Tuesday, November 25, 2014

AMHS Terminal project on the radar for Canadian Business group

The upcoming Alaska Marine Highway dock renovation project for Prince Rupert is attracting a bit of attention from Canadian business interests.

With the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters organization, outlining its concerns over Buy American provisions for all projects funded by various levels of government in the United States.

The State of Alaska is currently taking bids for replacement of the Prince Rupert Terminal for their Ferry Service, and it's the Buy American limitations related to supplies for State and Federal projects in the US, that is of concern to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

The Manufacturers Group highlighted how the Buy America provisions are in effect for projects that normally take place within the borders of the United States, which they suggest in the case of the Prince Rupert Terminal could see Canadian businesses shut out for a project taking place within their own borders.

The issue of  gaining access to the bidding process for US Federal and State projects on US territory has long been on the minds of the CME, going back to when the program was introduced in 2009.

Alaska Gov't review of
AMHS Terminal Project
for Prince Rupert
With the near 13 million dollar improvement project in Prince Rupert (click on photo on right) taking place on land leased from the Prince Rupert Port Authority,  CME is raising its concerns over the nature of the US Buy American program and it's impact on this particular project in British Columbia.

Towards seeking some relief from what the organization calls protectionism, the CME is looking to the City of Prince Rupert to take the issue up and approach other levels of government to taken action on the issue.

“An issue as contentious as Buy American protectionism appearing on federal land in BC demands our attention ... All municipalities across BC, and especially the city council of Prince Rupert, should adopt a reciprocity policy for all their infrastructure procurement contracts.” -- CME BC vice-president Marcus Ewert-Johns.

More on their concerns related to the Buy American Provisions can be found here.

The issue raised by the CME makes for an unusual situation for the City,  considering the importance Prince Rupert has placed in the past on the AMHS Terminal and Alaska Ferry service to the North Coast.

Not to mention, the prospect of local jobs being made available in the community during the life of the project ahead

All of which will make it interesting to see if the concerns of the CME, which may be laudable in overall aspiration, find much traction locally with Prince Rupert's City Council.

In June, we outlined that the first stage of the Terminal replacement project was about to get underway with release of the Environmental Management Plan,. The project was approved on September 16, 2014 as part of the Alaska Government's Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan for the Southeast region.

You can review our past items related to the plan for the Ferry Terminal replacement project from our Transportation archive page here.

Update: Tuesday afternoon the Prince Rupert Marine Highway Terminal story became a national item, starting a bit of an avalanche of coverage of the issue.

Globe and Mail-- "Buy America" shuts out Canadian Iron and Steel from ferry Terminal overhaul
Vancouver Sun-- Buy America policy means Alaska ferry terminal in Prince Rupert to be built with U.S. products
Vancouver Province-- New Prince Rupert Ferry Terminal must use American iron and steel
CTV News Vancouver -- Canadian Materials not welcome
Business in Vancouver-- Buy America rules shut B. C. companies out of B . C. project
Business News Network-- Buy American shuts out Canadian Iron and Steel from B. C. Ferry Terminal overhaul (video)
Wall Street Journal-- British Columbia Port Upgrade Subject to U. S. policies
National Post-- Buy America... in Canada: Ferry terminal on B. C. coast must be built using U. S. materials

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