The U.S. Maritime Administration has announced a new designation to America’s Marine Highway Program that MARAD said is expected to strengthen domestic trade between Alaska, Hawaii and the Northwest Seaport Alliance.
The new Northwest Connect Project Designation on the M-5 Marine Highway Route, which the NWSA and the Port of Alaska jointly applied for last year, would help bolster opportunities for federal funding that could help freight movement from Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state.
“The importance of resilient maritime infrastructure and a strong partnership between the Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Port of Alaska is not lost on us,” Port of Alaska Director Steve Ribuffo said. “As important as the survival of this supply chain is, it’s clear to us that what is good for one of us is good for the other. The creation of Northwest Connect only strengthens those bonds of cooperation between us.”
Nearly $40 million in AMHP grants are available this year, with funding coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the FY 2022 Appropriations Act, according to the NWSA.
“Seattle and Tacoma have long been a critical link in supporting freight movement between Washington and Alaska,” Port of Tacoma Commission President and NWSA 2022 Co-Chair Don Meyer said. “This project designation will enable the NWSA and our domestic shipping operators such as TOTE, Matson and Lynden to access infrastructure funding that will support increased trade and job opportunities in our gateway.”