NOAA 2001-071
Contact: Stephanie Balian

NOAA and Partners Promote the Nation's Marine Transportation System at First Marine Transportation Industry Fair

Today, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration joins the Departments of Transportation, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and key transportation industry representatives at the first Marine Transportation Industry Fair in Washington, D.C. The event promotes the Marine Transportation System and highlights its importance to the nation's economy.

"The Marine Transportation System is a vital link in the safe and efficient movement of people and freight in this country. NOAA is proud to join its federal partners and industry representatives in promoting MTS," said Scott Gudes, NOAA's acting administrator. "NOAA plays a vital role by providing essential navigation services, spill response and restoration, search and rescue services, and coastal management expertise," added Gudes.

As the world's leading maritime and trading nation, the United States relies on an effective and efficient marine transportation system. The MTS consists of waterways, ports and intermodal connections, which allow the various modes of transportation, vessels, pipelines, rail and trucks to move people and goods. The system includes:

  • Over 1,000 harbor channels
  • 25,000 miles of inland, intracoastal, and coastal waterways
  • Over 300 ports
  • More than 3,700 terminals handling passengers and cargo movement
  • 152,000 miles of rail
  • 460,000 miles of pipelines
  • 45,000 miles of interstate highways

"I support the Bush Administration's efforts to address the need to expand and modernize the capacity of our nation's Maritime Transportation System," said U.S. Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine. "I intend to hold hearings later this year to get input from the federal government and private industry on how to best meet the demands of increasing commercial traffic and trade."

This industry fair brings federal agencies and nearly 30 transportation industry corporations and non-governmental organizations together for the first time to showcase the latest advancements in the Marine Transportation System.

"MTS offers an indispensable, but underutilized, component of our multimodal transportation network, offering a cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally safe mode of passenger and freight delivery," said Charles R. Raymond, president and chief executive officer, CSX Lines. "Today's event is a step in the right direction because this gives us the opportunity to help our citizens, opinion makers and national leaders to better understand the importance MTS."

  • Each year the MTS provides the following impact to the U.S. economy:
  • Moves over 2 billion tons of domestic and international freight
  • Imports 3.3 million barrels of oil to meet U.S. energy needs
  • Transports 134 million passengers by ferry
  • Serves 78 million Americans engaged in recreational boating
  • Hosts more than 5 million cruise ship passengers
  • Contributes over $742 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product
  • Employs more than 13 million people

"Our Maritime Transportation System is a critical transportation system for America and its international trading partners. There is not an American home or business that is not touched and impacted by it. When MTS works America works," said Admiral James M. Loy, US Coast Guard Commandant.

The Marine Transportation System Industry Fair is being held on the Mall adjacent to the U.S. Capitol between 3rd Street and Madison Drive, S.W., Washington, D.C., from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

For more information on the Marine Transportation System please visit

Additional information on NOAA's role can be found at