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House Passes Appropriations Bill For Corps, MarAd

Washington, D.C.—The House of Representatives easily passed a six-bill appropriation package that includes fiscal year (FY) 2024 funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Maritime Administration.

Approved by a vote of 339 to 85, the minibus headed to the Senate, which was expected to take it up without delay. It had to be signed into law by March 8 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

According to bill summaries, the Corps would receive $8.681 billion, which is $21 million above the FY 2023 level.

Other key takeaways:

• $456 million for construction projects on the inland waterways system, fully funding ongoing work for FY 2024;

• $2.77 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to improve navigation through dredging ports and maintaining critical waterways;

• roughly $2.2 billion for flood and storm damage reduction activities;

• investigations, $132 million; construction, $1.8 billion; operation and maintenance, $5.6 billion, which is $422 million above the FY 2023 level; and

• up to $440 million to fund a new initiative for dam and levee infrastructure.

The Maritime Administration would receive $940.7 million, including $120 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, $318 million for the Maritime Security Program, $125.8 million to assist state maritime academies and $12 million for a vessel design and construction manager to start the recapitalization of the National Defense Reserve Fleet to support the nation’s strategic sealift operations with American-built ships.

Other programs funded by H.R. 4366, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, include agriculture, commerce, environment, veterans and military construction.

Lawmakers face a March 22 deadline to finish work on the remaining six appropriations bills for FY 2024 to avoid a partial government shutdown.

MarAd Strategic Plan

The Maritime Administration (MarAd) released its five-year strategic plan, outlining key goals to grow the nation’s mariner workforce through recruitment, training and retention through fiscal year 2027.

Directed by Congress, the plan presents options to ensure the U.S. has sufficient credentialed mariners needed to crew both the U.S.-flag fleet of commercial vessels and strategic sealift fleet. It also seeks to help boost safety among the mariner workforce through training, shipboard working environment and cadet safety at sea.

Initiatives cited in the plan include the Centers of Excellence (CoE) program to increase federal support for institutions involved in mariner training and recapitalization of federally owned training ships used by state academies.

The plan can be viewed on MarAd’s website.


The U.S. Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee (MTSNAC) is scheduled to meet March 20–21 in Washington, D.C., to develop advice and recommendations for the Department of Transportation (DOT) on issues related to the marine transportation system, such as ways to boost the use of America’s marine highways, enhance U.S. port infrastructure and performance, strengthen U.S. maritime capabilities essential to national security and economic prosperity and enable maritime industry innovation in information, safety and environmental sustainability.

Open to the public, the meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. EDT on both days at the DOT Conference Center, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590.

The deadline for submitting requests to attend the meeting or written remarks to be delivered during the meeting is 5 p.m. EDT March 15.

Requests for accommodations for a disability must be received by March 18.

For additional information, contact Capt. Jeffrey Flumignan at 347-491-2349 or MTSNAC@dot.gov.

Personnel Advisory Committee

The National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee is scheduled to conduct meetings March 26–27 in Edmonds, Wash., to discuss issues relating to the training, qualifications, certification, documentation and fitness of mariners.

Open to the public, the meetings are set to begin at 9 a.m. PDT on both days at Compass Courses.

Information about that facility can be viewed at https://compasscourses.com.

To ensure comments are received by members before the meeting, submit them by March 18, preferably via www.regulations.gov under docket number USCG-2024-0182.

For additional information on an alternative method of submitting comments and accommodations due to a disability, contact Megan Johns Henry at 202-372-1255 or megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

Demurrage And Detention

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued its final rule governing demurrage and detention billing requirements.

Effective May 28 except for two delayed provisions, the rule requires common carriers and marine terminal operators to include specific minimum information on demurrage and detention invoices, outlines certain detention and demurrage billing practices, such as determination of which parties may appropriately be billed for demurrage or detention charges, and sets timeframes for issuing invoices, disputing charges with the billing party and resolving such disputes.

The effective date for the two delayed amendments, instruction 2 adding §541.6, and instruction 3 adding §541.99, is to be announced later in the Federal Register by the FMC.

Background documents and comments received can be viewed at www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FMC–2022–0066.

For additional information, contact David Eng at 202-523-5725 or secretary@fmc.gov.

Workforce Training

The Maritime Administration announced the designation of 32 Centers of Excellence (COE) for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education.

COEs consist of 50 maritime training locations across 17 states and Guam to prepare students for careers in the maritime industry.

“Our country depends on a highly skilled mariner workforce to strengthen both our economy and our national security,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The 32 Centers of Excellence we’re designating today will promote training opportunities outside of traditional four-year degree programs and will bring more Americans into these great maritime careers.”

For additional information and a full list of designees, visit the COE website at www.maritime.dot.gov/education/maritime-centers-excellence.