REMARKS AS PREPARED
MARK H. BUZBY
MARINE HIGHWAYS GRANT CEREMONY
NEW ORLEANS, LA
AUGUST 8, 2018
Good morning. It is great to be back in New Orleans. I want to thank Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao for being here today. The maritime industry is very fortunate to have her as our Secretary of Transportation.
I’ve visited this region many times in both my naval career and as Maritime Administrator, and the Marine Highway freight logistics system in this region is an important and strategic component of the nation’s economic health and national security.
It constitutes a “super-complex” of integrated, interactive ports, multi-modal connectors, and vibrant waterways along the Mississippi River and beyond.
The M-55 marine highway, for one – running along the Mississippi from Peoria, Illinois to the Gulf — is a critical transportation artery. It brings jobs, commerce and crucial resources to dozens of communities across multiple states.
And as we have heard, the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Container on Barge Shuttle being recognized today is a tremendous project that required many stakeholders, sponsors and regional maritime leaders to work together to bring it about.
Elsewhere across our nation, applicants for each of this year’s Marine Highway grants also began thinking outside the box years ago.
They worked creatively and collaboratively to identify new partnerships and business liaisons. These were needed to secure the resources and funding streams to help them continue to modernize and upgrade their ports and intermodal connectors.
It is exactly what we, at the Maritime Administration, have been encouraging our stakeholders to do if this industry is going to continue grow and thrive in a very competitive environment.
The projects receiving grants this year all reflect that kind of collaborative ingenuity. And each will serve to expand the use of Marine Highways nationwide, and make waterborne transport a more routine option for shippers.
This kind of forward thinking represents hope for the future of maritime transportation, and goes a long way toward showing the nation how it’s done.
As Maritime Administrator, I will be watching closely and cheering you on. Congratulations to all, again, on a job well done.