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United States Department of Transportation

Booth TBD


       The Maritime Administration is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the U.S. merchant marine. The Maritime Administration works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. The Maritime Administration is also charged with maintaining the health of the merchant marine, since commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America’s young people about the vital role the maritime industry plays in the lives of all Americans.

       The Maritime Administration also maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sea-lift during war and national emergencies, and is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other non-combatant Government ships, as they become obsolete.

       Maritime Administration’s Office of Cargo & Commercial Sealift’s primary focus is to promote and monitor the use of U.S.-flag vessels in the movement of cargo on international waters. Collectively, the U.S. Cargo Preference laws (46 U.S.C. § 55302 - 55305, 10 U.S.C. § 2631 and 46 U.S.C. § 55304) require all U.S. federal departments and agencies to utilize vessels of the United States for all ocean shipments, or a minimum portion thereof.  Failure to do is a violation of law and penalties may apply per 46 U.S. Code 55305(d). There are no agency-wide or contract-wide “blanket” waivers to the Cargo Preference laws. These laws are designed to help maintain a domestic, privately-owned U.S.-flag merchant fleet that provides essential sealift capability in wartime or for other national crises, a steady stream of highly-skilled mariners, and protection against foreign entities attempting to undercut the U.S. maritime economy


Lalit Raina

1200 New Jersey Ave. SE

Washington, DC 20590

(202) 366-2314