The US Department of Transportation (DoT) will invest $653m into port improvement projects across the US to help increase capacity and efficiency as part of the Port Infrastructure Development Program.
The DoT’s Maritime Administration will fund 41 projects using funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with a focus on improving supply chain reliability, developing the workforce and enhancing safety and resilience at the country’s ports.
US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said: “Everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the lumber and steel used to build our homes passes through America’s ports, making them some of the most critical links in our nation’s supply chain.
“These investments will help expand capacity and speed up the movement of goods through our ports, contributing to cleaner air and more good-paying jobs as we go.”
In addition to projects on some of the country’s largest ports, such as building another intermodal railroad track at the Long Beach port in California, more than $172.8m of the funding will go towards improving smaller ports, with 26 small ports set to benefit.
Though the DoT highlighted its recent work to reduce the number of container ships waiting for berth at US ports by 90% since the pandemic, investment into improving their efficiency is still required, with the National Retail Federation recently projecting a 10% year-on-year increase for import cargo volume in November.
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Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips also highlighted the benefits of port investment outside of simply improving efficiency within maritime operations.
Phillips said: “By funding port infrastructure development, the Biden-Harris Administration is ensuring that goods move reliably and in greater quantities, strengthening supply chain resiliency across all modes of transportation and addressing the negative impacts of port operations on public health and the environment that have harmed communities living near ports.”
Alongside the $52m Long Beach project, some of the other major investments include the $54m Husky terminal expansion at the Port of Tacoma in Washington; $43m towards the construction of a new dock at Cold Bay, Alaska; the $47m offshore wind manufacturing hub project in Baltimore, Maryland and the construction of a $50m container yard in Wilmington, Delaware.
Delaware Governor John Carney said: “For decades, jobs at the Port of Wilmington have been a gateway into the middle class for thousands of workers and their families – the kind of jobs our state and country were built on.
“This successful grant from the Port Infrastructure Development Program will help make the planned Edgemoor expansion a reality and bring new good-paying, full-time union jobs to Wilmington and the region.”