Through MARAD's investment, the use of country's navigable waterways will be increased in order to ease land side congestion, basically for freight.

The America’s Marine Highway Program is dedicated to expanding the use of our inland waterways for freight movement. This round of grant funding will be used to continue that expansion and ensure that our waterways are used effectively.

... said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.

The granting package will go towards vital equipment upgrades which are the following:

1.Florida and South Carolina: M-95 Fernandina Express Container on Barge Service, $1.291.800 award

The above grant will enhance the purchase of marine terminal handling equipment major for the loading and uploading efficiency for the Fernandina Express container barge service between the Port of Fernandina and the Port of Charleston. The route the service will operate has demonstrated potential for growth and the creation of an estimated 110 jobs. Sponsors of the project were the Ocean Highway and Port Authority of Nassau County.

2. Kentucky, Louisiana: Paducah-McCracken Container on Barge Marine Highway Project, $480.000 award

The funding will boost the purchase of facility and transportation equipment at a Baton Rouge facility that will be used to load and unload containers. The Paducah-McCracken Container on Barge Marine Highway will be located at the confluence of five inland waterways while operate to the international Louisiana's export ports. The project was sponsored by the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority.

3. Louisiana: Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle of the M-55, $1.040.000 award

Sponsored by SEACOR AMH, the investment will purchase six purpose-built barges and lease one towboat. The vessels will be used to support the growing Port Allen to New Orleans container shuttle. A th the same time will aid stimulate the U.S. shipbuilding industry on America’s inland waterways.

4. Michigan: Lake Erie Shuttle, $1.101.735 award

Port of Monroe is the main sponsor of the project which will be used to support the Lake Erie Shuttle Service, involving the purchase and installation of a crawler crane and the training associated with its use.

5. Oregon: Port of Morrow M-84 Barge Service Expansion, $1.623.200 award

Sponsored by the Port of Morrow, the funding is set to boost the expansion of barges services from the Port of Morrow to Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Washington; and Longview, Washington. Moreover, the expansion will cover the enhancement of two marine terminals that will allow the port greater entry to the region while growing the economic potential in this rural area.

6.Texas: Houston Gateway and Gulf Container on Barge Central Node, $180.000 award

The grant focus on supporting the development of an Operational Plan. Sponsored by the Port of Houston Authority, the planning efforts and outcomes from this study will provide the necessary data to establish a business case in order to enhance hipping container movements by barge between terminals.

7. Virginia: James River Expansion Project, $189.840 award

The funding is going to support the existing James River Expansion Project on M-64.  The equipment will give a boost in the Richmond Marine Terminal, offering a more efficient barge service operation to current and potential customers. It was sponsored by the Port of Virginia.

8.Virginia: Wallops Island M-95 Intermodal Barge Service,  $96.425 award

With sponsor the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, the grant will be used to design a new trestle and combination dock/ramp to support the loading and unloading of barges and research vessels at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). The project aims to advance public safety, generate jobs in a rural area and grow the site capabilities of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

9.Washington: Seattle-Bainbridge Island Ferry Service, $1.500.000 award

Sponsored by the Washington State Ferries, the grant will be used to support the conversion of one of the two ferries used in the Seattle-Bainbridge Island Ferry Service from diesel to hybrid, resulting in a significant reduction in emissions.

This $7.5 million investment will improve our country’s vital fuel-efficient waterway transportation system, which makes an important contribution to exports and economic growth.

... the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao concluded.