MarAd Announces Marine Highway Program Changes

The U.S. Maritime Administration has announced a notice of funding opportunity for more than $12 million in marine highway grant funds and noted changes to program, including a renaming.

Formerly designated as the America’s Marine Highway Program, the grant program is now the United States Marine Highway Program.

Among the changes to the program codified in the James Imhoff National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, signed into law December 23, 2022, are provisions that no longer require those seeking marine highway grants to be part of a project designated by the secretary of transportation. The new program can support marine highway services that operate between ports on a designated marine highway route within the United States as well as between a port in the United States and one in Canada or Mexico. Products may be shipped coastally or along inland routes. However, the shipping must involve U.S.-flag vessels, and funds may not be expended outside of the United States.

Additionally, for the first time, projects that support bulk product shipment, liquid or solid, are eligible for consideration of a grant award.

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MarAd released a notice of funding opportunity for more than $12 million in United States Marine Highway Program grant funding on February 28. That amount is less than one-third of the $39 million awarded to 12 projects in October 2022, when the appropriated funds of roughly $14.8 million were boosted by $25.0 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In 2021, $10.8 million was appropriated for the program.

Of the $12,423,000 available for 2023, $10 million is new funding appropriated for fiscal year 2023, with the remainder consisting of unexpended funds from the previous grant program. Of the total amount, $300,000 will be deducted for grant administration and oversight, leaving $12,123,000 available for awards.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST April 28 via MarAd has scheduled a webinar on March 16 to discuss the process to apply for grant funds from the new program. For more information, visit

“Since the establishment of the marine highways program, MarAd has awarded more than $91.6 million in competitive grants to eligible organizations for marine highway services,” Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips said in a news release announcing the funding opportunity. “These grants have supported the development and expansion of marine highways, vessels and landside ports and infrastructure, which are critical to building supply chain resilience.”