West Coast Business Leaders Urge Capitalizing on the Panama Canal


Government, business leaders urge capitalizing on canal expansion
Oct 30, 2014, 2:47pm EDT

Wade Millward
Former Florida Senator George LeMieux listens to the business panel at a global trade symposium Thursday. LeMieux, now with the Gunster law firm, gave the event’s final presentation on the importance of global trade.

Wade Millward
Tampa Bay Business Journal
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With more investment, Florida can lead the Western Hemisphere in global trade, speakers preached to audience members at a Thursday symposium.
Two panels, one of government officials and a later one of trade and transport executives, highlighted conditions the state can use to capitalize on the finished $5.2 billion Panama Canal expansion next year.
They touted expansion projects also happening in the state to ease transportation congestion and provide a skilled workforce.
Tampa Bay Business Journal and Bank of America Merrill Lynch hosted the Tampa Bay Global Trade and Transportation Symposium at Port Tampa Bay.
Speakers from both panels demanded audience members request more spending from the Legislature to increase the state’s reputation as an international hub and surpass states such as California and New York.
“Somebody’s going to win this race,” moderator Tony Carvajal, who is Florida Chamber Foundation’s executive vice president, said at the panel’s close. “We’ve got to do this now.”
The port is adding 25 acres and expanding to seven total docking cruise lines in time for cruise season starting Sunday, CEO Paul Anderson said. It’s in negotiations with manufacturers, including a handful from Latin America, to open in Tampa Bay.
Tampa International Airport will finish an expansion by 2017 and is negotiating direct flights from Europe to encourage tourism and foreign companies to open local regional offices, CEO Joe Lopano said.
The Florida Department of Transportation is widening Interstate 75 from the Georgia border to Alligator Alley to six lanes, assistant secretary Rich Biter said.
Hillsborough County will open a small business center for entrepreneurs in two weeks, County Commissioner Sandra Murman said.
“We will be the place where everybody wants to be,” the commissioner said.
During the business panel, Bob O’Malley, CSX resident vice president of state government and community affairs, said CSX will hire a few thousand workers for upcoming projects and to replace retiring employees.
CSX opened a distribution center in Winter Haven to act as statewide hub and broke ground on a 400,000-square-foot nearby space for retailers, O’Malley said.
The lesson from the symposium should be the necessity of government creating business opportunities while companies deliver more trade, said panel moderator and Florida Chamber of Commerce global outreach director Alice Ancona.
One recent success: Tampa International Airport recruiting Copa Airlines, which offers flights between Tampa and Panama City, Panama.
“The partnership I’ve seen here is how we can together grow international trade,” said Fernando Fondevila, Copa Airlines regional commercial manager for North America.
Wade Millward is a reporter for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Will the added tracks to Flagler’s railway ‘close’ the waterways in Florida?

Florida East Coast

Will the railroad ‘close’ waterways in Florida?

Date Reported: Oct 26, 2014

Mile: 0.0

Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

New-River-Bridge-BoatUS.jpgWe have posted several articles on the proposed rail service that would significantly affect navigation in Stuart and Fort Lauderdale, and for many in the Jupiter area, plus affect the ambiance and road traffic in some of our favorite cruising towns. We hope you have either attended the U.S. Coast Guard meetings or have posted your comments to the USCG – if you have not yet taken the USCG survey, you have only until November 1, 2014 to do so (See related Waterway Guide article: Voice your views on Florida railway bridge issue).

BoatUS alerts us to a set of new public meetings, this time held by the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration. BoatUS has also set up its own survey on the issue – we urge you to take this survey as well, and try to attend one of these meetings:

Under plans for a new passenger rail service along Florida’s Atlantic Coast from Miami to Orlando, waterway drawbridge closings along the proposed route would become more frequent. The new passenger rail service, known as All Aboard Florida, would offer hourly trains starting in the early morning and ending in the late evening, requiring additional bridge closings on waterways used by boaters in the nation’s #1 boating state. This includes the New River, Loxahatchee River and St. Lucie River. Up to 32 scheduled railroad drawbridge closings per day could last up to 25 minutes each.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges boaters and anglers potentially affected by the proposal to have their voice heard at one of eight public meetings held by the US Federal Railroad Administration scheduled for October and November, or to provide their written comments to the U.S. Coast Guard by November 1.

The US Federal Railroad Administration will hold the following public meetings:

October 27, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Miami-Dade College – Wolfson Campus
James K. Batten Room – 2106300 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33132 

October 28, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Broward County Convention Center
1950 Eisenhower Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 

October 29, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
West Palm Beach Marriott
1001 Okeechobee Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

October 30, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
The Kane Center
900 SE Salerno Road
Stuart, FL 34997

November 5, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Indian River State College – Richardson Hall
6155 College Lane
Vero Beach, FL 32966

November 6, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Port St. Lucie Civic Center
9221 SE Civic Center Place
Port St Lucie, FL 34952

November 12, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Cocoa Civic Center
430 Delannoy Avenue
Cocoa, FL 32922

November 13, 2014, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Wyndham Orlando Resort
800 International Drive
Orlando, Florida, 32819

To provide written comments on how these changes will impact your boating or fishing, go to BoatUS.com/allaboardsurvey, fill out the survey form and email to the address provided. The US Coast Guard is charged with ensuring safe and unobstructed passage for waterborne traffic while also considering the needs of other transportation modes. Comments to the USCG are due by November 1.

