SOURCE: TV Worldwide

September 18, 2007 07:10 ET

Federal and Industry Experts Tout 'Marine Highways' to Meet Urgent Need to Take Load Off Roads, Save Energy

Environmental Benefits Also Cited as National Town Meeting Webcast Participants Unite to Support New Federal Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 18, 2007) - Federal government and maritime industry experts presented compelling new statistics in support of 'Marine Highways,' a transportation and shipping concept that would use coastal 'short sea shipping' routes and inland waterways to relieve congestion on the nation's highways during a live national town meeting Webcast on Sept. 14.

Citing costs of $200 billion/year from landside transportation congestion, Roger Bohnert, Deputy Associate Administrator for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, described how just a single existing Baltimore/Norfolk east coast barge operation was removing 2000 trucks per week off the I-95/ I-64 corridor, with only one-eighth of the fuel costs. "That equates to removal of truck traffic occupying 8 miles of highway, three lanes wide," stated Bohnert. "America is blessed with an abundance of navigable waterways. Properly developed, the 'Marine Highway' is a way to remove the increased stress on the entire transportation system."

"The question is whether the federal government will be a disinterested observer -- perhaps until there is a crisis level gridlock on the roads -- or play a role in the private sector in determining how marine transportation will play an integral part of the surface transportation system," commented Paul Bea, Chairman of the Coastwise Coalition. "Today the demands on our transportation system and environment warrant additional government and public interest perspectives. Not subsidies, but incentives. Not interference but encouragement and partnership, if you will, in taking a systematic approach to surface transportation that includes water route options. That perspective today is visible in commuter ferry service that with government encouragement augments and connects with other forms of mass transit. Why shouldn't that approach be expanded to put more people, trucks and freight on vessels that can bridge harbor waters and add blue lanes to interstate corridors?"

The 'Marine Highways' concept is quickly gaining favor with policymakers, especially in light of recent concerns over the integrity of the country's landside transportation infrastructure. With bipartisan support for legislation currently before Congress (H.R. 2701), the 'Marine Highways' idea is being viewed as a smart, environmentally friendly solution to an urgent transportation crisis.

"We at the U.S. Maritime Administration are excited about our participation in this national Webcast to make the public aware of how our 'Marine Highways' are a cost effective, yet under utilized, method for the movement of passengers, containers, and bulk cargoes that is especially fuel efficient, safe, and reliable," stated Sean T. Connaughton, Maritime Administrator at the Department of Transportation. "Accelerated use of the waterborne transportation mode holds forth a special promise for tomorrow in reducing traffic congestion, enhancing freight flow, expanding freight capacity, and providing a new pathway for hazardous materials."

Webcast Panel Moderator, Vice Adm. Al Herberger, USN (Ret.), former Maritime Administrator, compared transportation on today's congested highways to be like "driving in the valley of the trucks" and made an appeal warning of the urgent nature of the situation. "The experts are telling us that trade is going to double and triple. The backlog of maintenance for bridges and highways is huge...we're not going to get out of that problem in a hurry. We have an alternative...water. It's there. We're blessed with it. In so many parts of the country, it's under-utilized. It's very simple; let's go back to the water. Time is running out on us."

The free Webcast was featured live and is now available for viewing as an archive on Maritime TV (www.MaritimeTV.com). The event was sponsored by K&L Gates (www.KLGates.com), which hosted the Webcast at its Washington D.C. media facility and Maritime Advisors (www.MaritimeAdvisors.com). The event was organized and supported by Tell America (www.TellamericaTV.com), a campaign to educate the public on the importance of revitalizing the U.S. maritime industry. The Webcast also featured a second panel, also now available for archived viewing that focused on important issues related to U.S. maritime security.

"This 'Marine Highways' solution has legs, which is why we experienced large traffic volume for the Webcast," said Dave Gardy, Executive Producer at Maritime TV and CEO of its parent Internet TV Network, TV Worldwide. "We're already seeing strong traffic for the archive of the Webcast also, as mainstream America becomes interested in the 'Marine Highways' concept."

