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A containership at the Port of Long Beach

Photo courtesy Port of Long Beach

MARAD Awards $653 Million in Funding for Port Improvement Projects

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1762
November 3, 2023

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has awarded over $653 million to support 41 port improvement projects across the country.

The Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) is a discretionary grant program administered by the Maritime Administration meant to enhance capacity and efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports To date, the program has awarded nearly $2.1 billion since its launch in 2019.

The $653 million in 2023 grants compares to the $703 million awarded in 2022 and $241 million in 2021.

Recognizing the crucial role of ports in facilitating both domestic and international trade, the Department of Transportation said that the projects will strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, expedite the movement of goods, and enhance the safety, reliability, and resilience of ports.

The funding allocated for the projects is part of the $17 billion dedicated funding for ports and waterways through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic exerted immense pressure on global supply chains, leading to inflated prices and extensive delays in the delivery of everyday goods. Since peaking 2021, congestion at ports has drastically reduced to near zero as imported cargo volumes have slowed alongside consumer spending, causing global container shipping costs to plummet by over 80 percent.

The Port of Long Beach has been awarded more than $52 million to modernize critical on-dock rail capabilities and improve several key roadways to help speed up the flow of cargo as part of its North Harbor Transportation Improvements Project. The Husky Terminal at the Port of Tacoma received the biggest award with $54 million to boost its reefer handling capacity.

The DOT said the PIDP awards encompass more than $172.8 million specifically designated for 26 small ports, enabling them to enhance their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently.

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

The selection of projects for funding was based on their potential to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of goods movement and enhance port resilience. Factors such as the amount of non-federal funding committed by applicants, the project’s contribution to economic vitality, support for workforce development, efforts to address climate change and sustainability, and alignment with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative were also considered.A full list of award recipients can be found here.

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