This story was originally published on American Shipper on October 27, 2016.
The U.S. Maritime Administration said the grants will support five initiatives designed to transport freight on rivers to help relieve congestion on highways and reduce diesel pollution from trucks
The U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) on Wednesday announced $4.85 million in grants to support five initiatives designed to transport freight on rivers to help relieve congestion on highways and reduce diesel pollution from trucks.
The grants will help expand three existing marine highway operations across New York Harbor; operations along the Mississippi River between New Orleans, La. and Memphis, Tenn.; and on the James River between Richmond and the Port of Norfolk in Virginia.
One grant will support a demonstration project between St. Louis and Chicago and the other grants will help regional officials study a potential commuter ferry service between Virginia and Washington that can also be used by trucks, and a container-on-barge service along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Minneapolis, Minn.
MarAd awarded the first round of Marine Highway Grants six years ago as part of its effort to stimulate cargo diversion to coastal and inland waterways, especially barge services that haul containers. But the short-sea shipping mode, as some refer to it, has proven problematic to jumpstart without government subsidies because most shippers have been reluctant to sacrifice speedier transit times and the lack of dedicated port infrastructure for seamless transfer of containers from trucks to barges…