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U.S. DoT Announces $12.6M in Grants for America’s Marine Highway

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Published Dec 15, 2021 10:40 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: The U.S. Department of Transportation]

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded $12.6 million in grants to nine marine highway projects across the Nation under the America’s Marine Highway Program (AMHP). The funding will help address supply chain disruptions, enhance the movement of goods along our navigable waterways, and expand existing waterborne freight services in Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

“These investments through the America’s Marine Highway Program will help us move more goods, more quickly and more efficiently,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “In this moment of record demand for goods and shipping, this is an important piece of the Administration’s Port Action Plan to strengthen supply chains, modernize port operations, and lower the cost of goods for American families.”   

By announcing these America’s Marine Highway Program awards now, the Department is making good on a promise in the Biden-Harris Port Action Plan to deliver near-term actions to address supply chain disruptions by helping to increase Federal flexibilities for port grants; accelerate port infrastructure grant awards; initiate new construction projects for coastal navigation, inland waterways, and land ports of entry; and launch the first round of expanded port infrastructure grants funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides an additional $25 million to support marine highway projects and to increase the use of our Nation’s waterways. The funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Port Infrastructure Development Program is roughly the same amount that has been invested in port infrastructure in total from all DOT-administered grant programs since federal investments in ports began. The AMHP promotes the increased use of the Nation’s navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, support new and more efficient transportation options, and enhance performance of the surface transportation system. The program works with public and private stakeholders to achieve these goals.

“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 as an alternative to land-based transportation,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “The funding announced today advances our ongoing efforts to help new marine highway services begin operation and to improve existing services.”

Since its inception, the AMHP has designated 52 Marine Highway Projects, bolstering jobs and local economies. Since 2016, MARAD has received $44.6 million in funding for grants under the AMHP. A total of 24 eligible marine highway projects have received AMHP grants to further improve the transportation system and national security by adding to the Nation’s strategic sealift resources and providing transportation alternatives, including during times of disaster or national emergency. 

All Marine Highway Grants award recipients must apply, comply with, and implement all provisions of the Buy American Act. Grant funds can be used to purchase low-emission U.S. manufactured equipment, such as container reach stackers and cranes, manufactured with American components and labor. These funds can also support U.S. shipyards to support the construction, modification, and purchase of American-made barges.  

Projects receiving funding are: 

Delaware and New Jersey

Cape May – Lewes Ferry (awarded $600,000) 

Project sponsor: Delaware River and Bay Authority. This grant will support a comprehensive ferry master plan to develop a new, modern, efficient, and cleaner ferryboat design. The master plan will serve as a comprehensive analysis of operations and service needs, and help determine the types, sizes, and number of ferries that are needed in the future. With a nationwide push towards a low carbon economy transition, the ferry system is capable of incorporating technologies within the vessels that can benefit customers as well as the environment, including electric vehicle charging stations.

Hawaii

Hawaii Commercial Harbors System Shipping Services (awarded $200,475)
Sponsored by Young Brothers, LLC, the grant funds will be used to purchase 99 forklift scales to enhance the newly designated Hawaii Commercial Harbors System Shipping Services Project. The scales will improve the safety and efficiency of Young Brother’s inter-island cargo operations by providing real-time weight information for cargo being transported. Currently, weight information is provided by the shipper.

Indiana and Kentucky

M-70 Barge Service in the Ports of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Beyond

(awarded $1,408,000)

Sponsored by Nucor Corporation, grant funds will support the acquisition of a Buy American-compliant bridge crane at the new marine terminal in Gallatin County, Kentucky. This site will transport steel products by inland river barge. The purchase of the new crane will be designed to lift 70 tons to meet market demand.

Louisiana and Tennessee

Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle Service (awarded $847,500)

Sponsored by SEACOR AMH, this grant will fund the purchase of 100 container chassis; support modification to the towboat wheelhouse; and enable one bareboat lease of a new 2520 horsepower Z-Drive towboat with Tier 3 engines. Funding for this project will support the continued growth of the Memphis, Tennessee to Port Allen, Louisiana container shuttle.

North Carolina

North Carolina Container on Barge Shuttle Operation (awarded $1,015,000)

Sponsored by Stevens Towing of North Carolina, grant funds were awarded foranEquipment Upgrade Project,which includes the purchase of a crawler crane, two spreader bars,and a forklift.Currently, containerized cargo bound for the Port of Virginia from Edenton must reach its destination via truck, causing high amounts of volume on North Carolina and Virginia roadways. This service will run betweenRiverbulkTerminal in Edenton, North Carolina,to locations within the Port of Virginia, and operate utilizing a 200 TEU capacity deck barge for Lo/Lo cargo and/or Ro/Ro cargo. 

NewJersey 

Mid-Atlantic Barge Service(awarded $1,010,800) 

Sponsored by the South Jersey Port Corporation, this project willacquire two American-made, low-emissions reach stackers for the Balzano Marine Terminal at the Port of Camden, NJ. These fully mobile reach stackers will be utilizedterminal wide.Usingthese reach stackers, the Balzano Marine Terminal is expected to increase densification and throughput, creating a more resilient system of transport at the terminal. 

New York and New Jersey 

New York Harbor Container and Trailer-on-Barge Service (awarded $1,470,000) 

Sponsored by Red Hook Container Terminal, LLC., this projectwill be used tomodify a deck barge to begin the Trailer-on-Barge Package Delivery Service of the New York Harbor Container & Trailer on Barge Service. Upon completion of these modifications, the trailer-on-barge portion of this designation will begin transporting up to 36 trailers between Brooklyn and Newarkonone round trip per day, 260 days per year. 

Texas 

Chambers County-Houston Container on Barge Expansion Service(awarded $3,000,000) 
Sponsored byChamber County Improvement District #1,thisgrantwill support thepurchaseoftwo purpose-built barges.Funding this projectwill enablethe applicant to transport up to 56,000 containers annually to and from the surrounding ports. 

Virginia 

James River Container Expansion Project(awarded $3,048,363) 

Sponsored bytheVirginia Port Authority, the grant will be used toimprove lighting within the perimeter of the Richmond Marine Terminal(RMT)through the installation of high mast light poleswithLightEmittingDiode(LED)fixtures and the retrofitting of existing light poles and LEDfixtures.Expandingthe operational capacity at the terminal with improved lighting within the facility will allow for barge operations beyond daylight hours. 

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.