Last week the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced their plans of an expansion of a marine highway system in Alaska .

“By expanding our marine highway system, we can strengthen our supply chains, improve port operations, and help keep goods affordable for American families,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said during a press conference in Alaska to announce this new expansion.

Key Takeaways:

  • What are the benefits of the U.S. Marine Highway Program
  • Details of the expansion highway system in Alaska

Marine Highway System in Alaska

The U.S. Marine Highway program was established in 2010 and has 31 designated Marine Highway Routes – a navigable waterway that is able to transport freight and is located in the U.S. or its territories. The goal of the program is to expand the use of the United States’ navigable waters.

Per the U.S. Maritime Administration, some of the benefits include relieving landside congestion, reducing maintenance costs, improving the environmental sustainability of the U.S. transportation system by using less energy/reducing air emissions, improving public safety and security, and more.

The Marine Highway Route in Alaska will add over 6,500 miles to the marine highway system with the inclusion of the coastal and river ports in southwestern and northern Alaska from the Aleutian Islands to the Canadian border.

“Our nation’s marine highway routes are navigable waterways capable of moving significant quantities of freight at lower costs than other means of transportation,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips.

Many communities in Alaska also rely on a system of ports, rivers, barge landings, and airports for the movements of goods and passengers.

With the added expansion, it will further enhance transportation in those communities and provide a larger range of water related transportation options.

Looking Ahead

In addition to the Alaska highway system expansion, another marine highway system (M-79) has been added. This second one will add 250 miles to the Ohio River System, which will benefit Pennsylvania and West Virginia residents.

Should you have any questions regarding this and how it could impact your shipments, please reach out to our team today.

Additionally, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.



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