United Parcel Service says it is running a pilot project to move trailers by barge across New York Harbor, an alternative to trucking on the region’s notoriously congested roadways.

The experimental shuttle runs a 4.5-mile route across the harbor between Red Hook in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bayonne, N.J. That compares to a nominally 19-mile highway route through Staten Island and over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

UPS is working on the project with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, Red Hook Terminals, barge operator Hughes Marine, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Marad is promoting more use of short-sea freight operations through its America’s Marine Highways Program. New York City officials are looking to a renewal of barge transport – once a mainstay of the city’s everyday supply chains – to reduce heavy truck traffic, pollution, and congestion.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, UPS has been looking at barge transport as an alternative to Steamship Authority ferries for getting its deliveries to Nantucket this summer, according to Massachusetts media reports.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.