U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has designated three new Marine Highway Projects — two on the Mississippi River and one on Lake Erie.
The projects expand designated marine highway routes in an effort to provide new modal choices to shippers and reduce transportation costs.
The Baton Rouge, La.-New Orleans shuttle project is aimed at reducing congestion and bridge traffic on Louisiana’s Interstate 10 by providing container-on-barge service between the the two ports via the Mississippi River, or the M-55. It is sponsored by the Port of New Orleans in partnership with the Port of Greater Baton Rouge and Seacor AMH LLC.
The Illinois intrastate shuttle project is also slated to operate on the Mississippi, moving containers between Chicago and New Orleans. The goal is to reduce congestion on Interstate 55 to the river, and the project is structured to shift approximately 5,500 containers in its first year of operation. The project, sponsored by America’s Central Port, Granite City, Ill., is designed to give soybean and grain shippers a new routing option.
Finally, the Lake Erie shuttle will carry cargo across the lake between the ports of Monroe, Mich., Cleveland, and Detroit. It is sponsored by the Port of Monroe.
In addition to new shipping choices, the transportation secretary’s office also cited public benefits, including reduced air emissions, reduced road maintenance costs, and improved safety and resiliency.