A Department of Transportation program that helps supply U.S. military forces in the combat theater will continue supporting the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies under new contracts announced.
Tthe Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MarAd) announced that its all-cargo fleet of fifty-four Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships will be maintained by nine American owned and operated ship management firms under a new set of contracts that have an estimated total value of $1.9 billion over 10 years.
“We have seen first hand that the Ready Reserve Force provides a vital link to the men and women of the armed services by carrying thousands of military vehicles, aircraft and other materiel to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta said. “This is an extremely cost effective and well-run program that keeps us prepared to rapidly respond to the military’s needs.”
The RRF ships are kept in a high state of readiness at fifteen ports located on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of the United States
. Some ships also are kept in a prepositioned status overseas.
There have been 91 activations of Ready Reserve Force Ships
since December 2002. RRF ships have carried nearly 14,927,306 square feet of cargo – about 310 football fields of materiel.
Most of the new ship management contracts are built on a four year base period and include two three-year extension options that will be based on the company’s performance. The management firms are responsible for keeping the ships in a constant state of readiness and getting the ships fully crewed with U.S-citizen merchant mariners when an activation call goes out.
“The Ready Reserve Force has moved an extraordinary amount of cargo over the past several years and our nation’s maritime industry has kept this fleet in good working order and worked diligently to show its value,” Acting Maritime Administrator John Jamian said.
The Ready Reserve Force was established in 1976 and was significantly strengthened after the Gulf War in 1991 in order to ensure the military’s continued access to cargo capacity. Many of the ships have unique capabilities and have been used for humanitarian missions such as carrying aid to Haiti and participating in the December 2004 tsunami relief efforts.
A list of contract awardees, contract values and ships under new contracts is available at