April 21 - Applications are being sought by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) for the designation of "marine highways" and related projects for preferential US federal government funding. Applications are due by June 11, 2010.

A programme of promoting short sea shipping or marine highways was mandated by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which President Bush signed into law in December, 2007 as an attempt to persuade freight to switch mode from road and rail services to coastal shipping to fight air pollution.

MARAD expects that expanding the marine highways will reduce emissions, require less new infrastructure than land transportation alternatives, generate significant fuel savings, and increase resiliency in the surface transportation system.

However, these projects exclude the transportation of commodities in bulk or heavy lift break bulk movements, being targeted at capturing containerised traffic.