Wanted : U.S. Maritime Administrator

Full-time position based in Washington, D.C.  Applicants should have a solid working knowledge of the maritime industry with a preference for those who have actually worked within the industry.  Applicants should demonstrate a willingness to work with shipping companies, labor unions and advocacy groups to determine an appropriate direction for U.S. maritime strategy.

Role and Purpose

The Maritime Administrator is the head of the Maritime Administration and advises and assists the Secretary of Transportation on commercial maritime matters, the U.S. maritime industry, and strategic sealift. The Maritime Administrator also maintains liaison with public and private organizations concerned with the U.S. maritime industry.

Major Activities

The Administrator works for the Secretary of Transportation.

The Administrator develops broad Maritime Administration policies and manages the Maritime Administration’s activities, particularly to ensure the Maritime Administration’s compliance with statutory obligations and requirements. As the U.S. maritime policy advisor to the Secretary, the Administrator also maintains contact with international maritime groups, conducts negotiations, and maintains effective relations with other agencies of the Federal Government and the public.

The Administrator is also the Chairperson of the Maritime Subsidy Board, Commandant of the United States Maritime Service, and Director of the National Shipping Authority.

Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood indicated that he is willing to continue at his post for an undetermined period of time.  We can only hope that David Matsuda, the unloved Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration and underling of Secretary LaHood, will choose to move along.  The Maritime Administration needs an administrator that will actually develop a path forward for the U.S. merchant marine rather than letting programs such as the America’s Marine Highway Program die on the vine.  

The lack of attention paid to the maritime industry during Mr. Matsuda’s tenure both in legislation and administration of existing programs has been disheartening to say the least.  As barges on the Mississippi River and ships on the Great Lakes run with reduced cargo onboard due to long delayed dredging projects, might there actually be legislation someday to use the Harbor Maintenance Tax for harbor maintenance?  At the same time, trains of crude oil are delivered to Albany, New York from South Dakota for loading onto foreign flagged vessels – perhaps another sign of Mr. Matsuda’s former career with the railroad industry? 

Anyone have any suggestions for a replacement for Mr. Matsuda?  Perhaps someone with some actual experience in the maritime industry such as a former (or current) shipping executive?  Perhaps there is someone who can elevate the U.S. maritime industry to the same level as highways and railroads in Secretary LaHood’s and President Obama’s eyes.

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