Posted on January 15, 2024
US ports are due for an extensive upgrade, courtesy of a $21 billion investment from the Biden administration. This move comes on the heels of a disbursal of over $653 million in Port Infrastructure Development Program grants by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration in 2023. Various ports across the country are set to reap the benefits of this financial injection.
Ports of Baltimore and Tacoma Among Key Beneficiaries
One of the significant beneficiaries of this recent funding is the Port of Baltimore, which received a $47 million grant. The funds will be used for the creation of an offshore wind manufacturing hub and additional improvements, including the installation of a new berth for rolling cargo. Baltimore boasts a reputation as the leading U.S. port for imports of rolling cargo, accommodating farm machinery from John Deere and light vehicles from BMW.
Other notable projects that are receiving financial support include the Port of Tacoma Husky Terminal Expansion in Washington, which received $54.2 million, and the North Harbor Transportation System Improvement Project in Long Beach, California, with a grant of $52.6 million.
Environment and Defense Departments Join Funding Efforts
On the environmental front, the Environmental Protection Agency is also playing its part in the revamp by providing funds aimed at reducing truck idling at the ports. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense is investing in the dredging of East Coast waterways to accommodate larger vessels.
Reviving America’s Industrial Cities and Addressing Supply Chain Bottlenecks
In a public-private partnership with the state of Maryland, Ports America has invested $550 million in upgrades at Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. These improvements are part of a broader effort to revive America’s industrial cities and address supply chain bottlenecks. The Howard Street Tunnel expansion project in Baltimore, for instance, is expected to significantly increase double-stack rail capacity, thus facilitating the movement of goods to the Midwest.
Maritime economists suggest that the southeast coast ports in the U.S. are expanding their capacity and becoming more attractive to ocean carriers. This is anticipated to enhance the efficiency of cargo movement in and out of these ports, thereby improving supply chain fluidity.
Future Port Developments
The Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District announced a letter of intent with APM Terminals to establish a state-of-the-art container terminal in Louisiana, estimated to cost around $500 million. This terminal will be the closest port to the mouth of the river, capable of handling the largest ships. The project has received full support from the host parish and community.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has announced a $623 million grant for electric car charging infrastructure, aiming to install 7,500 charging ports primarily in rural and low-income areas. This move, coupled with the proliferation of private EV charging services, is expected to reduce ‘charging anxiety’ and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.