The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded a $34.6 million contract for the design and construction of a new facility for eight of the largest government ready reserve fleet cargo ships on the Neches River near Beaumont, Texas.
“The Neches River facility means jobs for Beaumont and improved support for our ready reserve fleet,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This project will help ensure that our fleet remains ready to provide national defense and disaster assistance.”
When completed in 2013, the new facility will include a mooring structure with fixed berths for the vessels, electrical service needed to meet vessel, shoreside lighting and communication requirements, and basic utility services, such as water, fire suppression system, and sewage connections. The contract also calls for the construction of a road, parking lots, a perimeter fence, a guard house and an access gate. Ready Reserve Force vessels are maintained by MARAD in a reduced operating status until needed by the military. When activated, the vessels are used to rapidly move large shipments of military equipment and vehicles across the globe. The contract was awarded to McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. of Houston, Texas.
Keeping eight similar vessels at one federally-owned location reduces costs associated with maintaining the vessels at several privately-owned sites. It also creates substantial logistics and maintenance efficiencies, providing an estimated $3.3 million annual savings to the federal government.
“This new marine facility will bolster our National Defense Reserve Fleet using American labor,” said Maritime Administrator David Matsuda.
MARAD maintains fleets and supports U.S. military and emergency operations. Its mission is to promote the development of the American maritime industry, including its workforce. The agency also operates the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.
Dredging Today Staff, April 2, 2012;