What We Do

Key Responsibilities
  • Improve Federal MTS coordination and policies
  • Develop outcome-based goals for the MTS
  • Integrate marine transportation with other modes and other ocean uses
  • Recommend strategies and plans to maintain and improve the MTS
    (View CMTS Recommendations »)

The US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) was chartered in July 2005 and authorized in December 2012 to serve as a Federal interagency coordinating committee with the following responsibilities:

  • Assess the adequacy of the marine transportation system (MTS), including ports, waterways, channels, and intermodal connections
  • Promote the integration of the MTS with other modes of transportation and uses of the marine environment
  • Coordinate, improve coordination, and make recommendations with regard to Federal policies that impact the MTS

By charter, the CMTS is chaired by the Secretary of Transportation. Much of the day-to-day policy coordination and work plan establishment are handled by the sub-Cabinet “Coordinating Board” of agency heads and key office directors, including the White House. Over 25 Federal agencies and offices are engaged in the Coordinating Board, and the membership is growing. In 2014, the Marine Mammals Commission and the National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office were added to the roster.


The activities of the CMTS are guided by the 34 actions laid out in the National Strategy for Marine Transportation System (capacity/safety/environmental stewardship) and by emerging issues (resilience/big data/climate change). The yearly approved work plan is implemented through integrated action teams and task teams, agency leadership, and staff support. When an issue does not fall neatly within the purview of a single agency’s authority or when efficiencies can be gained by leveraging expertise from multiple agencies around a common goal, the CMTS can be a valuable tool for engagement.

The MTS is essential to the American economy; it supports millions of American jobs, facilitates trade, moves people and goods, and provides a safe, secure, cost-effective, and energy-efficient transportation alternative. The CMTS is working to ensure that the MTS continues to meet the present and future needs of our nation. This interagency collaboration has resulted in a safer, more secure, environmentally friendly, and efficient MTS.

The CMTS is a Federal interagency coordinating committee directed by Congress and charter to improve the coordination of and make recommendations with regard to Federal policies that impact the MTS.