MarAd awards $1.96 billion to crew and maintain National Defense Reserve Fleet

The following is the text of a news release from the Maritime Administration (MarAd):

(WASHINGTON) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that DOT has awarded contracts with a total award value of $1.96 billion over eight years to seven U.S. maritime firms to manage, maintain and operate 48 National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) vessels through January 2024. These Maritime Administration contracts are funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) National Defense Sealift Fund to support DOD’s strategic sealift mission.

“Since 1946, National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels have facilitated U.S. strategic sealift, natural disaster response, and humanitarian operations all around the world,” said Foxx. “From supporting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and providing humanitarian support for Haiti, to supporting the United Nation’s at-sea neutralization of Syria’s chemical weapons — this fleet reliably, economically, and efficiently advances U.S. contributions to global peace and prosperity.”

The 18 contracts awarded to seven U.S. maritime firms total $953.5 million for the four-year base contract which runs through January 2020. The contracts also include two, two-year options bringing the total award value to $1.96 billion. The contracts were awarded to companies that offered the best value to the government. These seven companies are responsible for maintaining the ships in good mechanical condition and ensuring that crews are available to operate them when needed.

Forty-six of the vessels are part of the Department of Transportation’s Ready Reserve Force, a fleet managed by MarAd that provides rapid mass movement of Department of Defense equipment and supplies to support our armed forces, and also responds to national and humanitarian emergencies. Additionally, two vessels are used to support Missile Defense Agency operations. Each certified, mission-ready vessel is maintained so that it can be fully activated and deployed quickly. The 46 Ready Reserve Force vessels have been activated hundreds of times since 2002.  

“The U.S. Merchant Marine and National Defense Reserve Fleet play a crucial role in our nation’s security,” said Maritime Administrator Paul "Chip" Jaenichen. “These contract awards will allow our commercial maritime companies to continue providing top-notch support to our troops who are stationed or deployed around the world.”

MarAd, which maintains the National Defense Reserve Fleet, promotes the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced, United States merchant marine fleet, sufficient to carry the nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. For more information on these ships, visit

A list of awardees is provided below. Detailed information about the contracts can be found at and at MarAd’s Virtual Office of Acquisitions. 

Crowley Technical Management, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
Four vessels: (two CAPE Ws, two TAVBs)

Keystone Shipping Services, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
Eleven vessels: (six CAPE D/Es, three CAPE Rs, two CAPE Ks)

Matson Navigation Company Inc., Oakland, Calif.
Three vessels: (CAPE Hs)

Ocean Duchess Inc., Houston, Texas
Eight vessels: (four CAPE Is, two FSS-West Coast, two CAPE Ms)

Pacific-Gulf Marine Corp., Gretna, La.
Six vessels: (TACS)

Patriot Contract Services LLC, Concord, Calif.
Seven vessels: (three CAPE Ts, two CAPE Vs, two ro/ro — Callaghan/Orlando)

TOTE Services Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
Nine vessels: (six FSS -East/Gulf Coast, one OPDS, two MDA)

* Award amounts include firm-fixed fees for the four-year base contract and two, two-year options, without future economic price adjustment, plus estimated reimbursable costs for eight years.

By Professional Mariner Staff