Digital Edition

Mar. 17, 2014

Issue link: https://jocdigital.uberflip.com/i/336107

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 16 of 63

GOVERNMENT WATCH www.joc.com THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 17 By Mark Szakonyi that the ATA plans to release a study by the end of the year on how larger trailers would affect productivity. Plenty of powerful transportation pro- viders and carriers support the increased trailer sizes. FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith and UPS CEO David Abney, for example, urged Congress in April 2013 to expand the trailer size from the current 28-foot limit to 33 feet. The increased trailer size would allow the two parcel giants to handle more goods, particularly lightweight items, but the change wouldn't cause any more wear and tear to the highways, the two executives say. Increasing pup trailer sizes to 33 feet is one of the six options the Department of Transportation is studying in terms of potential impact on highway safety, pavement a nd bridge inf rastr uct ure, enforcement efforts and modal shifts. Researchers are studying the effects of cur- rent weight limits allowing five-axle trucks to haul up to 80,000 pounds on interstate highways and the potential effects of allow- ing a five-axle truck with a weight limit of 88,700 pounds and a six-axle truck hauling up to 97,000 pounds. The study, mandated by MAP-21, is scheduled for completion by the end of September. Larger trailer sizes will require inde- pendent drivers to take on new equipment costs to stay competitive, and drivers "aren't going to get paid a dime more for moving (the larger) load," said Ryan Bowley, director of government affairs at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. He said proponents and opponents of larger and heavier trucks will find elements in the study to back up their stances, suggesting the report will only fuel the debate, not end it. "The people who are opposed are still going to be opposed; the people in favor will still be in favor," Graves said. "But if you're a member of Congress and you're not hard in one camp or the other, it can be the kind of information that at least helps you make a more-informed decision." JOC Contact Mark Szakonyi at mszakonyi@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @Szakonyi_JOC. Acting U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen sat down with JOC Senior Editor Mark Szakonyi last month to discuss how the agency could help the U.S. Merchant Marine s u r v ive — an d e ve n thrive. U.S.-flag carriers in international markets are "at a tipping point," Jaenichen said in Janu- ary, and the creation and implementation of a National Maritime Strategy is key to make the Merchant Marine sail ahead. MARK SZAKONYI: You told the House Coast Gua rd a nd Ma rit ime Tra nspor tat ion subcommittee that the Maritime Admin- istration was rewriting cargo preference rules. What's the status on rewriting those rules that could better ensure U.S.-flag car- riers get the government cargo that is due them? PAUL JAENICHEN: Two things. First, the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act gave us authority to essentially enforce the cargo preference rules. The rule-making is in prog- ress. We'll very closely follow the statute. As we were working with the agencies that cargo preference potentially applied to, there were some differences of opinion in terms of how it should be adjudicated. We have identified what those things are. And as we go through this next rule-making pro- cess, we understand what those particular red lines are and we'll work to resolve them. At least we have some plans to be able to do that. But the bottom line is the rule-making is in progress; we're working on it very aggressively. It's one of the primary focuses for both the Maritime Administration and the department. We're working closely with (Office of the Secretary of Transportation) counsel. We've already met with (Office of Management of Budget), (Office of Informa- tion and Regulatory Affairs) and so we're making good progress. SZAKONYI: What's the next step? JAENICHEN: To get it reviewed by the inter- agency. SZAKONYI: What are the major agencies that take part in that? JAENICHEN: Any agency affected by cargo preference potentially has an opportunity to review in terms of how it would apply to them. SZAKONYI: Please take me through how a National Maritime Strategy would be cre- ated and implemented. JAENICHEN: The strategy itself, I think, in terms of what the country needs as a mari- time nation, as a National Maritime Strategy, that's actually the easy part. The harder part is the implementation plan. And that's where some of the challenges are. And so we're actually in the process. The National Mari- time Strategy Symposium in January was a start. We identified a number of things. We did a lot of work before that. We brought in more than 200 stakeholders to be able to talk about some of the issues that validated some of the things that we identified. They brought up some additional ones. And now we're in the process of engaging other stakeholders at conferences, at seminars. We are going to put together a second symposium that focuses on the domestic part of it. The first one focused primarily on the U.S.-flag ships operating in international trade, which is where our biggest challenges are right now, given that less than 2 percent FIRST UP: CARGO Marad's Paul Jaenichen discusses what he sees as critical to breathe new life into the U.S. Merchant Marine

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - Mar. 17, 2014