CMTS Speaker Series

Panama Canal Expansion: A Moment for Engineering (October 12, 2016)

Ms. Ilya Espino de Marotta, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Administration for the Panama Canal Authority, spoke on the great engineering feats that have made the recent expansion of the Panama Canal possible. The Panama Canal is an integral component of the global marine transportation system; it serves as a hub linking 1700 ports in 160 different countries. The opening of the newly expanded Panama Canal in 2016 allows vessels with a capacity of up to 13,000 TEUs to transit the Canal, almost a threefold increase from before.

The engineering behind the expansion of the Panama Canal is awe-inspiring. The expansion required a combination of navigation projects, including the dredging of 17.6 million cubic meters of material to deepen and widen the Atlantic Entrance to the Canal and the design and construction of locks and dams along the route. In conjunction with the technical components, environmental and community programs increased the efficiency of the Canal system and improved the surrounding ecosystems.

To better understand the process behind the expansion, see a copy of Ms. Marotta’s presentation.

Tribal Relations in Alaska (August 4, 2016)

There are 229 tribes in Alaska; all are considered “coastal” tribes as their communities depend on coastal and inland waterways for transportation and livelihoods. (For comparison, there are 337 tribes in the contiguous United States.) In recent years, Federal interest and activity in the U.S. Arctic has grown. With that interest comes a Federal requirement for consultation with native tribes and a desire from non-Alaskan entities to learn from traditional knowledge.

Brohl_Hargis_Vogt On the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard’s birthday, the CMTS had the honor of learning from Ms. Susan “Sudie” Hargis, USCG District 17’s Tribal Liaison (pictured here with Ms. Helen Brohl [left] and RDML Anthony “Jack” Vogt [right]), about engagement with Alaskan tribes. For respectful and productive tribal engagement, Ms. Hargis noted the following items to consider:

1. While the U.S. Government is a results-orientated organization, when interacting with native peoples, respect and relationships are foundational stepping stones to results. Respect has to be demonstrated, and real relationships have to be fostered.

2. As a visitor in Alaska, you are representing your agency as a whole. Understand your agency’s mission broadly and past engagement by agency members in the region.

3. If you want honest tribal engagement, make sure that you are considering all tribal needs when inviting them to the table. Recognize that resources are limited for tribes to travel and combine meetings with other agencies in hub locations.

As a final note, Ms. Hargis recommended using the existing Arctic Waterways Safety Committee and the Alaska Tribal Liaison Interagency Group as venues where tribal stakeholders are already engaging.

For a comprehensive summary of Ms. Hargis’ presentation and recommendations, please see her slides.

Public-Private Partnerships in Practice (August 2, 2016)

Aaron Snyder, Chief, Project Management Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), St. Paul District, presented on a USACE demonstration project for alternative financing and delivery in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, region. The Fargo-Moorhead project is USACE's most mature alternative financing project.

The Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project is a nearly $2 billion project that will provide benefits for more than 230,000 people and 70 square miles of existing infrastructure. Without development, this region has expected annual flood damages greater than $194.8 million per year. USACE is able to implement this project without any change in authority.

The local sponsors are leading a public-private partnership to construct a 30-mile diversion channel and associated infrastructure. Part of the success of this project is due to the strong local partners.

The Federal government is leading the construction of the Southern Embankment. This innovative split-delivery plan will allow each of the project pieces to be delivered in parallel.

The project will demonstrate the viability and value of alternative delivery and financing. On the delivery side the project will accelerate project delivery, transfer design and construction risk to the private sector, and demonstrate an approach to reduce USACE project backlog. On the financing side, this project will illustrate market interest to larger scale civil works projects and transfer financial risk to the private sector.

For additional information, please see the presentation.

P3-P4 for Waterways Infrastructure (May 24, 2016)

In conjunction with Infrastructure Week, the CMTS hosted Dennis Lambert, Chair of the P3 Waterways Infrastructure Subcommittee, ASCE’s Coastal, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI). Dennis provided an overview of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s), P4s, and their application for infrastructure procurement. P4s are Public-Public-Private Partnerships, where USACE partners with local non-Federal, public project sponsors who have financing relationships with private sector investments. These arrangements allow the non-Federal sponsor to capture life cycle costs, accelerate construction and bundle services across phases of the project.

National Freight Strategic Plan (November 16, 2015)

The CMTS hosted a webinar on Monday, November 16, 2015, for MTS stakeholders to receive a general overview of and ask questions about the maritime components of the National Freight Strategic Plan as issued by the Department of Transportation on October 19, 2015.

The National Freight Strategic Plan lays out the many challenges of the freight transportation network: 70 million more people in the next 30 years; a 40% increase in freight volume by 2040; ports that will see larger and larger vessels carrying more and more containers; a tripling of air freight; a doubling of multimodal shipments; and double the volume of imports and exports. The CMTS webinar on the plan included DOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Mr. John Drake and Senior Maritime Advisor Mr. Eric Gabler, and it was moderated by Ms. Helen Brohl, CMTS Executive Director.

The deadline to submit comments on the Plan was April 25, 2016. The release of the final Plan is anticipated in early 2017.

Build America Transportation Investment Center (June 4, 2015)

On June 4, 2015, the CMTS hosted a Speaker Series on the Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC). The BATIC is a one-stop shop for state and local governments, public and private developers, and investors seeking to utilize innovative financing and public-private partnerships to deliver transportation projects. Mr. Paul Baumer, from the Office of Infrastructure Finance and Innovation in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, discussed how the BATIC is working with the maritime infrastructure and engaged in a lively discussion with meeting attendees on public-private partnership success stories.

CMTSUS Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (September 18, 2012)

The CMTS hosted two guests from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on September 18, 2012. Senior Research Scientist Jill Brandenberger presented “Vulnerability and Resiliency under Global Changes: Scaling to Regions and Down to Infrastructure,” and Project Manager Bill Peterson presented “Risk Reduction and Resource Assessment Model (3RAM) for Maritime Transportation Security.” Following their presentations, Ms. Brandenberger and Mr. Peterson participated in a lively and informational discussion about their research and expertise.

CMTS Speaker Series – PNNL.pdf

US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program (February 1, 2012)

The CMTS hosted a Federal partner speaker series presentation on the US Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program on February 1, 2012. The presentation focused mainly on coastal applications, such as dredging and port expansion/maintenance, In an effort to support the President’s directive to streamline permitting requirements associated with infrastructure projects of national significance.

The CMTS is a Federal interagency coordinating committee directed by Congress and charter to improve the coordination of and make recommendations with regard to Federal policies that impact the MTS.