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Maritime Safety & Efficiency

In 2013, the U.S. maritime transportation system - harbors, ports, channels, locks, dams and waterways - delivered $1.75 trillion, or almost half of U.S. foreign trade.

Oil is the largest commodity moved by water, which is the most efficient and cost effective form of transportation. Almost 42% of all waterborne trade in the U.S. in 2012 was comprised of crude or petroleum products. Without tankers, congestion on U.S. roads and highways would significantly worsen. One average size products tanker of about 30,000 tons carries as much gasoline, diesel fuel, or home heating oil as 1,700 tankers trucks.

Relative to other modes, maritime transportation of petroleum is incredibly economical due to its unparalleled efficiency. 1 gallon of fuel moves one ton of oil 6,842 miles via tanker.

Maritime transportation is also an extremely safe mode of transport. Since 1970, there has been a 98% reduction in oil spilled from tankers worldwide. This is due to the safety features of the vessels and the training of the crew.

Over the last decade, more than 99.9997% of oil delivered by tankers to the U.S. reached its destination without incident.

Today's tankers are the product of a commitment to safety combined with the power of cutting-edge design and innovation. As a result, the new ships traveling the seas are stronger, more maneuverable, and more durable than their predecessors using:

  • Double Hulls - This hull-within-a-hull configuration provides an extra measure of security: In the unlikely event of a collision or grounding, the outer hull will bear the brunt of the impact while the interior hull keeps the cargo secure and prevents oil from entering the marine environment.
  • Redundant Systems - In an effort to build ships capable of withstanding even the most extreme circumstances, many tankers are now equipped with redundant, or duplicate, systems. If the original system is compromised for whatever reason, a second, fully functional backup is on hand. This concept is put to use in navigation -- with back-up GPS systems, for example -- and down below in redundant engine rooms. Duplicate rudders and propellers have the added benefit of improved maneuverability, enabling the ship to rotate 360° in a fixed position.
  • Single-Operator Capability - A highly trained bridge crew is the key to effective decision-making on the seas. Once a decision is made, however, modern tankers allow a single deck officer to make all the appropriate adjustments to the ship's speed and heading from a central command station. This allows for faster response in critical situations.

Watch the linked YouTube video to learn more about maritime's commitment to safe transportation.


Marine Investment Brochure

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Maritime Infrastructure Brochure

File Size: 2.3 MB

US Maritime Infrastructure Facts

File Size: 2.1 MB

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