Last week during testimony before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, MARAD Administrator Ann Phillips (Rear Admiral, USN, Ret.) announced two efforts intended to support federal compliance with cargo preference requirements.
Administrator Phillips announced that MARAD will issue a Request for Information to solicit input from all stakeholders on cargo preference requirements.
Administrator Phillips also announced that MARAD will resume publishing comprehensive federal cargo preference data. Publication of the data is intended to increase interagency efficiency and to provide transparency regarding the movement of government-impelled cargo on both U.S.-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels.
Under current federal cargo preference law, the Department of Defense must move 100% of its cargoes on U.S.-flagged vessels. Generally, departments and agencies outside of the Department of Defense must ship at least 50% of the gross tonnage of the equipment, materials or commodities that they transport on U.S.-flagged vessels.
“Cargoes paid for by American taxpayers belong on American ships. Cargo preference requirements are not just ‘Buy America’ requirements, they are requirements that also help to strengthen America,” Administrator Phillips testified during the recent hearing, entitled “Cargo Preference: Compliance with and Enforcement of Maritime’s Buy American Laws.”
MARAD is also working with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Made In America Office to help agencies understand cargo preference requirements. As part of this effort, MARAD is in the process of communicating with all federal departments and agencies to remind them of their obligations and request that they each identify a Senior Accountable Official—consistent with OMB’s implementing guidance on Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers —who can be a single point of contact with whom MARAD can work to implement cargo preference requirements.