Press Release: NAWE Urges U.S. Trade Representative to Reconsider Tariffs on Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes

NAWE Urges U.S. Trade Representative to Reconsider Tariffs on Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes


Washington, DC (July 9, 2024) – The National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE) has submitted comments to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) strongly opposing the Administration’s proposed twenty-five percent tariff on imported Ship-to-Shore gantry cranes. NAWE asserts that this tariff would significantly harm U.S. economic and national security interests while failing to address the intended concerns of cybersecurity risks associated with Chinese imports.

NAWE’s comments highlight five key areas of concern, which are as follows:

  1. Economic Impact: The proposed tariff would increase operational costs for U.S. ports, reducing their competitiveness with Canadian and Mexican ports. Ultimately, this would result in a cost increase on consumer goods prices and impair the competitiveness of U.S. exports.
  2. National Security: Tariffs are an inappropriate tool for addressing national security risks, including cybersecurity. These risks would be better addressed through ongoing federal rulemaking efforts and the substantial investments already made by U.S. marine terminal operators in securing their networks and cargo handling equipment.
  3. Operational Efficiency: Ship-to-Shore cranes are vital for managing the increasing volume of imports and exports moving through our ports. The proposed tariff would make it prohibitively expensive for NAWE members to upgrade and replace essential equipment, potentially disrupting the flow of commerce and limiting the types of vessels and cargo volume that U.S. ports can handle.
  4. Workplace Safety: Increased costs could result in dangerous working conditions for the union waterfront workers hired by marine terminal operators, as ports may delay necessary equipment upgrades and maintenance as a result of the proposed tariff.
  5. Investment Concerns: The significant increase in costs for ship-to-shore cranes, which range from $15 million to $20 million each, would undermine the financial investments already made by NAWE members to maintain and enhance port infrastructure.

Several of NAWE’s member companies submitted additional comments on the proposed tariff which can be found at the USTR’s comment portal here. Currently, the USTR has remained firm on the August 1, 2024, effective date for the ship-to-shore crane tariff proposal.

Click here to read NAWE’s final comments.

NAWE has also endorsed legislation in Congress that aims to rebuild the United States’ cargo handling equipment manufacturing base by expanding the Capital Construction Fund to marine terminal operators for the purpose of purchasing near-zero or zero-emission cargo handling equipment on a tax deferred basis.


About NAWE

The National Association of Waterfront Employers is a Washington based trade association whose member companies are privately owned stevedores, marine terminal operators, and other waterfront related employers. Member companies do business at major U.S Ports on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, Canada, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. These firms are committed to keeping America’s international trade and commerce flowing to better serve our economy. Learn more at

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