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§ 1213. Contracts designed equitably for all ports; minimum allocation of funds; report to Congress; preference to citizens of United States; regional offices for Maritime Administration

(a) Contracts under this chapter shall be entered into so as to equitably serve, insofar as possible, the foreign-trade requirements of the Atlantic, Gulf, Great Lakes, and Pacific ports of the United States. In order to assure equitable treatment for each range of ports referred to in the preceding sentence, not less than 10 percent of the funds appropriated for construction-differential subsidy and operating-differential subsidy pursuant to this chapter or any law authorizing funds for the purposes of this chapter shall be allocated to each such port range: Provided, however, That such allocation shall apply to the extent that subsidy contracts are approved by the Secretary of Transportation. For the purposes of this section and section 1121 (a) of this Appendix, the Secretary shall establish trade routes, services, or lines that take into account the seasonal closure of the Saint Lawrence Seaway and provide for alternate routing of ships via a different range of ports during that closure so as to maintain continuity of service on a year-round basis. For the purposes of section 1175 (c) of this Appendix, such an alternate routing via a different range of ports shall be deemed to be service from Great Lakes ports, provided such alternative routing is based upon receipt or delivery of cargo at Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway ports under through intermodal bills of lading. The Secretary shall include in the annual report pursuant to section 1118 of this Appendix a detailed report
(1) describing the actions that have been taken pursuant to this chapter to assure insofar as possible that direct and adequate service is provided by United States-flag commercial vessels to each range of ports referred to in this section; and
(2) including any recommendations for additional legislation that may be necessary to achieve the purpose of this section. In awarding contracts under this chapter, preference shall be given to persons who are citizens of the United States and who have the support, financial and otherwise, of the domestic communities primarily interested.
(b) There shall be established and maintained within the Maritime Administration such regional offices as may be necessary, including, but not limited to, one such office for each of the four port ranges specified in subsection (a) of this section. The Secretary of Transportation shall appoint a qualified individual to be the Director of each such regional office and shall carry out appropriate functions, activities, and programs of the Maritime Administration through such regional offices.
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