The U.S. water transportation industry serves the needs of both international and domestic commerce. It comprises companies that carry freight or passengers on the open seas or inland waterways as well as companies that offer lighterage and towing services, operate canals and terminals, charter vessels, handle cargo, and build and repair ships. A variety of public agencies at all levels of government affect the water transportation industry, including port authorities, state departments of transportation, and national and international regulatory bodies. This report describes major trends in the 1990s that affect the commercial water transportation industry, which provides vital freight and passenger travel services in international and domestic markets and port and cargo-handling services. It also describes the role and performance of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry and discusses the water transportation industry's contribution to the U.S. economy. Considerable attention is devoted to maritime safety and environmental goals of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and its lead agency in these areas, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). In addition, the critical roles of the U.S. maritime industry and certain DOT programs, particularly those of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) in meeting our national security requirements, are explored in chapter 5. Advances in navigation technology and relevant cooperative research programs are described in chapter 6. Reflecting the axiom that good analysis requires good data, the final chapter highlights relevant data issues.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics: http://www.bts.gov/