Congressman Cummings believes hearings such as the one held Wednesday are critical to improving Americaâ€™s maritime industry, as well as national security.
â€œI frankly have no doubt that our inability to carry even a small portion of our U.S. foreign trade commercial cargoes on U.S.-flagged vessels represents an economic and potentially a security risk to the nation,â€ said Cummings. â€œOne of the most important issues that we are looking to address is whether the cargo preference laws apply to cargo financed with loan guarantees created by the Energy Policy Act and administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). It makes zero sense for U.S. loan guarantees to support purchases from foreign countries that would then be carried on foreign-flagged ships.
â€œWe are also anxious to hear how MARAD defines the causes and consequences of the challenges facing our U.S.-flagged fleet, and the policies that MARAD believes should be pursued to maintain and grow that fleet. Our U.S.-flagged fleet is facing significant challenges. It is MARADâ€™s job, as the entity charged with promoting the development of our U.S.-flagged fleet and our maritime transportation network, to lead the response to these challenges.â€