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US Maritime Technology
Export Initiative


Greg Murphy,
Executive Director, The Maritime Alliance


After a national search for innovative small and medium-sized U.S. blue tech companies with high export potential, The Maritime Alliance (TMA) has announced the 18 companies that will participate in the first cohort of the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative (https://bluetechexports.org). More than 35 applications were received from throughout the U.S. and reviewed by a National Advisory Committee for their innovative products or services, export potential and suitability with planned activities in 2017.

The selected companies (https://bluetechexports.org/companies) exhibited at Oceanology International North America in February in San Diego, California, and will exhibit at Ocean Business April 4 to 6 in Southampton, England, or attend a follow-on U.S. BlueTech Trade Mission April 10 to 14 to the port cities of Copenhagen, Denmark; Hamburg, Germany; and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

These companies will benefit from discounted rates at trade shows and trade missions, organized B2B matchmaking, “Global Chat” meetings with U.S. Commercial Service officers, and additional benefits through a one-year complimentary membership with The Maritime Alliance (if they are not already a member).

TMA is a nonprofit industry association and organizer of the largest blue tech cluster in the United States, located in San Diego. Its mission is to promote sustainable, science-based ocean and water industries, and it focuses on business ecosystem development, economic development and workforce development.

The goal of the U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative is to increase U.S. exports, create jobs, highlight American technologies and promote international partnerships. Metrics such as the value and volume of sales or number of U.S. jobs created will be tracked and reported to the U.S. Department of Commerce over time.

The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative is a collaboration between TMA and the International Trade Administration (ITA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This is the first time the United States has organized a formal export initiative for the industry, and it represents a significant coordination of resources to focus on the ocean technology sector. This collaboration between U.S. federal government agency members stationed around the world and the TMA will position the U.S. to benefit from a growing blue economy.

The worldwide ocean economy was estimated at a value of $1.5 trillion in 2010 and is anticipated to grow to $3.0 trillion by 2030 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and a major portion of that growth will be in the use of innovative ocean technologies, or blue tech.

When we consider the major threats and opportunities that lie ahead for our global economy, it becomes clear that the ocean will increasingly play a larger role in managing those threats and creating opportunities for economic development. Companies that were selected for the export initiative represent the type of fast-growth and high-export potential businesses that will help lead these emerging industries. The selected companies develop, manufacture or sell a variety of maritime or ocean technologies or services in aerial drones, maritime robotics, ocean observation, renewable energy, underwater sensors, vessel emissions control, vessel traffic management, and water technologies, and their goal is to create partnerships with buyers and distributors in foreign markets.

The ability to enter foreign markets is buoyed by the ITA and the U.S. Commercial Service, which has regional offices around the world to help U.S. businesses. The timing of this initiative also coincides closely with the launch in January of the international BlueTech Cluster Alliance (BTCA) comprising the eight leading blue tech clusters from seven countries.

The U.S. Maritime Technology Export Initiative is a three-year program with applications open each fall for the following calendar year. The Maritime Alliance encourages small and medium-sized U.S. businesses to inquire about participating.

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