CNMI is added to DOT’s new Marine Highway designation

Posted on Aug 23 2021


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration has designated six new Marine Highway Projects and a new Marine Highway Route as part of the America’s Marine Highway Program that will, among others, allow the expansion of existing containerized freight service between Guam and the CNMI.

The AMHP encourages the use of U.S, navigable waterways for the movement of freight and people as an alternative to land-based transportation.

A designation makes projects on Marine Highway Routes eligible for grants when AMHP funding is available. In May, the department announced the availability of nearly $11 million in grant funding through the AMHP, which will be awarded to advance marine highway projects previously designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

“These new project designations will improve the movement of freight by water all around the nation, including along our coasts, on our inland waterways, and to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands,” said acting maritime administrator Lucinda Lessley. “Making better use of our inland waterways can boost America’s maritime industry and create jobs while cutting emissions and traffic congestion.”

Since its inception, the AMHP has designated 46 Marine Highway Projects.

The Designation of the Guam and the CNMI Route will allow the expansion of existing containerized freight service between Guam and the CNMI’s main islands of Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. Nearly all commodities and household and commercial goods needed by local residents—including food, clothing, fuel, vehicles, construction materials, and medical supplies—are transported through the islands’ seaports.

The six project designations include the CNMI Freight Improvement Project: The designation of the CNMI project will support the movement of containers between the Port of Guam and Commonwealth Port Authority ports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The CNMI is exploring the expansion of its maritime capacities for the shipping of inter-island cargo and commodities to increase frequency and reduce shipping costs.

The Guam Marine Transportation Enhancement Initiative will expand and promote inbound and outbound cargo within the islands. Service providers transporting freight utilize U.S. ports in Hawaii and the West Coast before making their way through Guam and the CNMI. The Port of Guam operates as the only commercial seaport on the island and serves the regional population of more than 225,000, including communities on the neighboring islands in the CNMI.

The other project designations are the M-5 Coastal Connector (California/Oregon/Washington; Missouri River Container on Barge Project; Port Raritan Terminal Facility (New Jersey); and M-90 Transbay Freight Service Project (Wisconsin). (Marine Log)

(This article was originally published in

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