He (Matsuda) also said Marad is committed to moving the concept of marine highways – also known as short-sea shipping or container-on-barge – from the talking stage into concrete action. He said the Department of Transportation recently identified 16 corridors in the U.S. that hold promise as marine highways, and that the Obama administration has allocated $215 million to marine highway and port projects.
“This is a tough time to be looking for federal money, but this administration has opened up new opportunities for our industry to compete on a level playing field with other transport modes,” Matsuda said. “And we’ve done very well.”
He unveiled three of 11 new concept designs, developed by Marad naval architects, for vessels that could be used in marine highway projects. They involve RoRo, RoCon and feeder ship designs.
The RoRo design envisions a 24-knott vessel that is 682-feet long, with a beam of 93.5 feet and a 23 foot draft. The RoCon, 22-knott ship, would be 660-feet long with a 25-foot draft and a 105 foot beam, and the 18-knott feeder ship would be 497 feet long, with a 81.4 foot beam and a draft of 74.9 feet.
“These are modern, marine highway vessels that I know can be built in U.S. shipyards,” Matsuda said. “We’ve signed an agreement with the U.S. Navy to advance this to the next stage of development.”
The administrator also said that he’s observed the “beginnings” of a recovery in shipbuilding. “I’m not here to declare victory,” he said. “We still have a long way to go and I’m asking you to continue to work with us.”
To quote the Everly Brothers: “Dreaeaeaming…dream…dream…dream…Dreaeaeaming!”