Wednesday, August 15, 2012
South Carolina’s port authority doesn’t renew annual AAPA membership
One of the top ten busiest U.S. ports has decided not to renew its membership for 2013 in the biggest association for port authorities in the western hemisphere.
The South Carolina State Ports Authority confirmed to CBN that it is not renewing its membership with the Alexandria, Virginia-based American Association of Port Authorities for next year.
“I would prefer to characterize it as [the port] has suspended its membership for 2013 and will review it moving forward,” said Allison Skipper, spokesperson for the SCPA.
According to the AAPA’s website, corporate membership dues (including port agencies) for its fiscal year 2013 that runs from July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013 are $4,537 “plus share of U.S. Government relations activities expenses, based on their gross revenues.”
“I wouldn’t attribute it as cost [of membership],” said Skipper, who said “like most ports,” the S.C. port authority has “placed a lot of resources at a federal level” into its harbor deepening project.
The AAPA had no direct comment on why the SCPA decided not to renew its membership, but admitted a port of its size doing so was not the norm.
“It’s not a common occurrence,” said Aaron Ellis, director of communications for the AAPA to CBN.
Ellis has been with the AAPA for seven years and in that time he said: “this is the first time a port the size of South Carolina has not renewed.”
The reason the association’s members tend to renew their memberships, according to Ellis, is because “we represent a strong membership benefit.”
Ellis outlined some of the AAPA’s membership benefits, including advocacy, networking, training, accreditation, “as well as the common bonds from sharing information and knowing you don’t have to recreate the wheel at your own port because someone else has paved the way for you.”
In the meantime, Ellis said the AAPA would “continue to try and be in front of [the SCPA] to try and show them the value [of membership].”
The SCPA’s container facility in Charleston has been one of several East Coast ports trying to get shipping channels and harbors deepened to the preferred 50-foot draft industry standard when the Panama Canal is widened by 2015 for much larger containerships.
In July, President Obama named what he said were seven of the country's most critical infrastructure projects, including the expedition of deepening projects at five U.S. ports and a pledge that all Army Corps of Engineer reviews and permits for these projects would be completed by or before September 2015.
The Port of Charleston was one of the five ports listed in the White House’s “We can’t Wait” initiative.
"This announcement represents more good news for our deepening project, and demonstrates that the highest levels of our government understand the critical need to advance this project," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA in a statement the time. "We are grateful for the Administration's commitment."
In June, the South Carolina Legislature pledged $300 million in state funds towards the harbor-deepening project that would cover the entire estimated cost upon authorization from U.S. Congress.
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