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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Economic Security

A Strong Maritime Transportation System equals Security in the Global Market.

What makes a strong maritime transportation system? As the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation, MARAD knows that a maritime transportation system must be safe, secure, environmentally-sustainable, and designed to further national security and economic security in an increasingly globalized world.

How do we do it?

MARAD works day and night to maintain the U.S. maritime transportation system in a way that supports Economic security. But how? In short: efficient use of our navigable waterways, well-managed ports, and competitiveness in international trade. We do this by: 

  • Working to increase the use of our nation’s vast navigable waterways network by fully incorporating them into the greater U.S. transportation system, especially where marine transportation services are more efficient, effective, and sustainable (U.S. Marine Highway Program)
  • Giving our ports the tools and resources they need to improve infrastructure, increase efficiency, accommodate the largest international carriers, and boost international trade 
  • Ensuring, through Cargo Preference and International Agreements, that the U.S. maintains a fleet of private commercial oceangoing carriers able to compete in the international shipping market 
  • Taking advantage of the U.S. energy boom by helping our companies explore new offshore export opportunities (Deepwater Ports)

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of a strong maritime transportation system are immediate and self-reinforcing. Improved waterborne infrastructures relieve the growing congestion on highways and rail lines. We obtain better access to 95% of the world’s markets overseas, grow our domestic and foreign trade, help maintain hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs, and play a critical role in promoting America's energy independence. But the benefits go beyond the economy. Policies and programs supporting the U.S. maritime transportation system enable us to project power on a global scale and maintain national security, with our U.S.-flag carriers supporting military operations by transporting equipment, fuel, and other provisions needed to successfully engage our adversaries. We can also respond to a crisis anywhere in the world.


For questions about any aspect of MARAD's Economic Security strategy or programs, contact the Office of the Administrator.