Background

The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has issued a final rule that will update its regulations implementing the America’s Marine Highway Program as of Dec. 31.

The AMHP seeks to integrate the use of navigable waterways (rivers, bays, coastal routes, etc.) into the U.S. surface transportation system to reduce freight and passenger travel delays caused by congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy, improve safety, and reduce landside infrastructure maintenance costs. More information is available here.

Changes to the AMHP regulations being made by this final rule include the following.

- updating the definition of short sea transportation and expanding the purpose of the AMHP to include promoting short sea transportation

- expanding the definition of AHMP-eligible cargo to include discrete units or packages that are handled individually, palletized, or unitized as well as freight vehicles carried aboard commuter ferry boats

- adding a requirement for project sponsors to provide updates on project status and clarifying the criteria for project designation

- expanding the eligibility criteria for services and routes that may participate in the AMHP

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