According to the news portal PortStrategy.com, new legislation is being considered to strengthen American ports to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s export economy.
The Maritime Goods Movement Act for the 21st Century has been proposed by U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell in order to ensure there are enough funds to keep both large and small ports in operating condition.
Currently, the Harbor Maintenance Tax, which funds the operation and maintenance of US ports, is not being fully collected. Shippers can avoid paying the tax by shipping goods through other ports in Canada and Mexico and then transporting the goods into the US via truck and rail.
The proposed legislation would replace the Harbor Maintenance Tax with the Maritime Goods Movement User Fee, the proceeds of which would be fully available to Congress to provide for port operation and maintenance. This would double the amount of funds available and also ensure that shippers cannot avoid the fee by using ports in Canada and Mexico.
The act would also set up a competitive grant program using a percentage of the collected fees to improve the US intermodal transportation system so goods can be exported more efficiently.
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