MARAD promotes new marine highway routes

MARAD authorises two new marine highway routes

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the designation of two new Marine Highway Routes, as part of the United States Marine Highway Program (MHP).

The newly authorised M-11 and M-79 routes will aid in the transportation of commodities, the strengthening of supply networks, and the support of local economies in Alaska, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

These designations open up future US Marine Highway Programme funds to any qualifying application on these routes.

The MHP advocates for increasing use of America’s navigable rivers to relieve landside congestion, provide new and efficient transportation choices, and boost surface transportation productivity.

The MHP helps generate and retain American employment in ports, shipyards, and onboard vessels by collaborating closely with public and private organisations, while also enhancing the nation’s supply chains.

READ: MARAD announces $25 million in funding for America’s Marine Highway Program

US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, said: “America’s marine highways are vital links in our supply chains, helping to move goods quickly, cleanly, and efficiently.

“By expanding our marine highway system, we can strengthen our supply chains, improve port operations, and help keep goods affordable for American families.”

“Our nation’s marine highway routes are navigable waterways capable of moving significant quantities of freight at lower costs than other means of transportation. Since its inception in 2010, the MHP has designated 31 marine highway routes.”

Since its inception in 2010, the MHP has designated 31 Marine Highway Routes. A Marine Highway Route is a navigable waterway, capable of transporting freight, located in the United States or its territories.

The two new Marine Highway Routes are: The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is the sponsor of the M-11 route.

This expansive waterway will add over 6,500 miles to the marine highway system with the inclusion of the coastal and river ports in southwestern and northern Alaska from the Aleutian Islands to the Canadian border.

READ: Pacific Northwest to boost container links with MARAD Marine Highway funding

The waterways of the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay, the Arctic Ocean, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Delta have been waterborne transportation hubs for centuries.

Many settlements in this region rely on a network of ports, rivers, barge landings, and airports to transfer products and passengers. The M-11 Route aims to improve transit in these towns by expanding the options for aquatic transport.

The Port of Pittsburgh and the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organisation are partners in the M-79 route designation.

The M-79 route adds the easternmost tributary rivers to the Ohio River system, extending its extent by about 250 miles. Waterborne transport is being viewed as a dependable and cost-effective alternative to various types of surface transport by local corporate interests in the region, including river ports and operators.

The M-79 will serve as an incentive for increased operations, infrastructure investments, and freight movement, especially for new commodities that will move on the water in the future.

In February 2023, MARAD announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), making more than $662 million available for its Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).

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