The Maritime Administration on Thursday released a set of 11 ship designs that could provide shippers an alternative to highway transportation.
The list includes six roll-on, roll-off vessels, three combination container ro-ro vessels, one small container ship and one ship to transport trucks and passengers. Marad last year identified 18 marine highways corridors along coastal and river routes where water transport of trucks or containers could relieve highway congestion.
Waterway services are mainly handled by tugs and barges, and self-propelled ships could provide faster delivery.
The Navy also has an interest in marine highways designs that could provide auxiliary military sealift capacity during a national emergency, and is providing $800,000 to further develop two or three of the basic ship forms.