“Marine Operations in a Disrupted World” Looks at how to tackle problems todayMarch 1, 2021––…
Port Everglades received approval in January from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for a “Marine Highway” intended for a new transit route. This route will connect Port Everglades with Port Houston, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is considered an alternative to the current trucking method while offering increased efficiency in transit time.
According to MARAD, America’s Marine Highway Program is meant to “expand the use of America’s navigable waters,” and offers cost-effective means to improve economic effectiveness, environmental sustainability, public safety and security, and resiliency of the U.S. transportation system. MARAD reports that America’s waterways are underused; reporting in 2007 showed American water services carried only 13% of the nation’s ton-miles of domestic freight (America’s Marine Highway Report to Congress). Currently, there are 25 routes that operate as expansions to ground transport systems which serve to relieve landside congestion and excessive air emissions. The Port Everglades M-10 route traditionally operates under trucking transportation from Texas to South Florida but will now offer this alternative ocean option to effectively take trucks off the road thus, reducing emissions.
Economically, Port Everglades will benefit from the Marine Highway Program through federal funding which can be used to “…update vessels, make purchases, modify equipment, and boost the infrastructure of the port.” Additionally, the M-95 and M-2 routes open-up new opportunities for direct service to Puerto Rico from Port Everglades. As President of National Shipping Agencies, Inc., Torey Presti said, “We envision Port Everglades as the gateway for U.S. Gulf cargoes destined to South Florida and continuing to Caribbean and Latin America destinations.”
The economic advantages are not limited to Port Everglades alone. The Marine Highway also supports job growth with increased employment of mariners for both times of peace and national emergency. The reduction in trucking will reduce highway congestion and bridge maintenance and increase economic competitiveness by adding new cost-effective freight and passenger transportation capacities.