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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

Application Process

An aerial view of a port.

  1. After the property is declared excess to a Federal agency’s needs, an applicant initiates a letter of interest to the General Services Administration (or the military department, if it is surplus BRAC property) and the Maritime Administration to express interest in applying for a port facility conveyance.

  2. The Maritime Administration sends the application to the applicant, or the applicant secures a copy of the application from the Maritime Administration's website by clicking on this link.

  3. The applicant completes and submits a preliminary detailed application and Port Facility Redevelopment Plan to the Maritime Administration to acquire the surplus property.

  4. The Maritime Administration receives the preliminary application and reviews it for eligibility and to ascertain all required information has been included in the application (No decision on the application is made at this time.)

  5. The Maritime Administration sends a response letter to the applicant to confirm receipt of the preliminary application and to inform the applicant of any deficiencies in the preliminary application.

  6. For BRAC property: The Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) performs outreach within the local community of the surplus property in order to ascertain the community’s desired reuse of the property. The Local Redevelopment Authority makes a recommendation to the military department and to the Maritime Administration on the proposed use of the facility. (The plan referenced in step 3 listed above is considered preliminary because the intended use of the property at the end of the LRA process may be different than the use expressed at the time of the applicant’s initial interest.)

  7. Once this process is complete, the applicant makes changes (if any) to the preliminary application and sends it to the Maritime Administration as the final application for the property.
  8. The Maritime Administration sends a copy of the application to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration for consultation to determine if the property to be conveyed is located in an area of Serious Economic Disruption. The term “Serious Economic Disruption” is not defined in the authorizing legislation. However, the Maritime Administration relies heavily on the Department of Labor’s definition of Labor Surplus Area as the primary indicator of Serious Economic Disruption. 

  9. While the Maritime Administration makes the final determination, the Department of Labor’s finding provides a quantitative measure based on an existing standard. Additional factors can be used to determine Serious Economic Disruption, since it may exist in a variety of forms, including high levels of unemployment, low income levels, substantial loss of population because of the lack of employment opportunities, large numbers of business failures, sudden major layoffs and reduced tax bases. These additional factors may also be used to determine Serious Economic Disruption.

  10. A copy of the application is also sent to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to review viability of the applicant’s Economic Development Plan.
  11. The Departments of Commerce and Labor return their respective determinations to the Maritime Administration. The Maritime Administration then formally develops a positive or negative recommendation on the application.

Favorable Recommendations

For a recommendation in favor of a particular applicant, a letter requesting assignment of the property is sent to the General Services Administration (or the military department) with a copy to the applicant, requesting assignment of the property to the Maritime Administration for conveyance to the applicant. The Maritime Administration must convey the property to the applicant within 45 days of assignment. NOTE: The Maritime Administration will never take possession or hold title to the property.

Unfavorable Recommendations

If a recommendation not in favor of an applicant, a copy of the letter is sent to the applicant, as well as to the General Services Administration (or to the military department) explaining the reasons why the application was not approved.

Although the Maritime Administration works in concert with the General Services Administration (or the military department), the General Services Administration (or the military department) has the final approval authority to transfer the property. NOTE: The Maritime Administration only develops a recommendation for the transfer.


For details about the Application Process, contact the Office of Deepwater Ports & Offshore Activities.