MarAd awards $39 million to 12 Marine Highway projects

(WASHINGTON) – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MarAd) has awarded nearly $39 million in grants to 12 projects across the nation under the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP).

The funding will help expand marine highway services on the nation’s navigable waterways to reduce congestion, alleviate supply chain bottlenecks, and move goods more quickly from ships to shelves.

“At a time of record demand for goods, it’s more important than ever to strengthen our supply chains so our manufacturers can grow and American families can get the things they need quickly and affordably,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “(This) announcement will help improve our marine highway system across the country, alleviating congestion, modernizing port operations, and ultimately lowering the cost of goods for American families.”

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the AMHP received an additional $25 million in funding this year — the largest single investment in the program.

MarAd photo

“America’s Marine Highway Program is an innovative program that encourages the use of America’s navigable waterways for the movement of freight and people, reducing congestion on land-based transportation,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “The funding … advances our ongoing efforts to help new marine highway services begin operation and to improve existing services.”

Since its inception, the AMHP has designated 58 Marine Highway projects, bolstering jobs and local economies across the country. In this round of funding, 12 Marine Highway grants were awarded.

All Marine Highway grant recipients must apply, comply with, and implement all requirements of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s “Buy America, Build America” provisions. Grant funds can be used to purchase low-emission U.S.-manufactured equipment, such as container reach stackers and cranes, as long as all iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials are produced in the United States.

In addition, funds can be used to purchase intermodal equipment—such as U.S.-manufactured container chassis — that can alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.

Projects receiving funding are:

Helena Harbor M-55 Container-on-Barge Project (awarded $2,872,414), West Helena/Phillips Count Port Authority — The America’s Marine Highway funds will go toward purchasing equipment to operate the terminal and equip the bridge crane to handle containers. Investments will provide improved access to the terminal and equipment will provide efficient and effective material handling capabilities.

California and Washington
M-5 Coastal Connector (awarded $5,550,000), San Diego Unified Port Authority District — Funds will go toward infrastructure upgrades at the Port of San Diego that will be deployed to handle cargo on the proposed service. The West Coast M-5 Coastal Connector service will use a barge to move building materials, including lumber, as well as containers and general cargo along a U.S. West Coast north/south route to strengthen supply chain resiliency and help address regional supply chain delays.

Guam Marine Transportation Enhancement Initiative (awarded $5,703,560), Port Authority of Guam — Funds will go toward expanding the port’s fleet of specialized container yard equipment. The equipment includes two 40-ton loaded container handlers; three 10-ton empty container handlers; five 5.5-ton forklifts; one 180-foot boom lift; nine container yard tractors; and two 40-plug mobile reefer generators.

Illinois and Missouri
M-55/M-35 Marine Highway Barge Project (awarded $2,418,500), Midcoast Terminal (SCF Lewis and Clark Terminal LLC) — Funds will go toward the purchase of four modern, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly Hyster forklifts, a Manitowoc cable crane to load/unload unitized cargo onto barges, and a barge winch system to load/unload unitized cargo onto barges as well. This equipment will be located at the Port Authority of St. Louis’ Municipal River Terminal, America’s Central Port (Granite City, Ill.), and the Madison Harbor (Madison, Ill.).

Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle Service Barge Expansion Project (awarded $1,050,000), SEACOR AMH LLC — Funds will go toward the purchase of 70 chassis that will be used to support the continued growth of the Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle Service by increasing cargo handling capacity to reduce landside congestion and reducing air emissions by taking diesel trucks off the road.

New Jersey
Port Raritan Terminal Facility development planning grant application (awarded $1,128,889), Federal Business Centers (FBC) — Funds will go toward conducting preliminary design and environmental investigation activities to develop the Port Raritan Terminal Facility for active maritime use.

New York
New York Harbor Container and Trailer-on-Barge Service (awarded $5,160,000), New York City Department of Small Business Services —Funds will go to upgrade six landings in New York Harbor to enable these sites to accommodate freight by water. Each of these sites contains appropriate upland conditions necessary for the conveyance of “last-mile” goods to local destinations but lacks the necessary landing infrastructure to dock watercraft and move cargo to staging areas and roadways for delivery. The project would install floating platforms with appropriate tie-up and vessel docking hardware to successfully secure vessels and allow for unloading via crane, hand truck, “e-bike” or motorized vehicle.

New York
Oswego Port Great Lakes Container Service Reach Stacker Project (awarded $754,000), Port of Oswego Authority — Funds will go towardsthe purchase of a reach stacker for loading and unloading containers. The reach stacker will be fully mobile, making it versatile for transporting and stacking containers at the port’s facility. The service will utilize a Green Shipping Line’s Jones Act-compliant vessel modified for containerized cargo. This vessel is not geared, meaning it doesn’t have a crane for container loading/unloading, thus making this equipment critical to enable operations.

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Maritime Transportation Service Project (awarded $2,800,000), Integrated Transport Authority of Puerto Rico — Funds will go toward acquisition of a barge to be used on the Maritime Transportation Island Service route. Funding this project will enable the Integrated Transportation Authority of Puerto Rico to improve the transportation of palletized and unitized freight from Ceiba to the islands of Vieques and Culebra. This system will move commercial trucks, wheeled construction equipment, fuel, and water tankers trucks between the main island of Puerto Rico and the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra.

Richmond Marine Terminal (RMT) wharf improvements (awarded $3,712,000), Virginia Port Authority — Funds will go toward improving the wharf to enable two barges to be worked at the same time at RMT. The RMT was opened in 1940 as a general cargo terminal and, while site improvements have been made to bring the terminal up to contemporary standards, additional improvements are required. The condition of the northern segment of the wharf will not permit the safe operation of two cranes working simultaneously and, therefore, is a barrier to the terminal achieving the projected barge growth: from a current yearly throughput of 43,000 containers in 2021 to doubling container volume by 2026.

Washington and Oregon
Tidewater M-84 barge service expansion (awarded $4,168,759), Tidewater Barge Lines — Funds will go toward the purchase of an electric dock crane at the Port of Vancouver, Wash. This equipment will help meet the demand for additional barge shipments of municipal solid waste and other waste through the Columbia River Marine Highway M-84. This equipment will expand Tidewater’s ability to load, unload, and barge containerized shipments while using the latest electric and low emission technology to achieve significant emissions reductions.

M-90 Transbay Marine Highway Equipment Acquisition Project (awarded $3,303,649), Fincantieri Marine Group — Funds will go toward acquisition of three types of equipment that will facilitate the safe, sustainable and efficient transfer of project cargoes from shore to vessel and back to shore. The project advances the use of the nation’s navigable waters in Green Bay to relieve landside congestion, reduce air emissions, and generate other significant public benefits by increasing the efficiency of the region’s surface transportation system.

— U.S. Maritime Administration

By Rich Miller