With the ability to move volumes of freight over the water seven times more efficiently than on gridlocked highways, ships are the “green” trucks on America’s Marine Highway. Emphasizing the need to improve and balance America’s transportation network to increase efficiency, stakeholders say that waterborne transportation of domestic freight would augment, not supplant, other modes.

“At the moment, the economy is underperforming. Yet even at depressed levels, our surface transportation modes are having a tough time keeping up. Meanwhile we face urgent demands to invest in bridges, highways and the crumbling infrastructure,” notes Metal Trades Department President Ron Ault. Beefing up the nation’s use of waterways would not add any significant costs, but it would allow shippers to coordinate more effectively and take some of the pressure off the infrastructure, he said.

The American Marine Highway promises to address a full range of economic and ecological issues—from infrastructure repair to greenhouse emissions to greater transportation efficiency. Click here to read a white paper on the topic jointly produced by an emerging labor and industry coalition that includes the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, the Seafarers International Union, the International Longshoreman’s Association, the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and American Feeder Lines.

The Way Forward