A shipping company at the Port of Vancouver is expected to receive millions in federal funding for new equipment to improve its operations for containerized cargo while simultaneously cutting emissions.
More than $4.1 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration will be awarded to Tidewater Barge Lines Inc., the Columbia-Snake River System’s largest barge transport and terminal network, to purchase an electric dock crane.
In doing so, freight that would otherwise be transported on highways will now be directed toward waterway travel, Todd Busch, Tidewater president and CEO, said in a statement. Specifically, the new dock crane will help move an additional 3,000 shipping containers per year.
Tidewater anticipates that the design, review, procurement and installation process will wrap up by the end of 2023 or early 2024, according to a company representative. The grant will also be used to purchase a new crawler crane, a smaller and mobile piece of equipment.
Clark County and Vancouver partner with a waste management service that uses Tidewater to transport waste to the Finley Buttes Landfill in Morrow County, Ore. The barge lines send shipping containers 180 miles upriver to the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Ore., before they are trucked to the disposal site.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a senior member of the Senate subcommittee overseeing transportation and infrastructure appropriations, said in a statement that the federal investment will help prevent supply chain jams.
“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,” she said.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation chair also applauded the environmental component of the investment.
“Getting freight traffic off our roads and onto our waterways means less traffic, fewer accidents and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” she said in a statement.
The federal funding stems from America’s Marine Highway Grant program, which works toward employing the country’s underused marine highways — rivers, channels and coasts — by creating incentives for public and private groups to use them for transport. According to the Maritime Administration, this will extend the longevity of roads while reducing congestion.
For more information about America’s Marine Highway program, visit maritime.dot.gov.