DOT Awards $1.96 Billion in National Defense Reserve Fleet Contracts

"Since 1946, National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels have facilitated U.S. strategic sealift, natural disaster response, and humanitarian operations all around the world," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "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."

TOTE Services, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., received the largest contract, worth $461,164,825.799, for a total of nine vessels, when DOT's Maritime Administration recently awarded a total of $1.96 billion in contracts to seven companies to manage, maintain, and operate 48 National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels through January 2024. The contracts are funded by the Department of Defense National Defense Sealift Fund to support DoD's strategic sealift mission.

All of the 18 contracts include firm-fixed fees for the four-year base contract and two two-year options, without future economic price adjustment, plus estimated reimbursable costs for eight years.

TOTE Services operated the El Faro cargo container ship that sank Oct. 1, 2015, off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin.

"Since 1946, National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels have facilitated U.S. strategic sealift, natural disaster response, and humanitarian operations all around the world," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "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 companies that won the contracts are responsible for maintaining the ships in good mechanical condition and ensuring crews are available to operate them when needed. Forty-six of the ships are part of DOT's Ready Reserve Force, a fleet managed by the Maritime Administration. Two are used to support Missile Defense Agency operations. Each vessel is maintained so it can be fully activated and deployed quickly; according to MARAD, the 46 Ready Reserve Force vessels have been activated hundreds of times since 2002. "The U.S. Merchant Marine and National Defense Reserve Fleet play a crucial role in our nation's security," said Maritime Administrator Paul Jaenichen. "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."

Other companies receiving contracts were Crowley Technical Management, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.; ($149,755,923.82); Keystone Shipping Services, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. ($411,596,846.85); Matson Navigation Company, Inc., Oakland, Calif., ($174,612,435.39); Ocean Duchess, Inc., Houston ($342,263,690.65); Pacific-Gulf Marine, Corp., Gretna, La. ($194,254,798.52); and Patriot Contract Services, LLC, Concord, Calif. ($227,068,183.07).

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