Waterway Supply Chains Need U.S. Investment

Transporting $270 Billion of Our Exports

After five years since the last adoption of the (2007) Water Resources Development Act, congressional committees are beginning to focus on the U.S.’ water resources infrastructure.  The United States maintains 300 commercial ports, 12,000 miles of inland and intra-coastal waterways and about 240 lock chambers, which carry more than $270 billion in U.S. exports and just over half (by value) of U.S. imports.

Panama Traffic to Increase by 163%

Congress must remain focused on our water infrastructure as the U.S. must maintain these systems to remain competitive on a global scale.  For instance, the expansion of the Panama Canal is scheduled to be completed by 2015.  Currently, the number of ships requiring passage through the canal has created bottlenecks that delay shipments by 20-30 hours on average. With rapidly expanding economies in Asia, worldwide shipping traffic passing through the Panama Canal is expected to increase from 313 million tons of goods (2007) to an estimated 510 million tons by 2025.  Nearly 70% of all cargo passing through the Panama Canal was destined to and from the U.S.

Improved Waterways mean 738,000 more jobs

Once expansion of the Canal is complete, the average size of container ships will increase significantly and impact the operations of most major U.S. ports that handle containerized cargo.  This will require needed investment to dredge harbors and channels at marine ports and replace inland waterways lock and dam facilities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), U.S. marine ports and inland waterways will require an investment in the coming decade of at least $30 billion. Such an investment will help protect U.S. economic growth that depends on these water systems including but not limited to:

  • $270 billion in U.S. exports.
  • $697 billion in GDP.
  • 738,000 jobs in 2020.
  • $872 billion in personal income, or $770 per year for households.

Water resources infrastructure provides a good return on investment & creates jobs.

Currently, planned expenditures on waterway infrastructure total about $14 billion; leaving a gap of nearly $16 billion. This comes at a time when Congress and the administration are attempting to find ways to balance needed fiscal austerity and needed investments that will hopefully spur economic growth in the U.S.  Like other types of infrastructure that provides enhanced efficiencies throughout product supply chains, water resources infrastructure provides a good return on investment for the U.S as it helps to keep the U.S. globally competitive and creates jobs. Other benefits include levee safety that offers protection to citizen’s investments throughout the nation by preventing damage from flooding and other natural disasters.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works met on Thursday, November 15, 2012 to examine a draft bill to reauthorize the WRDA of 2012. WRDA authorizes the projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, such as maintaining navigation routes and flood protection. The bill would authorize 18 projects, including flood risk and storm damage reduction, navigation, and ecosystem restoration.  Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Chairs the Committee on environment and Public Works.  Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is the top republican on the Committee.

In 2010 during the 111th Congress, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure reported WRDA to the full House on July 29, 2010, but it was not enacted.

WRDA will be debated during the 113th session of Congress.  If you need quality representation from an entrepreneurial lobbying firm contact Cansler Consulting. We are a certified lobbying practice that is experienced in the multi-faceted and inter-related industries of Agriculture, Food and Drug Safety, Immigration, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our congressional and regulatory relationships established for over two decades we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill and navigate the federal budgeting process. You can contact us at info@canslerconsulting.com or at (202) 220-3150.

Tim Cansler