to eliminate bottlenecks in the port. In then northwesternmost region, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma reported a slight increase of 2% in overall container throughput. 3.62 mill. TEU were handled in 2016. Full imports were up 6% to 1.39mill. TEU and full exports increased 13% to 984,000 TEU. However, the »Northwest Seaport Alliance« did not respond to questions on future strategies or expectations regarding new national trade policies. East Coast On the East Coast the port of New York/ New Jersey explains to HANSA, »the new administration appears to favor bi-lateral trade agreements as opposed to regional or multi-lateral trade agreements but we do not anticipate that to have a significant impact.« HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 3 83

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