Moderator: Ken V
A new $350 million Bering Sea fish fight could hinge on a miniature Canadian railroadExcerpts:
The quickly escalating saga involves hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, a miniature Canadian railway and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. And it stems from the way that one of Alaska’s biggest fishing companies, American Seafoods, is using an exemption in the federal law that typically allows only U.S. ships to move cargo between U.S. ports.
The Jones Act, a century-old federal law, typically requires American-flagged ships to move cargo between American ports. But the legislation contains an exception known as the “Third Proviso,” which allows companies to use foreign-flagged ships between U.S. ports if the routes include “Canadian rail lines” — and if they’re certified by an obscure federal agency called the Surface Transportation Board.
Alaska seafood companies have been using that exception since 2000, according to court documents.
From Bayside, the seafood would be trucked to a Canadian train, loaded and moved 20 miles between two stations [via NBS]— sometimes in the opposite direction of the U.S. border. Then the cargo would be loaded back onto the trucks to drive into the U.S.Looks like the Port of Bayside uses a Trackmobile to shuttle the flatcar the 100 ft.
In their court filings, the shippers say that both CBP and the Surface Transportation Board signed off on that practice, even though it was clear that the only purpose of the brief rail movement was to satisfy the requirements of the Jones Act.
They also argue that they made customs officials aware of a new, even shorter rail line that they switched to using in 2012 to satisfy the Jones Act: a 100-foot stretch of track that’s entirely within the Bayside port [called the Bayside Canadian Railway].
“The trucks travel the length of the Canadian rail trackage and back,” Gross said.
The seafood products’ 200-foot train ride now appears likely to be at the core of the companies’ legal dispute with CBP.