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New Marine Highway Projects Seek to Expedite Cargo Transportation

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Transportation announced April 8 the designation of three new marine highway projects.

- The Mississippi River, previously designated as the M-55, will serve as the primary route for the Baton Rouge-New Orleans Shuttle Project, a proposed container-on-barge service that should reduce congestion and bridge traffic on Interstate 10.

- The proposed Illinois Intrastate Shuttle Project, also operating along the M-55 from Chicago to New Orleans, is a container-on-barge service that will provide soybean and grain shippers a new routing option and is structured to shift about 5,500 containers in its first year of operation from Interstate 55 to the Mississippi River.

- The Lake Erie Shuttle is a proposed route that will carry cargo for shippers between the ports of Monroe, Mich., Detroit, and Cleveland.

A marine highway project is a planned or expanded service on a designated marine highway route that provides new modal choices to shippers of cargo, reduces transportation costs, and provides public benefits including reduced air emissions, reduced road maintenance costs, and improved safety and resiliency impacts. Being designated a marine highway project allows DOT resources to be used to assist public project sponsors, ports and other local transportation or economic development agencies in the development of the project. To be eligible, a proposed project must use U.S. documented vessels; transport passengers, containerized freight or trailer-based freight; and operate on a designated marine highway route.

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