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October 26, 2010

California Marine Highway project starts moving

California's Green Trade Corridor -- part of the America's Marine Highways short sea shipping initiative -- took a step forward today with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Port of Stockton attended by Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda and other officials

A $30 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant will help develop a viable waterborne shipping route between Oakland, Stockton and West Sacramento, creating a transportation alternative to conventional freight and cargo movement in Northern California.

Currently, international trade, imports, and exports, are moved almost exclusively by truck or rail in California. The TIGER grant to the ports of Oakland, West Sacramento, and Stockton enables a partnership that will use barges to move cargo along the inland waterway system from Stockton and West Sacramento to Oakland for ultimate shipment to the Far East. Vessel operations are scheduled to begin in early 2012.

"Not only will this project ultimately reduce air emissions from trucks on Interstate 580, it will also create new alternatives throughout Northern California to transport exports to the Far East," said Administrator Matsuda.

Federal grants will be used to purchase or upgrade port facilities and the equipment needed to make the marine highway system a reality, including:

the construction of a staging area at the Port of Stockton for cargoes dedicated to the new marine highway, and the purchase of two cranes and a barge to support the service;

the construction of a distribution center and the purchase of a crane in West Sacramento where freight, mostly agricultural products from California's Central Valley, will be "re-packed," into larger containers for transport on water; and

the installation of electrical supply at ship berths in the Port of Oakland, which will allow operators to shut down an ocean-going vessel's diesel engines while in port, further reducing the air emissions in this "green trade corridor."


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