Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is awarding more than $ 241 million in grants to strengthen U.S. ports, as part of the Biden administration’s short-term plan to address America’s congested supply chain by improving infrastructure to speed up the flow of goods.
Transport money is immediately made available to 25 projects in 19 states. Next year, the amount of money for port improvements will nearly double to $ 450 million in grants per year for five years under President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure law.
“US seaports play a vital role in our supply chains,” Buttigieg said in Thursday’s announcement. “These investments in our nation’s ports will help support American jobs, efficient and resilient operations, and faster delivery of goods to the American people.”
Effort to reduce supply bottlenecks
Biden on Wednesday outlined the upcoming grants as one of a series of efforts that will ease both short-term and long-term supply bottlenecks.
“Earlier this fall, we heard many warnings about supply chain issues leading to a crisis over the holidays, so we took action,” Biden said. “We brought together business and union leaders to solve the problems and the much predicted crisis did not happen. The packages are moving. The gifts are delivered. The shelves are not empty.
The grant includes $ 52.3 million to help increase rail capacity at the California port of Long Beach, with a new locomotive installation, a 10,000-foot support track and extensions of existing five tracks to speed up movement of goods while reducing the number of truck trips required to do this.
Other recipients include:
– Portsmouth, Virginia, $ 20 million, to help build a supply chain for the offshore wind industry.
– Brunswick, Georgia, $ 14.6 million, to construct a fourth cargo berth at the Colonel’s Island terminal.
– Houston, $ 18.3 million, to facilitate the export and import of goods by significantly increasing the storage capacity of the Bayport container terminal.
– Tell City, Indiana, $ 1.6 million, to construct a 40-foot-diameter jetty on the Ohio River that can be used for direct unloading of cargo from a barge to a truck.
– Delcambre, Louisiana, $ 2 million, for docks restoration and climate resilience.
In recent months, rising prices have eaten away at wages and transformed public sentiment on the economy against Biden in the polls. One of the obstacles to reducing inflation amid a coronavirus pandemic has been the backlog of ports with ships waiting to dock at major transit hubs, causing shortages and leaving some store shelves exhausted.
Other recent movements
Buttigieg’s announcement aims to build on recent steps the Department of Transportation has taken to ease supply chain congestion, for example by allowing port authorities to redirect money left over from grant projects. For example, the Georgia Ports Authority is using $ 8 million to convert its inland facilities at the Port of Savannah into container parks, freeing up docks space and speeding up the flow of goods to their final destination. Last Friday, Buttigieg visited the port, which his department said saw the number of ships waiting at anchor drop from more than 30 to six last week, while long-stay containers were cut in half.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration sought to reduce delays by working to move major ports to 24/7 operations. The administration is also seeking to improve the recruitment and retention of workers in the trucking industry.
Yet supply chain problems persist and the actions taken by the administration have shown that there are no quick fixes to the problems that hurt small businesses and force consumers to face higher prices. . The Transportation Department said on Thursday that projects receiving grants vary widely in terms of readiness to start, and it could be months before consumers can start to feel the effects of the improvements.