Steel traders, shippers urge ports spending

Sep 24, 2012 | 12:07 PM | Catherine Ngai

Tags  Harbor Maintenance Tax, steel importers, steel traders, steel shippers, Richard Brazzale, Steven Baker, American Institute for International Steel, Dave Phelps Charles Boustany

NEW YORK — Steel importers are urging Congress to make the nation’s ports and dredging needs a top priority.

Of concern is the Harbor Maintenance Tax, a 0.125-percent federal levy imposed on cargo values to generate funds for dredging maintenance at U.S. ports. Port and shipping interests say that the fund’s estimated $6-billion surplus hasn’t been used as intended.

"This issue doesn’t only affect steel importers but also the domestic steel industry (guy) who (gets) pig iron up the Mississippi River to his facility or coal to his coking facility," David Phelps, president of Falls Church, Va.-based American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), told AMM. "The dredging issue is a serious one, and clearly, if you have silting in a harbor, you’re forced to put fewer products on the barge. ... This adds costs to the....

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