The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Leadership from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the inland towing industry signed a memorandum of understanding today, designed to ensure consistent communications and support efficient and safe movement of commerce on the Western rivers of the United States.
The memorandum, signed by Jim Guidry (Kirby Inland Marine LP and RIETF co-chairman), Rear Adm. June E. Ryan (commander of the 9th Coast Guard District), Rear Adm. David R. Callahan (commander of the 8th Coast Guard District), Maj. Gen. Michael C. Wehr (commander of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division), and Brig. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser (commander of the Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division), provides a foundation for improving communication between RIETF members, the Corps and the Coast Guard, which will further facilitate commerce while ensuring proper safety and environmental protection.
“This memorandum of understanding is a great step forward for our joint efforts to keep the nation’s commerce moving,” said Guidry. “It provides the assurance that we have communications processes in place to ensure that we move goods safely, securely and efficiently, as the Coast Guard, the Corps and industry commit to work together for the good of the nation’s economy.”
“This agreement challenges us to communicate to the point of reducing any chance of misunderstanding. We are committed to getting there,” said Wehr. “Maintaining our nation’s waterways infrastructure to move commerce safely, efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner ensures our continued success as a maritime nation.” Wehr is also president of the Mississippi River Commission.
“Communication is always one of the foundations for success, and in an environment where the nation depends on steady flow of commerce, it is imperative that we continue to update our methods to keep one another informed. The Coast Guard works closely with the river industry in so many functions, and we look forward to the increased dialogue and interaction to steer commerce flow in an increasingly more informed, reliable and safe direction,” said Callahan.
RIETF, a standing task force of the American Waterways Operators, a national trade association for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, was formed in 1988 to create an ongoing dialogue between senior leaders of the Corps, the Coast Guard and the towing industry.