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Notice of Buy America Waiver Request

Action: Notice, request for comments.

Web posting date: To be determined.

Federal Register Notice of Finding Publication Date: 07/26/22

Effective Date of Federal Register: 07/27/22

Close of public comment period : 08/11/22

Summary: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which is the lead administering operating agency, is seeking comments on whether a waiver of the Buy America requirements under 23 CFR § 635.410 should be granted to permit the procurement of a Medium Voltage (MV) Cable Reel System containing non-domestic steel or iron components as part of the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT) Capacity and Warehouse Relocation FY2017-2018 INFRA project at the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PhilaPort). The waiver was requested by PhilaPort and relates specifically to an MV Cable Reel System that is needed for the conversion of two ship-to-shore (STS) cranes’ drive power supply from diesel to electric. The MV Cable Reel System includes the following non-domestic steel and iron components: (i) Drive Gearbox and Motors; (ii) Electrical and Communications Collector System; (iii) MV cable drum; (iv) MV cable guides and diverter mounted to STS structure/legs; and (v) Gantry level bi-directional multi-roller, curved cable guide.

The two STS cranes were installed at PAMT in 2004 and are the most utilized cranes on the terminal for unloading cargo from container vessels. According to PhilaPort, depending on the workload the cranes can consume between 20 to 100 gallons of diesel fuel per hour. PhilaPort’s PAMT has a planned annual container throughput that is forecasted to require 4,103 hours of operation for both STS cranes. At this level of operation, PhilaPort estimates that converting the cranes to utility-supplied electricity would eliminate 109,896 of diesel crane hours and over 100,000 tons of harmful air emissions over their lifetime.

PhilaPort determined that delivering utility-supplied electric power to the STS cranes requires a trailing MV Cable Reel System. This system allows the STS cranes to be mobile along the dock by reeling cable in and out from a motorized and synchronized cable drum as the crane moves along the berth. The cable also delivers fiber communications to and from the cranes and the terminal. PhilaPort was unable to identify a domestic manufacturer who could provide a Buy America-compliant MV Cable Reel System.

The MV Cable Reel System is included under an approximately $5.5 million contract. PhilaPort estimates that the MV Cable Reel System itself will cost $410,000 out of the total project cost of $5.5 million. Of the $410,000, approximately $110,000, or 2% of the total contract cost, is the cost of the foreign steel and/or iron components contained in the MV Cable Reel System. All other costs associated with this contract are expected to comply with Buy America requirements.

According to PhilaPort, the approval of a Buy America waiver for the MV Cable Reel System is critical to maintain the schedule of ongoing construction on the INFRA Project. Currently, the lead time for this major component is between 20 to 30 weeks, so any delay in approving the waiver will result in project delays and additional time the STS cranes will operate under diesel power. PhilaPort explained that, without the waiver for the relevant system, the crane electrification project cannot move forward, and the environmental and operational benefits of the project would be lost.

The DOT will only consider a Buy America waiver when the conditions of 23 CFR § 635.410(c) have been met. This includes: (1) when the application of the requirements under section 635.410(c) would be inconsistent with the public interest; or (2) when steel and iron products are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities, which are of a satisfactory quality.

The DOT will consider all comments received in the initial 15-day comment period during our evaluation of the waiver request as required by 23 U.S.C. 313(g), which was recently amended by section 11513 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Pub. L. 117-58) . Comments received after this period, but before notice of our finding is published in the Federal Register, will be considered to the extent practicable. Follow-up coordination on the comments received may result in a delay in the publication of our waiver finding in the Federal Register. Comments received during the 5-day comment period after notice of our finding is published in the Federal Register will be reviewed, but the finding will continue to remain valid. The comment period after publication of the waiver is required by Section 117 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-244, 122 Stat. 1572). Comments received during the comment period after the effective date of the finding will be reviewed and may influence the decision of DOT to terminate or modify a finding.

Philadelphia Regional Port Authority contact: Edward G. Henderson, Senior Director–Business Development & Planning, ehenderson@philaport.com, (215) 407-4529

Request Letter (.pdf, 495 kb)
Federal Register


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Updated: 04/26/2024
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