Regulation & Policy

It has become increasingly unlikely that the Export-Import Bank, the official export credit agency in the United States, will survive the 114th U.S. Congress.

When a routine maintenance dredging project at two key navigation spots on the Snake River in America’s Pacific Northwest finished in February, it was a welcome sign for commercial users of the waterway, part of the Columbia River system. But mixed messages from Washington on funding for other projects have shippers and transportation providers uneasy.

The two-month extension of legislation authorizing the Highway Trust Fund to continue supporting infrastructure projects across the country is a patch, not a fix, to much-needed highway and transit development, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

A long-awaited Pacific trade deal between the U.S. and other Pacific Ring nations cleared another hurdle Friday evening. In a 61-38 vote, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to renew trade promotion authority for the country’s president.

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would set national standards for shippers and third parties contracting or hiring trucking companies, complementing legislation in the House. Shippers and brokers want clarity, especially in courtrooms where they face negligent hiring claims.

The U.S. Congress moved closer to hitting port funding goals set last year after a Senate committee this week passed a bill that would send $1.25 billion to ports in fiscal 2016.

road work
The U.S. Senate now has just more than a day to extend funding for the Highway Trust Fund before the money that maintains America’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure runs out.

Port of New York and New Jersey, Maher Terminals
Demurrage and per-diem detention fees at gridlocked U.S. ports have turned into a multimillion-dollar hot potato. Cargo interests, truckers, ocean carriers and marine terminals are locked in noisy, seemingly nonstop argument over responsibility for the fees. It’s a complex problem with no easy solution — but plenty of finger-pointing.

Marine terminal operators, warehouses and truck facilities in California could be called upon to manage harmful emissions under the California Air Resources Board’s proposed Sustainable Freight Plan, according to a shipping industry representative.

A former U.S. Labor Department chief economist is advocating placing unionized port labor under the Railway Labor Act to prevent showdowns with management such as the recent one that nearly crippled West Coast ports.