The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today released a report entitled, "Maritime Research and Technology Development." The report reviews U.S. transportation research and technology development with special emphasis on the marine transportation system. The report reviews the history and future needs of U.S. maritime transportation research and technology development in the context of support for other transportation research
In summary, the report notes that more maritime research and development is needed to improve the ability to move goods, commodities and people. Future improvements in production and business transactions critical to the nation’s economic success cannot be fully realized without innovations in the efficiency and quality of the marine transportation system.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta said, “Increased investment in research and development efforts is critical to enabling necessary improvements in the marine transportation system. We must meet the nation's projected increased cargo flow demands in an efficient, safe, secure, and environmentally responsible manner.”
The report highlights that funding for maritime research and development is far less than similar funding for other modes of transportation. In addition, funding designated for the development of maritime infrastructure, which would improve cargo flow capacity, safety, and security, is far less than funding for other marine resources, like environmental protection.
The report notes that although government and industry committees under the Department of Transportation's Marine Transportation System initiative
are developing research needs in a collaborative fashion, a national plan, with priorities and funding mechanisms, must be developed and coordinated soon to marshal resources to build a strong and versatile Marine Transportation System. This is particularly significant since marine infrastructure takes decades to develop and the current flow of goods is expected to double or triple by 2020, overflowing the capacity of an already strained system.
Finally, the report recommends implementation of research and development initiatives through cost-sharing among the federal and state governments and private industry. In response to this recommendation, U.S. Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert is exploring options to build a research and development program for the commercial maritime industry at MARAD. The program will emphasize cost-shared cooperative research and technology development efforts between government and industry, and coordination with other maritime research and development efforts.
A copy of this report is available on the Maritime Administration’s website at www.marad.dot.gov.