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FHWA Announces Inland Waterways Webinar on 9/2

August 27, 2020
Freight, News, News Homepage

On September 2, 2020, at 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET, the Federal Highway Administration will hold the webinar Inland Waterways – Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities as part of Talking Freight webinar series.

The inland waterway system of the United States, utilizing barges and ships on the navigable waterways within the country, is often overlooked when evaluating the U.S. freight transportation system, due in part to the fact it is managed and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rather than state DOTs or MPOs/RPOs.  However, those waterways often play a key role in the transport of bulk items, such as agricultural products, coal, and timber, allowing those products to be shipped more cheaply, benefiting the producers of those materials.  To a much greater degree than other freight transportation modes, inland waterways are vulnerable to changing weather conditions, particularly flooding or drought conditions.  Additionally, inland waterways are funded via the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which generally does not provide all the funding needed to maintain the system.  These issues make maintaining and improving inland waterways challenging from a maintenance perspective.  During times when the waterways cannot be used, their unavailability puts more pressure on the nearby railroad and highway infrastructure to handle the additional traffic, which illustrates the inland waterways’ importance for freight transportation and commerce.

This webinar will discuss how the inland waterway system is used to accommodate freight transportation shipments, and examine some of the issues and challenges associated with maintaining the system and enabling it to function in an effective manner.

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