I had the pleasure to attending the first-ever National Maritime Strategy Symposium sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration ("MARAD"). It began on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 and welcomed industry stakeholders to the three-day conference aimed at supporting the growth of the U.S. maritime industry and ensuring the availability of U.S.-flag vessels for our nation’s economic and national security.
Taken from the MARAD website at http://www.marad.dot.gov/ on January 14, 2014.
On Wednesday the 15th, I was slated to speak on “Increasing U.S. Flag Competitiveness by Funding the Vessel Trade-In Program" and did so that afternoon. There was not enough seating in the room I was speaking in and the interest in helping MARAD develop a national maritime strategy, consistent and in tandem with the Department of Transportation’s national freight strategic plan was palpable. As stated by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, "More than 75 percent of all U.S trade is transported by water, making maritime trade a critical part of our country’s economy . We must strengthen America’s ability to move products on the oceans, lakes, rivers and waterways, and chart a sustainable future course for the U.S. Maritime Industry.” I could not have said it better myself.
The information gathered from the attendees is not only supposed to help MARAD develop this national strategy, it is also expected to help lay the groundwork for capitalizing on emerging opportunities and enabling the nation to strengthen its leadership role in the international maritime community. This was discussed at length at one of the breakout sessions I attended Wednesday.
The Maritime Executive reports that more than 250 people representing shippers, operators, labor, academics, and government entities were attending this event. The event was well attended and by a broad spectrum of the industry. I personally witnessed a lot of engagement during the time I was at this event and everyone was really trying to think inside and outside of the box to develop ways to improve U.S. flag competitiveness.
For those of you that are not that familiar with MARAD, it works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment and safety. MARAD advertises it commitment to maintaining the health of the U.S. Merchant Marine and creating opportunities for U.S. mariners and our Nation’s maritime industry.
If you are interested in receiving a copy of my PowerPoint presentation to MARAD, you can locate it at Vessel Trade-In Program or you may write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.