Welcome to the USGLSA Website
Welcome to the web site of the United States Great Lakes Shipping Association. I hope you will find this to be a source of information about our organization as well as have it serve as a useful informational tool for our membership and other interested parties.
Comments from the Executive Director
Beginning Third Quarter, 2014
Lakes Seaway Navigaiton Season Opening
Especially for those who had to endure it directly, the beginning of the 2014 Navigation Season was off to a punishing, wintery start with ice conditions severely hampering the Seaway System, locks, rivers and Lakes transits Despite these conditions, however, the U. S. and Canadian Coast Guard performed continuous and determined service, providing the fleets with ice breaking power, regional conditions assessments, and assistance in organization and dispatch of cross Lake convoys; generally assisting in all aspects of operations to help assure safe transits notwithstanding the challenging conditions. High marks and many thanks for their presence when it counted.
Regrettably, there were instances of significant delays experienced especially by international flag vessels detained in holding positions due in part to line ups at destination/loading ports to the North, but also due to shortages of pilots in the right places at the right times, particularly in District 3. In many ways, it was a sort of “perfect storm” combination of number of vessels, distances to dispatch pilots, shore side congestion at loading ports and sheer lack of a sufficient number of pilots that all contributed to these very costly and frustration delays. USGLSA as well as The Shipping Federation of Canada and other affected stakeholders have communicated with the USCG Pilotage Office seeking action to help assure that these kinds of circumstances do not occur at least to the extent they did in 2014. While 2014 was difficult, it was not something we have not seen before, and USGLSA intends, through the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and participating with other industry initiatives with Coast Guard to promote better contingency planning such that spring break out will not be so difficult going forward.
WRRDA – A Legislative Highlight
In June, President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA). This is the first comprehensive water resources act approved by Congress in about 7years. It wasn’t easy and as it was followed here, made one even more convinced that making sausage is indeed simpler. The Act addresses a myriad issues including those relating to our Great Lakes industries such as dredging, the Harbor Maintenance Tax and Trust Fund, and other allocations of funding. Bottom line, the Lakes held their own in defending their turf in the fight for funding, especially as to current and future dredging at major ports, but not touching existing backlogs. Funds held in the Harbor Maintenance Tax Trust Fund were not all designated for release which would have solved dredging problems for just about everyone, except that then Congress would have had to find the money.
Antitrust Policy and Guidelines
As what I hope will be an interesting and constructive piece of information for all, I have posted in our “Position Papers and Programs” Section of this web site a piece first put together professionally for USGLSA a few years ago and which now has been updated. It is not intended to be legal advice to be relied upon by readers, but rather to outline USGLSA policy and define ourselves for what we are and strive to be. It contains common sense and legal guidelines we seek to follow. While not intended here, it also could provide a model or concept to be considered as part of any organization’s set of values as it seeks to conduct business properly in light of this often somewhat confusing subject area. Professional advice is always best when developing your own specific set of policies and guidelines.
Mr. Theis, who has served as Executive Director since April 2007, is an attorney and businessman with prior associations at Cleveland, Ohio based M. A. Hanna Company and Oglebay Norton Company. At Hanna, he held a variety of legal/operational positions including Corporate Vice President with responsibilities for Hanna's Great Lakes/St Lawrence Seaway and Ocean Marine vessel and dock operations in the U. S. and Canada. While at Oglebay Norton, Mr. Theis served as President of the Company's Great Lakes fleet and dock operations. Mr. Theis is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and serves as a member on two U. S. Coast Guard Advisory Committees, the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee.