Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marine Industry Welcomes Federal Budget Investment in Coast Guard, Ports

OTTAWA – March 29 - The Canadian marine shipping industry today welcomed federal budget proposals to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and to provide close to $27.3 million to support the continuing divestiture of regional port facilities.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes allocating $5.3 billion over the next 11 years to buy new Coast Guard vessels and helicopters, as well as repairing and refitting existing vessels.

Ray Johnston, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said: “The Canadian Coast Guard plays an important role in securing the safe and efficient passage of commercial shipping vessels through ice-breaking activities and emergency response programs.”

The federal budget also proposed providing $27.3 million over two years to support the divestiture of regional port authorities and the continued operation and maintenance of federally owned ports.  There are currently 67 Canadian ports operated by Transport Canada still to be divested to local interests.

Johnston said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to help communities take over the management of their ports, which attract investment from manufacturers and other companies that require robust transportation hubs that include cost-efficient marine, rail and trucking options.  These ports drive job creation in communities throughout Canada.”  

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is an Ottawa-based association that represents more than 160 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international shipowners.  The CMC represents the interests of its members by addressing government issues affecting marine transportation. Advocacy extends to both the federal and provincial levels of government and, when appropriate, to U.S. federal and state governments and agencies.   The marine industry is vital to our prosperity by enabling efficient trade within North America and around the world. As a safe, efficient and environmentally smart method of carrying freight, the increased use of marine transportation offers opportunities to alleviate highway congestion, improve utilization of waterway capacity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.