MarAd Rolls Out Priority Financing for United States Offshore Wind Vessels
The government of US President Joe Biden has given offshore wind vessels a leg up in securing financing guarantees.
But funding for the loan guarantee programme remains limited. The US Maritime Administration (MarAd) has designated the wind farm ships as “vessels of national interest”, a destination that will give them priority in the agency’s financing programme for ship construction at US yards.
Jones Act shipping stakeholders have also long complained that applying for Title XI loans is a protracted process that hampers the ability to secure financing in a way that fits with project schedules.
“I’m excited that the Biden Administration and DOT have declared that vessels being built for the new offshore wind industry are deemed to be in the national interest and will have priority for title XI MarAd loan guarantees,” said Joan Bonareff, a maritime lawyer at US law firm Blank Rome.
She said the US needs more WTIVs for the offshore wind industry to take off. Currently, there is just one Jones Act-qualified WTIV under construction in the US, and foreign-flag vessels can operate off the country’s shores only with the aid of feeder vessels to do work protected by the cabotage law.
“I would like to see Congress appropriate additional funds to the Title XI programme with new procedures developed by MarAd to streamline the application process,” Bondareff said.
“Otherwise, the Biden goal of 30 GW of offshore wind and the construction of new vessels will be delayed by practical and financial impediments to the programme.”
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"MarAd Rolls Out Priority Financing for United States Offshore Wind Vessels," by Eric Priante Martin was published in TradeWinds on June 28, 2022.