Opening of the New Panama Locks May be Delayed
On April 4, the Journal of Commerce reported that the opening of the newly constructed set of locks at the Panama Canal scheduled for October 2014 could be postponed for 3 months. The delay is due to the inability of the construction consortium to meet the concrete mix requirements for the new locks as specified in the contract. To accomplish the minimum requirement of the 100-year life span for the concrete, the laying had to be delayed from January until July of last year, with an outside expert brought in to aid the construction. The consortium sets April 2015 as the new deadline for completion of all the work required by the contract. However, the locks will be ready for a trial run by a vessel as early as December 2014. The pre-commissioning tests of the locks will begin in February 2014.
WAVE4 Bill Introduced to Improve Inland Navigation Infrastructure
On March 30, U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, and Representative Jerry Costello (IL), a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, filed the Waterways Are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment Act of 2012 (WAVE4 Act). The intent of this legislation is to achieve comprehensive long-term inland waterway system modernization based on the collaborative recommendations of a team of inland navigation industry representatives and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) inland navigation experts. The legislation would establish a multifaceted comprehensive reform effort to deliver Corps navigation improvement capital investments on time and on budget. The legislation requires, among other things, the use of objective criteria for the prioritization of essential construction and major rehabilitation projects, revises current beneficiaries’ cost sharing for these projects, reforms the Corps internal project delivery process, protects commercial users who cost-share these projects from unreasonable cost escalation and delay, and provides enhanced user fee revenue to pay for these vital infrastructure investments.
A New Ethanol Unit-Train Facility Planned for the Atlanta, GA, Region
On April 9, Eco-Energy, an ethanol marketing company, announced it is developing a new ethanol unit train and storage facility in conjunction with the Cartersville-Bartow County, GA, Department of Economic Development. The ethanol unit train terminal will be capable of distributing over 400,000 barrels (16.8 million gallons) per month through the use of its automated loading system, and will offer 24/7 product access to its terminal customers. The facility will be equipped to receive up to 96-railcar unit trains via the CSX railroad and will have approximately 200,000 barrels (8.4 million gallons) of ethanol tank storage. Operations are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2013. In 2010, Georgia represented 3.5 percent of total U.S. gasoline consumption, according to the latest data available from the Energy Information Administration.