The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded nearly $12 million in grants to eight marine highway projects across the nation under the United States Marine Highway Program (USMHP). The funding will improve the movement of goods along the country’s navigable waterways and expand existing waterborne freight services in Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, which will strengthen supply chains and ultimately cut costs for consumers.
The USMHP exceeds the commitment of the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal of flowing 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution. Of the nearly $12 million in awards being announced, $5.8 million supports projects within historically disadvantaged communities.
United States Marine Highway grants can be used to purchase low-emission U.S.-manufactured equipment, such as container reach stackers and cranes, with the condition that all iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials are produced in the United States. In addition, funds can be used to purchase intermodal equipment that can alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.
Projects receiving funding in this round include:
- Alaska: The Matanuska-Susitna Borough was awarded $944,804 for the acquisition of a 75-ton rough terrain crane for loading and unloading cargo, freight, fuel, equipment, and other goods at Port MacKenzie.
- Illinois: The Kaskaskia Regional Port District was awarded $1,008,750 for the acquisition of eight shuttle cars, which are the final component needed to complete the infrastructure expansion at the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, which will handle 2.25 million tons of new coiled steel and move existing coiled steel located at the terminal to a new laydown yard.
- Indiana: The Ports of Indiana was awarded $2,250,000 for the acquisition of a new crane for the Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon.
- Louisiana: The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District was awarded $3,320,000 for the procurement, delivery and assembly of cargo transloading equipment, specifically a 220-ton crane and a 25-ton forklift.
- Texas: The Port of Beaumont Navigation District of Jefferson County, Texas, was awarded $2,041,925 for the acquisition of two reach stackers, which will be used as the primary equipment for cargo movements associated with the Port of Beaumont Container on Barge Service from the Port of Beaumont to Port Houston.
- Washington: The Port of Bellingham was awarded $1,021,747 for the purchase of a portable barge ramp for the Bellingham Shipping Terminal (BST) to support the movement of lumber, refrigerated and non-refrigerated containers, rolling stock and household goods between the Port of Bellingham and Port of San Diego as part of the United States Marine Highway Route M-5.
- Washinton: SeaTac Marine Services LLC (STMS) was awarded $811,965 for the acquisition of a Tier 4 forklift for Alaska-bound cargo.
- Wisconsin: Lake Michigan Carferry Inc. was awarded $600,000 to support a zero-emission/carbon capture feasibility analysis to convert the SS Badger from a coal-fired steamship to a zero-emission ferry vessel.