For additional information, go to BoatUS.com/allaboardinfo.

Learn more about the proposed train service:

Source: BoatUS

President Theodore Roosevelt operating a Dredge in the Culebra Cut of the Panama Canal

Pres. Theodore Roosevelt operating what appears to be a dipper elevator dredge in the Culebra Cut in 1906,
Pres. Theodore Roosevelt operating what appears to be an elevator dredge in the Culebra Cut in 1906.

The Culebra Cut was the most difficult of all the dredging operations in the digging of the Panama Canal.  Capt. David Gaillard, of French Hugenot ancestry, was chief of dredging operations at the Cut and a cousin of Henry Gaillard.  Henry had been one of the four original incorporators of the Florida canal company, the longest serving director, and a St. Augustine state senator.  Henry’s political importance in securing the million acres of state land promised for dredging what would become the Intracoastal Waterway cannot be overstated.  Without Henry’s political clout after the death of Dr. John Westcott, it is doubtful the company would have been successful.

The Culebra Cut was essentially a cut through a solid mountain.  So arduous was the work, including dynamiting and the building of a railway to remove the rock and debris, it left David a broken man.  David was hospitalized for the balance of the Panama Canal work.  He died before the opening ceremonies. Here, Roosevelt operates an elevator dredge, which required level ground and the laying of railway steel and wooden ties.  The Florida canal company used elevator dredges in the northern extension of the Florida waterway from St. Augustine to Jacksonville.  Courtesy, Library of Congress, American Memory.

May an indefinitely moored houseboat be subject to federal maritime jurisdiction?

Lozman houseboat in transit.
Lozman houseboat in transit.

Several years ago, the City of Riviera Beach (“the City”) straddling the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Florida, arrested a houseboat under federal maritime law and demolished it. The homeowner, Mr. Lozman had lived on his houseboat for more than a dozen years under a lease with the City. The City had sent Lozman several eviction notices for deficiencies in the houseboat and failure to make certain payments.

The District Court of the Southern District of Florida found that the houseboat was a “vessel” for purposes of admiralty jurisdiction, that the vessel was delinquent in payments, put the vessel up for auction, the City bought it for the amount of its judgment and demolished it.

The court held that the houseboat met the definition of a “vessel”within the meaning of 1 U.S.C. s. 3; accordingly, federal maritime law applied despite the fact that the houseboat had been an “indefinitely moored” structure. It was still “capable” of transportation.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court’s holding that Lozman’s houseboat constituted a “vessel” for purposes of maritime jurisdiction and that Lozman’s houseboat “trespassed” upon city property.

On January 15, 2013, the Supreme Court reversed. The Court held that Lozman’s houseboat was not a “vessel” for purposes of invoking maritime jurisdiction. Except for the fact that it floated upon the water, Lozman’s houseboat had no means of self-propulsion, no steering mechanism, an unraked hull, no means of storing or generating electricity, and no realistic means of transporting passengers or cargo.

Onlookers observe Lozman houseboat moored at Riviera Beach docks.
Onlookers observe Lozman houseboat moored at Riviera Beach docks.

Federal courts therefore have no jurisdiction over “houseboats” similarly configured and indefinitely moored. In general, federal courts have exclusive maritime jurisdiction over “vessels” like boats in navigable waters such as the Intracoastal Waterway. Although federal jurisdiction protects those who improve and work on boats by affording workers the right to arrest a vessel for unpaid work and enforce a lien for such charges as well as the right to seek damages for trespass on private property, asserting federal jurisdiction also brings into play the regulatory powers of the Coast Guard to insure public safety as well as other agencies working to protect the environment and other public interests.

The Haulover Canal at Titusville (not Baker’s Haulover in Miami-Dade County)

First dredged in 1852, the Haulover Canal connected the Mosquito Lagoon and the Indiian River.
First dredged in 1852, the Haulover Canal connected the Mosquito Lagoon and the Indiian River.

In 1852, Lieutenant Horatio Governeur Wright led the the Corps of Engineers in the second inland waterway Renaissance.  Wright supervised the construction of the first Haulover Canal lined with wood, two feet deep and twelve feet wide at a cost established by Congress at $1,200. Although the amount seems minuscule today, it represented a breakthrough in Congressional thinking about the expenditure of federal funds for internal improvements. For a half a century, Congress authorized funds for surveying projects only but none for construction.

The Haulover Canal, however, represented an exception. The U.S. Army had fought two costly wars against the Seminoles. Men, materiel, and munitions shipped on the Indian River had to be hauled by carts over this spit of land between two bodies of water. For the next 150 years, the “common defense” exception authorized numerous projects that at first seemed disqualified for construction funding. Congress also devised numerous ingenuous schemes to circumvent restraints such as when Congress authorized the purchase of stock in railroad companies to aid internal improvements.