Short Sea Shipping Initiative

MARAD is actively investigating and promoting the potential commercial viability of short sea shipping. Short sea shipping is defined as waterborne transportation that does not cross an ocean. Short sea transportation along our Nation's coasts and inland waterways, is recognized as a reliable, economical, and environmentally friendly transportation mode that may help alleviate growing road and rail congestion.

FY 2005 initiative activities included sponsoring a comprehensive maritime industry stakeholder's conference, the Short Sea Shipping Cooperative Program (SCOOP), and participation in a study with the I-95 Corridor Coalition regarding the potential benefits of short sea shipping. MARAD's work with SCOOP and the I-95 Corridor Coalition is in the Cooperative Organizations chapter of this annual report.

The Third Annual Marine Transportation System (MTS) Short Sea Shipping Conference was held in New York City on October 13-15, 2004. This highly successful and well attended conference brought together more than 250 marine stakeholders, including transportation planners and executives to focus on future strategies for the development and expansion of North American short sea shipping services. Conference attendees clearly discovered that there is an "information gap" among transportation providers and shippers regarding the benefits of short sea shipping, and this conference began the process of closing this gap.

The Gulf of Mexico Trade Corridor Transportation Study (Study) represents the first time that the Gulf of Mexico will be examined as an integrated economic region across international boundaries with consideration of the balance among economic development, trade, transportation, energy, and other infrastructure issues. The Study is funded by a grant administered by MARAD. The final report, to be issued in phases over the next three years, will offer a "master plan" for infrastructure and economic development, port and critical infrastructure security, and environmental stewardship on all sides of the Gulf of Mexico.

The initial findings of the Study clearly indicate what has been dramatically underscored by Hurricane Katrina's destruction, the breadth of the Gulf of Mexico's vital marine infrastructure, and how that infrastructure supports the Nation's economy. The Study will focus on how to best apply the lessons of Hurricane Katrina to recovery efforts and how those efforts will impact future development of the Gulf of Mexico's transportation infrastructure--especially regarding the marine transportation system.

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