"On behalf of K&L Gates, we're pleased to be a part of this National Town Hall discussion," said Darrell Conner, Government Affairs Counselor at K&L Gates. "There have been many important issues discussed here today and only through an exchange of ideas can we help solve the nation's transportation and security problems. That's what this town hall meeting is about."

Mark Yonge, Managing Member of Maritime Advisors, a consulting group based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., commended Tell America for organizing the Webcast. "We are most pleased to be one of the founding sponsors for Tell America's Webcast. Maritime Advisors has long been a participant and supporter in MARAD's short sea shipping, now America's 'Marine Highways' Initiative and a proponent for a short sea shipping national awareness campaign."

Webcast panelists included:

Roger Bohnert
Deputy Associate Administrator, Intermodal System Development
U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration

Paul H Bea, Jr.
Principal PHB Public Affairs

R. Adm. Norman Saunders, USCG (ret.)
Vice President for Corporate Development with Science Applications
International Corporation (SAIC)

Owen Doherty
Director, Office of Security, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime
Administration
Additional information about America's 'Marine Highways' Initiative is available at http://www.marad.dot.gov/MHI/index.asp.


Other information regarding the revitalization of the U.S. maritime industry is available in several recent Tell America event Webcasts (www.TellAmericaTV.com). These include the 74th observance of National Maritime Day on May 22 when representatives of the U.S. government, Congress, industry management and labor organizations united in appealing for what one dignitary termed a "revolution" to address a "looming transportation crisis" in the maritime industry. Most recently, on June 18, Maritime TV featured the live Webcast of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) commencement address to the United States Merchant Marine Academy's class of 2007.

About TV Worldwide and Maritime TV

As a pioneering global Internet broadcasting and streaming media company, TV Worldwide (www.tvworldwide.com) developed the first Internet TV network of community-based Internet TV channels, including Maritime TV (www.MaritimeTV.com). Each channel serves targeted, special interest demographic audiences worldwide, ranging from the community of people with disabilities to the Homeland Defense industry. Fortune 500 companies, 15 federal government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, and numerous International Associations, including the National Association of Broadcasters, use TV Worldwide's live and archived state-of-the art video streaming content applications and Internet TV channels. In recognition of the company's unique achievements in new media, TV Worldwide was selected by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) to Webcast the 58th annual Emmy awards for Technology and Engineering in December of 2006. TV Worldwide has been named one of the streaming video industry's "Hottest Streaming Companies" by Streaming Magazine and CEO Dave Gardy was honored by the magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Streaming Media. Mr. Gardy also currently serves as the President of the International Webcasting Association (IWA) (www.Webcasters.org).

About K&L Gates (www.KLGates.com)

Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP ("K&L Gates") -- the January 1, 2007 combination of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham ("K&LNG") and Preston Gates & Ellis ("PGE") -- comprises approximately 1,400 lawyers who practice in offices located in Anchorage, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Coeur d'Alene, Dallas, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, Taipei and Washington. Because the complex issues that affect the maritime industry in the U.S. and internationally often touch more than one branch of government, from its earliest roots the maritime practice of the firm has developed extensive knowledge and experience working with every branch of government and is able to provide its clients with effective and creative solutions. Our maritime group has been actively involved in every significant piece of maritime-related legislation over the last 30 years.

About Maritime Advisors -- (Maritime Transport and Logistics Advisors, LLC, (www.MaritimeAdvisors.com)

MTLA is a diversified maritime consulting group based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with a highly select network of professional affiliate consultants located primarily throughout the United States, with several additional MTLA affiliates in Sweden and the United Kingdom.

MTLA affiliates are frequently called upon to speak at conferences and seminars on a myriad of maritime issues according to their respective areas of expertise. MTLA has assisted the U.S. Maritime Administration, port authorities and other private clients with port management and operations studies, transportation logistics, government and industry relations, transportation business opportunities, trucking and rail operations, short sea shipping feasibility studies, financial modeling and carrier freight route development.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:
    Pat Cleveland
    TV Worldwide
    Pat @tvworldwide.com
    www.tvworldwide.com
    (703) 961-9250 ext. 235