A local entrepreneur's efforts to establish a marine shipping service along the West Coast and a four-port initiative to build infrastructure to support it have earned recognition -- and the prospect of funding -- from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The department's finding makes the projects eligible for federal funding. Also, a designation of an “M-5 Marine Highway Corridor” by the Transportation Department recognizes how Interstate Highway 5 and a marine distribution network along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts may work together to increase efficiency, and reduce pollution and traffic congestion.

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District is the public partner of Eureka-based Humboldt Maritime Logistics. Its concept of shipping goods from smaller ports to larger harbors by barge and vice versa is determined to be a fit for the federal marine highway initiative.

Humboldt Maritime Logistics President Stephen Pepper said his company is currently seeking $1.5 million for a West Coast market analysis and a study of what kind of equipment will best suit the service's needs. The Transportation Department's determination means the company and the Harbor District are now in a much better position to receive federal funding. 


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