The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently said the Maritime Administration has awarded contracts to several businesses that will be involved in developing U.S. National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) vessels.
The contracts, worth $1.96 billion, will be invested over the next eight years. Seven U.S. maritime companies were awarded the contracts to operate and maintain 48 NDRF vessels until January 2024: Crowley Technical Management, Keystone Shipping Services, Matson Navigation Company, Ocean Duchess, Pacific Gulf Marine Corp., Patriot Contract Services and Tote Services.
For the four-year base contract, officials gave 18 contracts to the seven U.S. maritime firms. The contracts, which will last until January 2020, amounted to $953.5 million.
The companies will be required to guarantee that the vessels are well maintained and that the crews are ready to operate them at all times.
“Since 1946, National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels have facilitated U.S. strategic sealift, natural disaster response and humanitarian operations all around the world,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “From supporting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and providing humanitarian support for Haiti, to supporting the United Nations' at-sea neutralization of Syria’s chemical weapons – this fleet reliably, economically and efficiently advances U.S. contributions to global peace and prosperity.”
The Department of Defense (DoD) National Defense Sealift Fund financed the contracts to maintain its strategic sealift mission.
“The U.S. Merchant Marine and National Defense Reserve Fleet play a crucial role in our nation’s security,” Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen said. “These contract awards will allow our commercial maritime companies to continue providing top-notch support to our troops who are stationed or deployed around the world.”