MTS Priorities and CMTS Recommendations


To address capacity issues, improve the efficiency of the Marine Transportation System, and reduce transportation congestion, the CMTS recommends the following eight actions:

  1. Work collaboratively to address Federal statutory, regulatory, and institutional requirements in order to improve MTS performance
  2. Encourage the expansion of shipping on the marine highways, including the establishment of a pilot program to designate marine highway corridors to use the waterways to relieve congestion on roadways
  3. Propose economic incentives for private sector investment in MTS infrastructure and operational technologies to make the MTS more efficient for existing and future needs
  4. Collaborate with State, local, and private entities to ensure environmental and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and to plan for land use in and near ports
  5. Share best practices and create incentives to encourage private sector interests and local governments to pursue initiatives for increased efficiency and environmental sustainability
  6. Publish valid, reliable, and timely data on the MTS, including cargo movements, capacity, and productivity
  7. Facilitate standardized terminologies, interpretations, and flow-through models to foster increased productivity
  8. Develop performance measures to assess the productivity of the MTS and the risk of potential infrastructure failures to the MTS

Safety and Security

To ensure and strengthen the marine safety of the MTS and to coordinate maritime security, the CMTS recommends the following seven actions:

  1. Coordinate existing Federal navigation programs to ensure collaboration, reduce duplication, and standardize terminology and presentation
  2. Deliver timely, relevant, accurate navigation safety information to mariners, including real-time information systems such as the Physical Oceanographic Real Time Systems (PORTS), e-navigation, under-keel clearance, high frequency radar (HFR) air gap technology, and Real Time Current Velocity systems at locks and those systems associated with development of the Integrated Ocean Observing System to improve navigation safety and efficiency and reduce the risk of accidents
  3. Encourage, coordinate, and support navigation technology research and development to enhance navigation safety
  4. Enhance and improve existing frameworks that plan for, operate, maintain, and mitigate risks to vessels and the environment and respond to accidents and natural disasters
  5. Ensure coordination among maritime transportation and maritime security policy-making bodies and programs
  6. Consider ways in which security measures impacting the movement of trade by water can be streamlined, and where economies and coordination can be realized between safety and security imperatives
  7. Work closely with State and local boating authorities and entities, recreational boating organizations, commercial shipping interests, and ports to reduce accidents resulting from competing uses of navigation channels and to increase and manage safety of the MTS

Environmental Stewardship

To protect the environmental health of communities and ecosystems that may be affected by the MTS, the CMTS recommends the following eight actions:

  1. Advocate transportation projects, technologies, and mitigation activities that improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce congestion in port areas and other MTS components
  2. Work collaboratively to foster the collection of data and information that will underpin environmental impact assessments and decision-making in MTS planning and development
  3. Support research and develop and implement practical strategies to control and mitigate effects on the marine environment from pollutants, invasive species, and anthropogenic sound and to reduce negative interactions between ships and marine mammals
  4. Ensure environmentally appropriate dredged material management
  5. Promote coordinated regional and watershed efforts of States, Federal agencies, and other partners to manage sediment, dredging and dredged material, point-source discharges and storm water runoff, oil or hazardous material spills, harmful anti-fouling systems, and sources of marine debris to restore habitat, reduce pollution, and plan for conservation and mitigation
  6. Support harmonization of State, Federal, and international environmental standards, policy, laws, and regulations through work with Federal interagency bodies, in the International Maritime Organization and other organizations, and implement international treaties such as those regarding prevention of maritime pollution at sea
  7. Support national and international solutions to environmental problems related to ship decommissioning and dismantling
  8. Encourage use of industrial land banks and formerly polluted industrial areas for MTS and intermodal transportation system facilities, and promote MTS development that avoids disproportionate impacts on minority and low-income communities

Resilience and Reliability

Consistent with the National Response Framework, to increase the resilience and reliability of the MTS, the CMTS recommends the following six actions:

  1. Provide coordination, expertise, and resources to ensure continuity of operations, essential public services, and the resumption of commercial marine activities following a disruption
  2. Develop reserve and surge capacity in the MTS and coordinate with industry on response and recovery operations
  3. Develop a coordinated approach to emergency permitting for channel restoration following a large-scale sediment deposit in navigation channels from natural disasters such as hurricanes that obstruct the channel and disrupt port activities
  4. Work collaboratively to resolve cross-cutting jurisdictional issues surrounding abandoned and wrecked vessels or damaged bridges
  5. Develop and promote national and international strategies for addressing potential climate change impacts on ports, waterways, and other vulnerable elements of the MTS
  6. Provide appropriate consultation and coordination with other policy facilitation structures, such as the Committee on Ocean Policy

Finance and Economics

To maintain and improve the infrastructure of the MTS, the CMTS recommends the following five actions:

  1. Study alternative approaches to financing construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of infrastructure projects, as well as environmental impact mitigation. This study will consider fees, taxes, and general revenue contributions for financing infrastructure projects, depending on the characteristics of the projects, and involve high-level discussions and collaboration with State, local, and Tribal governments, and also with private entities as appropriate on funding strategies
  2. Study approaches to prioritizing how Federal dollars should be allocated among competing priorities;
  3. Ensure that cost allocation takes into consideration environmental and human health costs, promotes economic efficiency, and that the allocations do not create unfair competitive disadvantages
  4. Study how best to coordinate the allocation of Federal funds for projects across Agencies
  5. Coordinate a CMTS membership policy recommendation to the President for congestion prices, which should be charged when appropriate. The revenues collected from congestion pricing can offset fixed costs and thereby reduce economic distortions
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.