Tidewater to Expand
Diverting these containers to barge will reduce annual truck trips by 1,020,000 miles
and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 5,776 annual metric tons.
Tidewater Barge Lines, Inc will expand its regional barge service on the Columbia River after being awarded grant funding from the U.S. Department Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The $4,168,759 from MARAD, combined with nearly $2 million in matching funds from Tidewater, will provide two new low and zero emission cranes that will enable the loading of additional solid waste containers on barges for shipment from southwest Washington to eastern Oregon.
"This award will allow Tidewater to barge thousands of additional containers that would otherwise be trucked along the region's congested highway system," said Todd Busch, Tidewater President and CEO. "This federal investment will help meet regional transportation demands and reduce emissions by supporting new clean technology to expand our barge service, which is the cleanest, safest, and most fuel-efficient form of transportation. I would like to thank the Maritime Administration and our members of the Washington and Oregon congressional delegation for all their work to make this project a reality."
Awarded through the America's Marine Highway Grant Program, federal funding will significantly expand Tidewater's ability to load, unload and barge containerized shipments. With partners, including Clark County, the Port of Morrow and Waste Connections, Tidewater will be able to bolster barge service by an estimated 3,000 annual containers. Diverting these containers to barge will reduce annual truck trips by 1,020,000 miles and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 5,776 annual metric tons.
MARAD funding will support the placement of a new electric, zero emission container dock crane at Tidewater's Vancouver, Wash., terminal that will load and unload containers 25% faster than the current 54-year-old crane. The grant will also enable the acquisition of a low emissions crawler crane for the second dock at Tidewater's Boardman, Ore., terminal. Combined with an existing gantry crane, the new crawler crane will effectively double annual throughput capacity. This grant will build upon previous awards made by MARAD to the Port of Morrow and Tidewater in 2019 and 2020 to improve terminal infrastructure and construct a specialty-built barge.
Tidewater' said its application for funding was aided by strong backing from the Pacific Northwest congressional delegation including Senator Patty Murray (Wash.), Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Senator Ron Wyden (Ore.), Senator Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), and Representative Cliff Bentz (Ore.), who each sent a letter of support to MARAD.
"Over the past two years, we've seen just how important our supply chains are to keeping prices down in Washington state," said Senator Murray. "That's exactly why I worked so hard to help secure these dollars to help keep goods flowing to families and keep costs down, all while cutting emissions. At the end of the day, this is going to make a major difference to cut emissions, create good-paying jobs, and continue to build a strong economy in Washington state."
"This is a model partnership I'm proud to support, improving environmental performance and economic opportunities at the ports in Washington and Eastern Oregon while reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions throughout the Northwest," said Senator Wyden. "This clean-energy investment is great news for our region and fits perfectly with the largest-ever investment in clean energy that I was proud to author in the Inflation Reduction Act."
"Getting freight traffic off of our roads and onto our waterways means less traffic, fewer accidents, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions," said Senator Cantwell. "This $4.1 million investment will allow an additional 3,000 containers per year to travel via barge across the Columbia -- containers that are currently moved by truck on our congested roadways."
"From the food on our tables to the roofs over our heads and the clothes on our back, we rely on ports and barge services up and down the Columbia River to move goods throughout our region and export our amazing Oregon products around the world," said Senator Merkley. "This funding from MARAD will provide crucial support to the shipping industry along the Columbia while cutting emissions and expanding the operations of Tidewater."
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