Conference Hopes To Respark US Marine Highways

Truck Traffic on a bridge
Photo by Novikov Aleksey, Shutterstock

Roads around the New York metro area, and up and down many parts of the East Coast, are increasingly congested. The congestion increases air pollution, leads to poor roads, and slows the flow of people and goods throughout the region. Heavy cargo transported on trucks have damaged our roads and bridges.

Most other maritime nations (especially in Europe) are well ahead the US in efforts to move cargo traffic off the roads and onto ships. These marine highways are developing to enable and sustain what is called short-sea shipping, where freight is carried over water for shorter distances than traditional shipping operations.

“For marine highways to be successful in this country, we need to raise awareness of the advantages short-sea shipping has to offer,” said Capt. Eric Johansson, professor of Marine Transportation at SUNY Maritime College. “This conference is an opportunity for urban and regional planners, terminal operators, educational institutions and labor organizations to learn how to integrate marine highways into their policies and plans.”

On September 27, Johansson, with the support of SUNY Maritime College will host a conference in New York City  to discuss ways to move cargo transport off land and onto the water, thereby reducing road congestion and air pollution.

The Maritime Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has designated 25 marine highway routes around the country. One of them includes New York City, and the city government is initiating a marine highway solution to export municipal waste and other cargo through the Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn.

“The marine highway program encourages partnerships, improves the supply chain and creates new supply chain options that use our waterways.” said US Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby in recent testimony to congress. “America’s Marine Highway projectsalso allow for the optimization of equipment relocation and help to reduce wasteful movement of empty shipping containers.”

The conference in September will feature speakers from American Maritime Partnerships, McAllister Towing, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ports America, Tote Services, Crowley Maritime Corp., Norfolk Tug Company, Red Hood Container Terminal, the NYC Economic Development Corp., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Harbor Harvest and others.

Click here to register OR here to view the full conference agenda.