Louisiana benefits from two Marine Highway grants


Two Louisiana port expansion projects will get more than $1.5 million in federal funding this year.

The grants are from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, which last week awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to nine Marine Highway projects.

The funding is for fiscal year 2020 and will be provided by MARAD’s America’s Marine Highway Program, which supports efforts to manage increasing freight volumes and reduce traffic congestion, working with public and private stakeholders.

“The America’s Marine Highway Program is dedicated to expanding the use of our inland waterways for freight movement,” Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby said in a statement. “This round of grant funding will be used to continue that expansion and ensure that our waterways are used effectively.”

A grant of $1.04 million will fund the Baton Rouge-New Orleans shuttle of the M-55. Sponsored by SEACOR AMH, the grant will be used to purchase six purpose-built barges and lease one towboat. The vessels will be used to support the growing Port Allen to New Orleans container shuttle. In addition to increasing the shuttle’s capacity, this award will help stimulate the U.S. shipbuilding industry on America’s inland waterways.

A second $480,000 grant will support the Paducah-McCracken Container on Barge Marine Highway Project. Sponsored by Kentucky’s Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority, the grant will be used to support the purchase or lease of facility and transportation equipment at an unnamed Baton Rouge facility that will be used to load and unload containers. The Paducah-McCracken Container on Barge Marine Highway service will be centrally located at the confluence of five inland waterways and operate to the international export ports of Louisiana.