Biden administration invests in ports to strengthen American supply chains

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced an investment of more than $653 million to fund 41 port improvement projects under the Port Infrastructure Development Program.

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Image Credit: Michael Wyke/Houston Chronicle

In an effort to make improvements to ports across the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced an investment of more than $653 million to fund 41 port improvement projects under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). The investment will help “grow capacity and increase efficiency” at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports, a press release said.

The investment is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

“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,” Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said. “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.”

The PIDP helps port and related freight infrastructure make improvements to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs by providing planning support, capital funding, and project management assistance. The program is intended to to “improve capacity and efficiency of ports in both urban and rural areas, thereby boosting local and regional economies while protecting surrounding communities from air pollution,” according to a press release.

“Pacific Environment applauds the DOT Maritime Administration’s announcement today of $653 million in awards for port improvement projects under its Port Infrastructure Development Program,” Antonio Santos, federal climate policy director at Pacific Environment, said. “In particular, we are excited to see MARAD fund projects that prioritize investments to reduce harmful pollution at ports, such as the installation of shore-power infrastructure at the Port of San Diego’s National City Marine Terminal. Through federal programs like PIDP, the U.S. needs to continue to invest in port projects that can contribute to the transition away from the use of fossil fuels to zero-emission solutions. Achieving a zero-emission maritime sector is critical for protecting the health of port workers and people living in communities near our nation’s ports.”

According to a press release, about 2.3 billion short tons of domestic and international U.S. commerce moves by water, therefore, the investment will “strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, speed up the movement of goods, and improve the safety, reliability and resilience of ports.”

“Modernizing the nation’s port infrastructure is vital to the reinforcement of America’s multimodal system for transporting goods,” Ann Phillips, Maritime administrator, said. “The advantages of cargo movement on water extend well beyond the maritime domain. 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.” 

For the full list of grant awards by state or territory, click here.

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