Marine Highway Grants Target Supply Chain


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration recently awarded almost $12 million in grants to support efficient supply chains in marine highways.

Part of the United States Marine Highway Program, the funding will go to eight marine highway projects to improve the movement of goods across waterways, as well as expand existing waterborne freight services.

“Our country has always relied on American waterways to get vital goods where they need to go,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Today, we are delivering new funding for eight marine highway projects across the country that will strengthen our supply chains, improve our ports, and help keep goods affordable for American families.”

The USMHP also acts as part of the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal of flowing 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities. Of the nearly awards announced, $5.8 million will reportedly support projects within historically disadvantaged communities.

The grants can be used to purchase low-emission U.S.-manufactured equipment with the condition that all iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials are produced in the country. Additionally, funds can be used to purchase intermodal equipment that can alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.

Projects receiving funding include:  

  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Alaska ($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;
  • Kaskaskia Regional Port District in Illinois ($1,008,750) for the acquisition of eight shuttle cars, which are the final component needed to complete the infrastructure expansion;
  • Ports of Indiana ($2,250,000) for the acquisition of a new crane for the Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon in Indiana;
  • Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District in Louisiana ($3,320,000) for the procurement, delivery, and assembly of cargo transloading equipment, specifically a 220-ton crane and a 25-ton forklift;
  • Port of Beaumont Navigation District of Jefferson County, Texas, ($2,041,925) for the acquisition of two reach stackers;
  • Port of Bellingham in Washington ($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;
  • SeaTac Marine Services, LLC (STMS), also in Washington, ($811,965) for the acquisition of a Tier 4 forklift for Alaska-bound cargo; and
  • Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. in Wisconsin ($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.

“The U.S. Marine Highway Program is focused on increasing waterborne transport through the nation’s navigable waterways,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “By integrating our internal waterways into the nation’s surface transportation system, we will be utilizing a more efficient, effective, and sustainable option for moving passengers and large freight.”

Other Recent MARAD Funding

Earlier this year, in February, MARAD announced more than $660 million in available funding for the Port Infrastructure Development Program. The PIDP aims to modernize the nation’s ports and help strengthen supply chains, helping to reduce shipping times, costs and ultimately the costs of goods. The bipartisan infrastructure package reportedly provides $450 million annually in funding for the program.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity marked more than $662 million available in Federal Fiscal Year 2023. PIDP discretionary grants help eligible applicants including port authorities, states, local governments, indigenous Tribal nations, counties, and other eligible entities complete critical port and port-related infrastructure projects.

According to the DOT’s release, the grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that improve the safety, efficiency or reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports. 

MARAD will also consider how projects address climate change and sustainability, equity and workforce development objectives.

The DOT noted that projects funded included:

  • Installation of fast charging stations and other port electrification components and the development of a scalable plan for transitioning the port and local maritime industry to zero-emission technologies in Jacksonville, Florida;
  • The creation of an intermodal rail yard near an existing port terminal in Kaskaskia, Illinois; and
  • The modernization of electric and stormwater infrastructure and warehouse capacity for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in Cleveland.

In May, MARAD announced $20.8 million in grant awards through the Small Shipyard Grant Program. The funds are expected to help shipyards modernize, increase productivity and expand local job opportunities.

The round of funding was awarded to 27 small shipyards in 20 states. While a complete list of grants can be found here, examples of funding awards for painting and surface preparation equipment include:

  • The Thames Shipyard & Repair Company, Inc. of New London, Connecticut: $309,853 to purchase water-jet surface preparation equipment;
  • Fincantieri Marine Repair, LLC., of Jacksonville, Florida: $874,079 to support the purchase of a water blast and wastewater collection and treatment system;
  • ACBL Transportation Services, Inc., of Jeffersonville, Indiana: $1,000,000 to support the purchase of a 200x70 floating drydock for vessel repair, barge fleeting and cleaning operations.
  • Bayonne Drydock & Repair Corp., of Bayonne, New Jersey: $730,477 to purchase ultra high pressure hydro blasting equipment and telehandlers; and
  • Southwest Shipyard, LP., of Channelview, Texas, on the Mississippi River: $1,200,000 for blasting and painting equipment upgrades.

MARAD reported that, since 2008, the Small Shipyard Grant Program has awarded $303 million to nearly 350 shipyards in 32 states and territories throughout the country.


Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Grants; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Marine; Marine; Maritime Administration; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Port Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Shipyards; Supply and demand; Transportation

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