Friday, June 11, 2021

American Senator seeks to make "Temporary" American transit, "Permanent" when it comes to cruise ships through BC waters

There could be more challenges ahead for the North Coast
Cruise industry if a new bill makes its way forward through
the US Senate

The ink from President Biden's pen is barely dry on the Bill to allow for temporary transit of cruise ships to Alaska without need of a stop in Canada and already there are calls to make the temporary, permanent.

An American Senator from the land locked state of Utah, has introduced three bills that would repeal and reform the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1996 and allow for vessels to make the journey to and from Alaska one without need of stops at a Canadian port.

Utah Senator Mike Lee
Senator Mike Lee, outlined the scope of his proposed Bill on Thursday:

“The PVSA is bad news. This arcane law benefits Canada, Mexico, and other countries who receive increased maritime traffic, at the expense of American workers in our coastal cities, towns, and ports. Reducing demand for jobs and travel opportunities here in the U.S. is the opposite of ‘America First.’ And in the context of ocean liners, this ‘protectionist’ law is literally protecting no one, as there hasn’t been a cruise ship built domestically in over half a century. The PVSA is bad economics and bad law, and it’s far past time that Congress reconsider it.”

His full statement towards the bill puts the bulls eye on Canada which he calls the prime beneficiary of the law, though he seemingly forgot about the temporary measure in place through the Senate and recently put into law by the President, his statement featuring a bit of bombast designed for the home crowd it seems.

"While Canada serves as a primary beneficiary of the law, which diverts commercial activity to its ports, the perverse incentives created by the PVSA also mean Canada controls northwestern American cruise seasons. During the pandemic, Canada has closed its ports to foreign ships. Cruises cannot sail without this required “foreign stop,” and this move could crush the Washington and Alaska tourism economy."

The statement from Utah Senator Mike Lee on maritime transit
(click to enlarge)

The broadside from Utah, makes for the latest threat to the Canadian shore based cruise industry, which for the most part suffered a self inflicted wound owing to a lack of attention to the political climate in America by Canadian politicians at all levels.

Earlier this week at a Wednesday press conference, Premier Horgan noted of a recent conversation with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, with the Premier observing that the Alaskans are more frustrated with the Federal Government than they are with his government and how he would relay the concerns from the Americans to the Trudeau government.

"I just finished a call with Senator Murkowski from Alaska, about the issues that she sees as problematic with Canada, not with British Columbia, but with Canada and I'll relay those to the Prime Minister when I get the opportunity next week"

Should the Utah Senator manage to navigate his bill into law, it would have a significant impact on the cruise tourism industry in British Columbia, with Victoria and Prince Rupert bearing a larger burden than Vancouver might in the years to come.

More notes on the Cruise industry on the North Coast can be explored here.


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