Maritime Administration Announces More Than $653 Million Investments in Ports to Strengthen American Supply Chains

Nov 17, 2023 | Partner News

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced over $653 million to fund 41 port improvement projects across the nation under the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda this funding will help grow capacity and increase efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports. A significant portion of domestic and international U.S. commerce by weight, (over 2.3 billion short tons) moves by water. The port improvement projects announced today will strengthen supply chain reliability, create workforce development opportunities, speed up the movement of goods, and improve the safety, reliability and resilience of ports. These investments are part of the largest dedicated funding for ports and waterways in history – nearly $17 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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

When President Biden took office, the pandemic was putting enormous pressure on global supply chains, which were too weak to handle the strain. Americans were paying more and waiting longer for everyday goods. At one point, more than a hundred ships were waiting to dock at West Coast ports. This contributed to inflationary prices. This Administration and port workers stepped up to the challenge. Now, there’s been more than a 90 percent decrease in the number of container ships waiting for berths at U.S. ports and global container shipping costs are down by more than 80 percent from their peak in 2021. These investments represent the Biden Administration’s continued focus on improving U.S. ports and strengthening our supply chains to be more resilient to shocks to the system in the future.

The PIDP improves port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs. The program provides planning support, capital funding, and project management assistance to improve capacity and efficiency of ports in both urban and rural areas. Awards announced today include more than $172.8 million for 26 small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently, thereby boosting local and regional economies while protecting surrounding communities from air pollution. 

“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.”

Projects were selected based on their ability to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods, as well as on how well they would improve port resilience. Other factors considered during the project evaluation process included the amount of non-federal funding an applicant committed to the project and how well the project enhanced economic vitality, supported workforce development, addressed climate change and sustainability, and advanced equity and President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. 

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

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