Page 13: of Marine News Magazine (October 2014)
Innovative Products & Boats - 2014
I was able to discuss with Secretary Foxx shortly after his arrival, and he got it right away. He clearly understood the importance and need for a seamless integration between maritime, rail and road, as well as how important this in- dustry’s continued success means to our Nation’s economic and national security. The Secretary’s support put a lot of momentum behind the development of the strategy, and it will enable us to take it to the next level.
Marad’s role is described by some as being “Ameri- ca’s Maritime Cheerleader.” But, it is much more than that. Tell the readers why and how.
While MARAD is a staunch advocate for an irreplace- able but largely invisible industry, we manage numerous programs geared toward keeping American freight mov- ing effi ciently by increasing the utilization of our Nation’s marine transportation resources and infrastructure. For instance, StrongPorts delivers development assistance to
U.S. ports, helping them continue to meet our growing population’s increasing demands for goods that travel by water. Additionally, the Department of Transportation announced the next round of Transportation Investment
Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER grants in mid-
September. Through the fi rst fi ve rounds, we invested over $420 million in 33 ports, inland and coastal both large and small. So ports and Marine Highways will continue to be well represented in future rounds of TIGER. The Marine
Highway program looks to improve intermodal effi ciency in freight transport by shifting from congested roadways and rail lines to underutilized rivers, waterways, the Great
Lakes and near coast routes, where it makes sense to do so.
This effort will become increasing more important when you look our Nation’s expected population growth by 2050. The addition of nearly 80 million more people will require us to move 14 billion more tons of freight than is currently moving today. So it is an absolute necessity that our marine transportation system be part of the solution.
Our fi nancing initiatives (including Title XI shipbuild- ing loan guarantees) enable U.S. shipyards to support the
Jones Act build requirement and in some cases compete globally to help our Nation maintain our essential ship- building infrastructure and capacity. That industrial base is a critical strategic asset to our Nation and can never be lost. Additionally, our national security programs ensure that the Department of Defense has assured access to
U.S.-Flag vessels and Merchant Mariners required to sup- port any sealift effort to support global projection of the
U.S. Armed Forces in the event of a contingency involving armed confl ict or national emergency.
Likewise, you also insist that logistical situations or short term inconveniences on the rail and road can also prompt shippers to look for a better way. Where have you seen that happen?
Several start-up services demonstrate how Marine High- ways are a viable method of moving our Nation’s freight.
Since 2008, the M-64 Express has been running a service between Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia. While it ini- tially operated once a week, demand doubled by 2012 and tripled by 2013. It has saved over 10,000 truck trips last year alone, providing public benefi ts in the form of reduced air emissions and savings on road maintenance costs. We’re seeing similar successes where geography and the right markets coincide, like with Couch Lines in the La
Porte, Texas area, and Columbia Coastal, which operates on the M-95 from Norfolk to Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Unfortunately, there are also challenges as we discovered with the M-580 Green Trade Corridor project, but we will take those lessons learned and apply them to future Marine
Marad is the only modal arm offi ce in the U.S. De- partment of Transportation that has – for the most part – little in the way of regulatory powers. How does this impact your mission to better the domestic wa- terfront and where do you make up for organizational shortcomings to make a real difference?
A regulatory agency has to maintain a certain degree of separation from industry in order to maintain an objective position and credibility in enforcement. One of the advan- tages that MARAD has in the absence of a large regula- tory role is that we are able to work much more closely with stakeholders and operate in a more effective manner as a partner with the industry. This allows us to roll up our sleeves and work directly to help the industry where it is needed. In that context, being largely non-regulato- ry is actually a strength, not a limitation. I will note that
MARAD was tasked in the Duncan Hunter National De- fense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 with enforc- ing the Nation’s Cargo Preference laws. We are currently in the process of drafting a proposed rulemaking and should have it be ready for government interagency review soon.
This will give MARAD a greater regulatory role once the rulemaking is implemented, but that, as you know, is a lengthy process.
Trucking, rail, air freight and maritime – they all form essential parts of the intermodal equation. Too of- ten, maritime gets lost in the noise. Beyond this, the trucking and rail lobbies are pretty good at what they MN 13www.marinelink.com
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