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Maritime Law--Reported Port of Miami Improvements Coming Our Way

There are some recent reports that keep those of us dependent on the Port of Miami's ("POM") success happy. The first report comes courtesy of the Maritime Executive, which confirms that POM has been working hard to bring back transshipment to Miami, in concert with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"). The second report comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration  ("MARAD"), which today released a study on shipping patterns, which identifies POM as a "major U.S. port" targeted for modernization and with that, federal dollars to be allocated for infrastructure projects. 
First Report
Prior to 9-11, transshipment made up over 22% of the cargo trade at Port Miami. However due to CBP’s increased inspections of transshipment goods in our post 9-11 world, those transshipment cargoes are going through Panama, Freeport, and Kingston. resulting in cargo delays and added expenses.  A specific example of the resulting cargo delays and added expense in these inspections is CBP’s intensive examination of goods checking for intellectual property rights violations, and seizing goods that are non-compliant, when alternative ports are not as proactive.  CBP confirmed that after 9-11, almost all transshipment cargo was inspected, now, CBP is down to under 5%.

POM Director Bill Johnson asked the CBP to develop a pilot program, “with a transshipment inspection protocol pilot for Port Miami.” CBP leaders are reportedly active on this new transshipment committee. CBP has assigned a “Customer Service Manager” Robert Martin, Chief of ATCET will take on this role. Terminal operators will have direct contact with Chief Martin to discuss delays and help facilitate the flow of legitimate cargo.

The terminals will provide CBP a list of all in transit merchandise, in advance, and CBP promised to coordinate the expediting review of in transit merchandise (as CBP does for perishable goods).  CBP will also coordinate physical exam efforts to assure goods are examined and released expeditiously so the goods can make their next sailing.
Second Report
MARAD today released a study on shipping patterns and industry costs that will help the United States prepare for the anticipated impact on its ports, waterways and intermodal freight systems from the Panama Canal expansion. The expansion of the Panama Canal, scheduled for completion in 2015, will give much larger vessels greater access to the U.S. ports on the East and Gulf coasts.
The study, which can be found here The Panama Canal Expansion Study, is the first of a two-part study which found that the integration of Post-Panamax vessels into U.S. trade lanes will have substantial implications for the nation’s shippers, ports and surface freight corridors, particularly along the East Coast, Gulf Coast and inland states located east of the Mississippi River. In addition, more cost-effective service generated by the larger vessels could improve the ability of some U.S. exports, like grain, coal, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas, to compete in global markets. In addition, the report noted that shifts in shipping patterns impacting the national transportation system will occur slowly and over time.
The MARAD press release itemized some of the anticipated infrastructure development needs and confirmed that the U.S. has expedited seven infrastructure projects to help modernize and expand five major U.S. ports, including the Port of Jacksonville, the Port of Miami, the Port of Savannah, the Port of New York and New Jersey and the Port of Charleston. The Panama Canal Expansion Study can be found at the following link:

If you are interested in receiving either the Maritime Executive report or the MARAD press release, please do not hesitate to contact me at


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