Are you concerned about the future of the U.S. merchant marine? Well, Uncle Sam is organizing a symposium in Washington, D.C., this month with the goal of developing a national maritime strategy to help boost U.S. cargo shipping.

After reviewing ideas submitted by maritime stakeholders in October, the Maritime Administration has put together a three-day public meeting from Jan. 14-16.

Sessions will focus on growing the U.S. fleet, increasing competitiveness in international trade, taxes and regulations, training the maritime workforce and international agreements.

“While it has proven to be strong and resilient, there is a need to improve and grow the industry to ensure the availability and viability of a U.S. merchant marine in the future,” Marad said in the meeting notice. “The purpose of this initial meeting is to generate ideas that will improve, strengthen and sustain the cargo opportunities and sealift capacity of the U.S. -flagged fleet engaged in international commercial trade.”

While the symposium will focus on bluewater shipping, there are implications for the brownwater sector, as the U.S. operates an intermodal marine transport network that relies on healthy coastal, ocean and inland fleets.

If you would like to attend the meeting, you’ll have to act fast. The deadline to register or submit a presentation is Jan. 8. Can’t make it to Washington? You can also register to speak by calling in or to listen by phone.

Contact Mickalyn Valentine at [email protected]
202-366-3907. For more information about the symposium:!documentDetail;D=MARAD-2013-0101-0064 

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.