West Coast Marine Highway Market Analysis Project

The West Coast Corridor Coalition sponsored the M-5 Marine Highway Corridor study to determine the market and operational viability of Marine Highway services on the West Coast. Such services should be economically and operationally attractive to shippers and able to obtain sufficient cargo volumes in the marketplace. Operational, utilization, and cost parameters for six potential Marine Highway services were developed for the study, using a market analysis of cargo routing data from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA's) Freight Analysis Framework (FAF3). Four of the services were between port pairs, and the other two services were strings with multiple ports. Three of the four potential services between port pairs were judged to have the greatest potential to be economically viable from an operational perspective, and a business plan and viability assessment were developed for them. Those port pairs were: 1) San-Pedro Bay Ports (Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach) to the Port of Oakland; 2) San-Pedro Bay Ports to Pacific Northwest Ports (Ports of Seattle and Tacoma); and 3) Port of Oakland to Pacific Northwest Ports. The business plan and viability assessment found that a Marine Highway service between the San-Pedro Bay Ports and the Port of Oakland appears to have potential for financial viability due to available cargoes and other operational factors. The study also identified several challenges that if solved, could increase the likelihood of developing other successful Marine Highway services on the M-5 Marine Highway Corridor: 1) The shortage of efficient, right-sized vessels eligible to transport U.S. domestic cargoes; 2) The shortage of credible market data to identify cargoes available for Marine Highway services; and 3) The lack of maritime entrepreneurs willing to take the risk of starting up a new service.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Cardno TEC, Incorporated

    2825 Eastlake Avenue East, Suite 300
    Seattle, WA  United States  98102

    Whatcom Council of Governments

    314 East Champion Street
    Bellingham, WA  United States  98225-4502

    West Coast Corridor Coalition

    SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments)
    401 B Street, Suite 800
    San Diego, CA  United States  92101

    Maritime Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 2014-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Glossary; Maps; Tables;
  • Pagination: 246p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739767
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: May 23 2020 3:56PM