The Department of Transportation on Friday announced a new maritime advisory panel aimed at helping the Maritime Administration promote marine highways, restoring the panel two years after DOT dismissed its 29 members.
The Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council includes 29 senior executives representing shippers, ports, carriers, labor and shipyards. Many have shown an interest in short sea shipping projects.
Members include Jerry A. Bridges, executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, and Omar Benjamin, executive director of the Port of Oakland.
Both those ports have short-sea projects supported by Marad grants. The VPA's ports are the terminus for a tug-barge operation that shuttles containers to the port of Richmond, Va., on the James River. Oakland, is developing a tug-barge container service to Stockton and Sacramento, Calif.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said that MTSNAC “will help us increase transportation efficiency, improve the environment and grow the economy.”
DOT chartered MTSNAC in 2000 to advise DOT and Marad on a broad range of maritime issues, and help with strategic planning. After the last board’s charter expired in 2009, DOT unexpectedly dismissed all 29 members. Marad published a Federal Register notice for a new board in October 2010.
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