American inland waterways and marine highway projects received a US$7.5M grant injection to boost container-on-barge and towage services
US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) will fund nine Marine Highway projects to enhance barge and container services in nine states.
US secretary of transportation Elaine Chao said, “This US$7.5M investment will improve our country’s vital fuel-efficient waterway transportation system, which makes an important contribution to exports and economic growth.”
These funds will be distributed between projects to enhance existing services in Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington states.
Maritime administrator Mark Buzby said, “America’s Marine Highway programme is dedicated to expanding the use of our inland waterways for freight movement.”
He added, “This round of grant funding will be used to continue that expansion and ensure our waterways are used effectively.”
Grants will improve access for barges at ports and improve container-on-barge traffic in the US inland waterways.
A project to expand the Port of Morrow M-84 barge service in Oregon secured the largest grant in this batch. It was awarded US$1.63M to expand services in two marine terminals and port access in the region.
This supports expanding barge services from the Port of Morrow to Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Washington; and Longview, Washington.
MARAD will provide US$1.5M to convert two ferries used in the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry service from diesel to hybrid, to reduce emissions.
The Florida-South Carolina M-95 Fernandina Express container-on-barge service was awarded US$1.29M, sponsored by the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County. This will support purchasing marine terminal handling equipment for loading and unloading containers on the express barge service between the Port of Fernandina and the Port of Charleston.
US$1.1M was granted for the Lake Erie Shuttle in Michigan to purchase and install a crawler crane in the Port of Monroe.
A grant of US$1.04M will be provided to the Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle of the M-55, sponsored by Seacor, to purchase six new purpose-built barges and lease one towboat.
These vessels will support growth in the Port Allen to New Orleans container shuttle service and increase its capacity. MARAD said this would help stimulate the US shipbuilding industry on America’s inland waterways.
The Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority gained US$480,000 grant to support the container-on-barge marine highway project. This will be used to support the purchase or lease of facility and transportation equipment at a Baton Rouge facility that will be used to load and unload containers.
This marine highway service is centrally located at the confluence of five inland waterways and operates to the international export ports of Louisiana.
US$189,840 is granted to the James River expansion project to improve services at the Richmond marine terminal.
US$180,000 is granted to the Houston Gateway and Gulf container-on-barge central node to develop an operational plan to support shipping container movements by barge between terminals.
US$96,425 will be granted to the Wallops Island M-95 intermodal barge service to support loading and unloading of barges and research vessels at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.