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“Unlike many of our Department of Transportation agency partners, we don’t regulate. We’re a promotional agency, maintaining a strong advocacy role for the maritime industry. We want to promote it. We want to promote jobs, U.S. businesses, and economic opportunities for both workers and businesses in this key industry,” explains David Matsuda, MARAD administrator. It may be an industry that some either ignore or take for granted, but it is vital to the country’s economic and national security, contributing billion of dollars a year to the national economy while moving hundreds of billions in goods. It is also an industry that has evolved into a highly integrated transportation network that leverages a vast system of U.S. waterways and ports consisting of more than 1,000 harbor channels; over 20,000 miles of inland, inter-coastal, and coastal waterways; some 300 ports, and over 3000 terminals. “As a promotional agency one of our biggest challenges is getting people to understand how important maritime transportation is today. It literally keeps our country’s economy flowing,” says Matsuda. The agency he leads works closely with shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, and the various stakeholders that compose the maritime industry. He does this with an appropriated budget of $300 to $400 million and a staff of about 830. No small feat, given the critical importance of this mode of transportation to the country.