"Shipping and Environmental Leadership Act" introduced in US Senate - Implications for Arctic Shipping

Although not Canadian maritime law per se, here's an interesting Bill that was introduced in the US Senate by the Senator from Alaska a few weeks ago that has implications North of the border: 


Although the Bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, it is noteworthy because it proposes the establishment of a "congressionally chartered seaway development corporation in the Arctic" whose mandate would be to build and operate Arctic marine infrastructure including deep water ports, places of refuge, aids to navigation and ice breaking services etc.

To fund these infrastructure projects, the development corporation would be authorized to levy tolls and provide services to shipowners for a fee.

The Bill is unclear on how and when these tolls will be levied, however, it references the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Suez Canal as potential models. 

The Arctic is in desperate need of better marine infrastructure so the Bill is worth watching. However, some clarity on how and when the seaway development corporation intends to levy tolls will be needed given the potential issues that arise regarding freedom of navigation, jurisdiction to impose tariffs in international waters, and additional cost etc. A number of communities in Canada's Western Arctic are supplied via BC so any developments in Alaska (which needs to be passed along the way) will be of direct relevance.

The progress of the Bill can be tracked here:


Arctic Shipping Routes 

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