As part of its ambitious plan to develop a National Maritime Strategy, the Maritime Administration is again reaching out to the maritime community to identify key components of a first-ever policy that will chart a future course for the U.S. maritime industry.

A second National Maritime Strategy Symposium is set for next Tuesday, May 6, in Washington, D.C., coming four months after the inaugural meeting  brought together some 200 stakeholders willing to offer their views on how to strengthen the country’s marine transportation system. That first session focused on ways to expand cargo opportunities for the U.S. flag fleet in international trade, which has been on the decline in recent decades.

The second meeting will take on issues of importance to domestic shipping, with particular emphasis on inland waterways, ports and shipyards.

In developing the agenda for this session, Marad asked for ideas from the maritime industry. There were not too many responses, but the ones I read through the website offered an interesting window on what some in the industry have on their minds.

John Graykowksi, a former deputy and acting Marad administrator who is now consulting on liquified natural gas issues, suggested that the symposium include a discussion of LNG as a transportation fuel and of regulations that might affect development of the LNG market. He said interest in LNG has been growing and several major new vessel construction projects are underway.

Duncan Smith of the U.S. Superyacht Association, suggested federal shipbuilding grants should be made available for construction and repair of recreational vessels in order to bolster this segment the shipbuilding industry. “Recreational vessel shipyards are a growing and expanding part of the maritime industry, and they should be an integral part of the National Maritime Strategy,” he said.

Joan Bondareff, a Washington maritime attorney and former chef counsel and acting deputy administrator at Marad, said the agency’s Title IX loan guarantee program for shipbuilding has grown so cumbersome that it needs to be streamlined. She proposed that a second tier loan guarantee program for smaller projects like ferries should be considered. She also suggested that the symposium discuss ways to encourage development of the short-sea shipping market.

The meeting will be held at Marad headquarters in Washington, and is open to the public. Participants will have the chance to speak at the various break-out sessions and offer their ideas for the national strategy.

For those who can’t attend, the session can be followed by telephone or online.

For details, click here.

For a review of the first symposium, click here.


Pamela Glass is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for WorkBoat. She reports on the decisions and deliberations of congressional committees and federal agencies that affect the maritime industry, including the Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to coming to WorkBoat, she covered coastal, oceans and maritime industry news for 15 years for newspapers in coastal areas of Massachusetts and Michigan for Ottaway News Service, a division of the Dow Jones Company. She began her newspaper career at the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. A native of Massachusetts, she is a 1978 graduate of Wesleyan University (Conn.). She currently resides in Potomac, Md.