The passing of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act through the US House of Representatives – by a vote of 412 to 4 – has been applauded by the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI).

The bill basically paves the way for the funding of port dredging and improvements and repair of the USA’s ageing inland waterways, locks and dams, all of which are crucial logistical elements of the US steel industry.

AISI president Thomas J Gibson said that the steel industry relies heavily upon these inland waterways to move the raw materials necessary for steelmaking and bring finished steel products to market. He said that the bill was long overdue.

"Our nation’s seaports are heavily congested and not dredged to full capacity, while our inland waterways include obsolete and aging infrastructure that often results in costly delays – threatening more than one million U.S. jobs in the next six years. This long- awaited compromise bill will help ensure our nation remains globally competitive, and provide more efficient and cost-effective navigation for our vital water infrastructure needs."