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News Release
FOR RELEASE - October 10, 2020
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 254-7098

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

AAPA & MARAD Add New Marine Highway Projects Module To Port Planning and Investment Toolkit

New module geared to guiding ports toward fruitful marine highway project investments

The American Association of Port Authorities – the unified and recognized voice of America’s seaports – and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) have jointly announced the launch of a new module of the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit (Toolkit), called the Marine Highways Projects Module. The Toolkit and each of its now-five modules provides U.S. ports with a common framework and best-practice examples when planning, evaluating, funding and/or financing freight transportation, facility and other port-related improvement projects.

The easy-to-read, understand and execute Toolkit is the ongoing product of a cooperative agreement between AAPA and MARAD that began in 2014.

“This Toolkit will help the development of future port projects and improve the nation’s long-term efficiency and economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a press release MARAD issued on Oct. 8.

“AAPA recognizes the many infrastructure project needs and funding concerns faced by America’s ports,” said Christopher J. Connor, AAPA’s president and CEO.  “To help address these challenges, AAPA and MARAD jointly brought together a host of marine highway project experts to assist in developing this newest addition to the Toolkit resource. Our strong belief is it will help U.S. ports in developing ‘investment-grade’ project plans and obtain capital for their marine highway projects.”

The Marine Highway Projects Module provides an overview of America’s Marine Highway Program and educates readers on how marine highway services can become designated projects by USDOT.  It explains how to plan a new marine highway service, determine its feasibility and identify possible funding mechanisms.  This new Toolkit module will be updated periodically as new regulations and policies affecting marine highway planning, feasibility, and investment requirements related to the applicable laws discussed in the document are developed.

“By working together, we’re helping to support investments in our ports that will pay dividends for years to come,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.  “I’m pleased that the new module of the Toolkit focuses on investments in America’s Marine Highways, which can help reduce traffic congestion and related pollution by moving cargoes off our crowded highways and onto to our Nation’s navigable waterways.”

Additional information on the Port Planning & Investment Toolkit is available on MARAD’s website and on AAPA’s website.

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 industry solution providers, supply chain partners and academia with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Markit’s GTA Forecasting, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere seaports in 2018 totaled nearly 4.2 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.7 trillion in value. Of that combined total, seaports in Central and South America handled 1.86 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.17 trillion, while North American seaports handled 2.34 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.53 trillion.  Within North America, U.S. seaports handled 1.01 billion metric tons of international trade valued at US$1.95 trillion, while Canada’s seaports handled 380.53 million metric tons of goods valued at US$266.67 billion, and Mexico’s seaports handled 352.53 million metric tons of cargo valued at US$312.91 billion. To meet the growing demand for trade, AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:

Established in 1950 as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation with a mission to foster, promote and develop the maritime industry of the United States to meet the nation’s economic and security needs, MARAD is responsible for America's waterborne transportation system. At its core, the agency supports the technical aspects of America's maritime transportation infrastructure -- things like ships and shipping, port and vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. It promotes the use of waterborne transportations and ensures its infrastructure integrates seamlessly with other methods of transportation. MARAD also maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sea-lift during war and national emergencies, and is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other non-combatant Government ships as they become obsolete. Additionally, MARAD is charged with maintaining the overall health of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America’s young people about the vital role of maritime operations in the lives of all Americans.

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