The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has designated six new marine highway projects and a new marine highway route as part of the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP). The AMHP encourages the use of America’s navigable waterways for the movement of freight and people as an alternative to land-based transportation. A designation through the program also makes projects eligible for grants when funding is available.
The newly designated route is in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The designation will allow the expansion of existing containerized freight service between Guam and the CNMI main islands of Rota, Tinian and Saipan. Nearly all commodities and household and commercial goods needed by local residents are transported through the islands’ seaports.
Project designations have been made in Guam and the CNMI, as well as Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and the west coast states California, Oregon and Washington.
The M-5 Coastal Connector Project will support a service transporting goods on barges between Bellingham in Washington, southern Oregon, and San Diego, California. This project would provide regional cargo interests with additional modal options, reducing truck traffic along Interstate 5.
The Guam Marine Transportation Enhancement Initiative will expand and promote inbound and outbound cargo within the islands.
The CNMI Freight Improvement Project will support the movement of containers between the Port of Guam and Commonwealth Port Authority ports of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
The Missouri River Container on Barge Project is intended to expand options for the transportation of goods on inland waterways, including agricultural commodities in containers originating within Central Missouri to ocean ports along the Gulf.
The Port Raritan Terminal Facility Project will support service from the Raritan Port in New Jersey to various locations in New York City.
The M-90 Transbay Freight Service Project will be the first in the AMHP intended to divert the transportation of large vessel modules and material-handling equipment from the highways to the waterways in Marinette/Menominee, Sturgeon Bay, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“These new project designations will improve the movement of freight by water all around the nation, including along our coasts, on our inland waterways, and to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “Making better use of our inland waterways can boost America’s maritime industry and create jobs while cutting emissions and traffic congestion.”
In May, the Department of Transportation announced the availability of nearly $11m in grant funding through the AMHP.