HR 6, the new energy bill became law on Dec. 19th, and calls on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to “designate short sea transportation projects to be conducted under the program to mitigate landside congestion” by encouraging the development and expansion of vessels, terminals, shipper utilization and “marine transportation strategies by state and local governments.” Supporters acknowledge that Congress has recognized [finally] that, by offering long haul marine highway options for moving goods between U.S. ports, marine transportation makes the most efficient use of fuel and reduces highway congestion and the likelihood of air pollution.

In a major change, the bill makes it possible for companies to use Capital Construction Funds (CCF) to build container ships operating between contiguous states or any Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway ports. The CCF program allows companies to defer federal income taxes and deposit money or other property into an account to build, reconstruct or acquire vessels.

In days to come the spotlight now being cast upon HR 6 will shine even more brightly upon our patented container ship design. Container ships nowadays must contend with a costly and time-consuming shortcoming, which will become a detriment to short sea operations.
More often than not, containers to be delivered are stacked beneath other containers which must first be offloaded in order to retrieve targeted containers. Once the targeted containers are retrieved and offloaded, the disturbed containers must then be hoisted aboard ship again. This standard procedure costs time and money, and those unavoidable expenditures could be the downfall of short sea shipping. We’ve patented a better way in every country with shipbuilding capabilities, and today’s container ships lack the flexibility afforded by our revolutionary design.

Our U.S. Patent Numbers, by the way, are 5,860,783 and 6,077,019, and we discussed the merits of this design, although briefly, in our Vol. V, Art. 14 commentary. The complete abstract can be seen on the U.S. Patent Office website, but here’s what we stated in that earlier commentary:

“In addition to our ability to provide high density storage, retrieval and delivery systems to container yards, our firm owns the patent rights to a cost-effective shipboard storage and retrieval system for containers. This system, providing instant retrieval for any single container within the ship, can be installed in obsolete cargo ships, in existing container ships, and in container ships now under construction or in the planning stages. Because current designs do not permit convenient, systematic and instantaneous retrieval of shipboard containers, most of the world’s ports will be unable to reach their full potential in the coming growth years. By relying on this less costly design of container ships, however, feeder links, niche trades and shuttles can be reestablished. New trade routes would be inaugurated as a result, and ports previously unserviced would be accessible.

“This revolutionary, and cheap, design will cater to everyone’s whims. It would cover all bases.”

[And it’s tailor-made for short sea shipping operations.]