Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Markets
Odd Lots

Transcript: The 1906 Dredging Law That May Be Holding Back the U.S. Economy

The 'Leiv Eirikson' a trailing suction hopper dredger vessel, sits in dock at La Naval shipyard in Bilbao, Spain.

The 'Leiv Eirikson' a trailing suction hopper dredger vessel, sits in dock at La Naval shipyard in Bilbao, Spain.

Photographer: Markel Redondo

The long grounding of the cargo ship the Ever Forward has shone a spotlight on the limited dredging equipment that exists in the U.S. The most powerful equipment here has significantly less capacity than what exists in Europe, or in the Suez Canal. What's more, the U.S. can't use foreign equipment due to a law known as the Foreign Dredging Act of 1906, which requires that any dredging done in the country be done with U.S. labor on U.S.-owned ships. And while this has come to the fore due to the Ever Forward, the significance could be far wider. On this episode of the podcast we speak with Howard Gutman and Andrew Durant, both of whom are working to overturn the law. They argue that the restrictions on dredging equipment have significant negative ramifications for the environment, port capacity, and therefore the economy overall. Transcripts have been lightly edited for clarity. (Editor’s note: Since recording this episode, the Ever Forward has been refloated after being stuck for more than a month. Tracy continues to wait for her furniture). 

The 1906 Dredging Law That May Be Hol...