Spencer Murphy, General Counsel for Canal Barge Company, wrapped up his term as President of the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA) in August 2014 by hosting the successful 109th Annual GICA Convention in New Orleans, LA. GICA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to ensuring the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is properly maintained, operated and improved to provide a safe, efficient, economical and environmentally-sound water transportation route serving the Gulf Coast. Canal Barge Company’s roots date back to operating primarily along the canal system in and around New Orleans. CBC has been a supporter of GICA for many years and values its role in promoting safe and efficient marine transportation between major ports such as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston, and Corpus Christi.
The 109th Annual GICA Convention held at the Westin Canal Place focused on the recent passage of the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) that was signed into law in June after it passed through both houses of Congress with significant bipartisan support. During the official signing ceremony in June, President Obama said, “Many of America’s businesses ship their goods across the country by river and by canal, so we’ve got to make sure that those waterways are in tip-top shape.” This bill has a significant impact on the various players in the industry and therefore was the primary focus of the convention. Special guests and speakers included Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District; Mike Toohey, President of Waterways Council, Inc.; Gary LaGrange, President CEO of the Port of New Orleans; and the Keynote Speaker was Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). Rep. Shuster is Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who worked with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) in passing the WRRDA bill. Chairman Shuster also praised the efforts of Jim Stark, GICA Executive Director and Spencer Murphy who helped with lobbying efforts to secure final passage of WRRDA. The convention also touched on important issues such as training needs to develop the next generation of mariners as well as dredging issues and e-navigation tools.
For a comprehensive review of the Annual GICA Convention, check out the August 18th issue of the Waterways Journal.