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U.S. inland waterways win support for 2017 and beyond

Here are six new Marine Highway projects along the waterways of 17 states and the District of Columbia receiving grants in 2017. By Patrick Burnson

Late last year, former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced $4.85 million in grants to six Marine Highway projects along the waterways of 17 states and the District of Columbia. 

The goal of the Maritime Administration’s Marine Highway Program is to expand the use of our nation’s navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, reduce air emissions, and generate other public benefits by increasing the efficiency of the surface transportation system.

“These grants will help us take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of one of America’s most crucial transportation assets—our coastal and inland waterways,” Foxx explained.

According to Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, the grants are essential in the ongoing development of our integrated, multi-modal transportation systems. “Our nation’s extensive network of waterways and domestic seaports provide an opportunity to help stimulate economic growth while reducing congestion on our national freight transportation system,” he says.

Projects receiving grant funding include:

Port of Baton Rouge and Port of New Orleans Container on Barge (Awarded $1,758,595).

Sponsored by the Greater Port of Baton Rouge, the Memphis/Baton Rouge/New Orleans shuttle service is a regularly-scheduled container on barge service that supports exports moving from the Baton Rouge area to the Port of New Orleans, where the containers are loaded onto container vessels. According to the ports, the service provides exporters with a waterway alternative to re-position empty equipment that would otherwise move via truck or rail. The operation, which will commence with five barges per week, could potentially eliminate about 12,500 truck trips each year.

Illinois Container on Barge Shuttle Project (Awarded $713,000).

Sponsored by America’s Central Port in Granite City, Ill., the Illinois Container on Barge Shuttle is an 18-month demonstration project to provide shuttle service for agricultural customers moving containerized exports between southern and northern Illinois to access the Union Pacific and BNSF rail ramps. The shuttle service will operate on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers between Channahon, Ill., and Granite City with an option to extend container-on-barge service to the Gulf of Mexico ports in concert with related Marine Highway Designation.

James River Container Expansion Project (Awarded $476,748).

Sponsored by the Port of Virginia, the 64 Express is an existing container on barge service that operates along the James River between Hampton Roads and Richmond, Va. The grant will support development of new customers by expanding the service to include moving refrigerated and frozen products on the barge. According to the ports, the 64 Express is already removing over 15,000 truck trips per year from congested regional highways.

New York Harbor and Container and Trailer on Barge Service (Awarded $1,632,296).

Sponsored by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York Harbor Container and Trailer on Barge is an existing service that operates in New York Harbor between Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Red Hook Barge Terminal in Newark, N.J. The grant will be used to purchase infrastructure that will support improved barge operations and the creation of a crane operator training center that will improve both safety and container throughput.

M-55/M-35 Container on Barge Project (Awarded $96,000).

The City of St. Louis Port Authority, along with three partners, including Inland Rivers Ports & Terminals, Inc. (IRPT), Mississippi Rivers Cities & Towns Initiative (MRCTI), and Upper Mississippi River Basin Association (UMRBA), are provided funding to support planning efforts focused on the development of containerized shipping along the Mississippi River, between New Orleans, Minneapolis and Chicago.

M-495 Potomac River Commuter Ferry Project (Awarded $173,361).

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is providing funding to support planning efforts focused on the development of a new commuter ferry service on the Potomac River. If fully developed, the M-495 Potomac River Commuter Ferry could reduce existing congestion on highways and interstates by providing shippers with more transportation choices between Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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About the author
Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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