Marine Highways Bolster Supply Chain Efficiency, Resilience

The new Marine Highway Route, two new Marine Highway Projects, and one Project Designation Extension include:

Marine Highway Route Designation
M-3 Kaskaskia River (Illinois):  The Kaskaskia River is the second-longest river in Illinois, originating in central Illinois around Champaign, Illinois and terminating at its confluence with the Mississippi River – a distance of more than 300 miles. The Kaskaskia River has been predominately used to ship bulk commodities of coal, scrubber stone, slag, grain, and scrap metal since it was established as a navigable waterway; however, 40,000-50,000 tons of unitized coil steel are also moved on this waterway with a new tenant expected to ship up to 1.2 million tons of coiled steel for processing and other uses once it constructs its processing plant. The Route Designation will include the existing freight traffic between the terminals on the Kaskaskia River and the Mississippi River, which will, in turn, open new opportunities to leverage private investment through public and private partnerships and support supply chain resiliency efforts.

Marine Highway Project Designations
Lake Michigan M-90 Marine Highway Shortcut (Michigan and Wisconsin):  
The Project Designation will support an existing ferry service that transports both freight vehicles and passengers across Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The ferry service is anchored by the SS Badger, a documented U.S. vessel and a historic car ferry that is owned and operated by Interlake Marine Services. The service allows freight trucks (including oversized trucks), along with cars, RVs, motorhomes, motorcycles, and other vehicles to avoid travel around the extremely busy southern route near Chicago, Illinois. The Project Designation aligns with the Administration’s focus on American jobs, including union seafaring jobs, and the reduction of carbon emissions across the economy, particularly in the transportation sector.

Northwest Connect: Critical Lifelines between Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington (Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington):  The Project Designation will serve the M-5 Marine Highway Route transporting containerized freight to and from Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Waterborne transportation is the most cost-effective way to transport goods between Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. Roughly 90% of the tonnage in and out of Alaska moves by water, and 98% of the tonnage in and out of Hawaii moves by water. The domestic services between Alaska, Washington, and Hawaii that are included in this Project Designation are estimated to save almost $1.565 billion in emissions damages alone compared to what would be incurred if the same amount of cargo was to move by truck, in the case of Alaska, or by airplane, in the case of Hawaii.  

Project Designation Extension
M-5 Coastal Connector (Oregon): The Port of San Diego is an original project applicant for the M-5 Coastal Connector Project, which received its America’s Marine Highway Project Designation in 2021. The original designation was for the planned service to transport goods on barges between Bellingham, Washington, Southern Oregon, and San Diego, California. The Port of San Diego requested an extension to the project designation to the Port of Umpqua. The Port of Umpqua is an important partner in advancing this Project Designation by loading lumber for discharge at the Port of San Diego and receiving empty containers for use by shippers in Oregon. This service will strengthen the supply chain link across multiple states.