March Madness …
Here’s a neat summation, issued two years ago, of what we’ve been calling to your attention:
“The DOT and MARAD budgets are extremely short-sighted and lack leadership because their funding schemes have totally eliminated coastwise and inland transportation as viable solutions to U.S. energy and urban congestion problems. Last week, API reported that the national average for gas was $ 3.621 per gallon, up 118.6 percent from its December 2008 low of $ 1.1670. And, last week’s crude oil prices hit a 2011 high of $ 114.93 per barrel on fears of Middle East instability and limited oil and gas production activity in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
“Today, there are 15.5 million trucks on U.S. highways and they log about 432.9 billion miles while consuming 54 billion gallons of fuel each year. Now add an estimated 136 million registered cars and about one million buses to the highway equation and you have a horrific traffic jam of 152.2 million motorized, fuel-burning vehicles bogging down freedom of the highways and polluting the populace.
“America’s natural transportation resources are exceptional. Millions of tons of domestic cargoes could be transported through the renewable marine highways consisting of 95,000 miles of coastline and 25,000 miles of navigable inland waterways and lakes. But, the DOT-MARAD budgets lack forward thinking agendas about this nation’s energy dependence on foreign oil, atmospheric pollution from green-house gases, and urban congestion. Instead of initiating marine highway programs, the administration opted to continue throwing billions of dollars to keep fixing broken roadways and bridges and for less efficient modes of transportation.
“Surely, the government knows that analysts have crunched the numbers showing waterborne transportation to be more fuel-efficient, safer, and less obtrusive on the general population and a viable alternative to trucks and trains. Trains claim to be able to move a ton of freight 435 miles on a single gallon of fuel. But, it takes thousands of gallons to get it moving just 10-feet in its beginning inertia down the track. Trucks, which is the dirtiest form of transportation, are less efficient than marine vessels and are responsible as an industry for increasing emissions by 77 percent over the last decade.
“The maritime industry has been under regulatory scrutiny by the IMO and U.S. Coast Guard and has been compliant with STCW-95 standards in recent years. Now, it is addressing smoke-stack emissions, ballast water treatment investments, and gray water discharge regulations from vessels. The maritime industry is one of the best-trained and most environmentally compliant modes of transportation in the world. While Rome burns, I am disheartened by the lack of leadership and foresight of this government.” –
By: Tony Munoz
The MARITIME EXECUTIVE
March 11, 2011