Buttigieg doles out $241M to US ports to spice up provide chain

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to the media during a visit to the Georgia Ports Authority's Megarail facility, Friday, Dec., 17, 2021 in Savannah, Ga. Buttigieg used the visit to highlight the coordination with the his department and the Georgia Ports Authority to improve its cargo flow.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to the media throughout a go to to the Georgia Ports Authority’s Megarail facility, Friday, Dec., 17, 2021 in Savannah, Ga. Buttigieg used the go to to spotlight the coordination with the his division and the Georgia Ports Authority to enhance its cargo circulation.

AP Picture/Stephen B. Morton

WASHINGTON (AP) — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is awarding greater than $241 million in grants to bolster U.S ports, a part of the Biden administration’s near-term plan to deal with America’s clogged provide chain with infrastructure enhancements to hurry the circulation of products.

The transportation cash is being made accessible instantly to 25 tasks in 19 states. Subsequent yr, the amount of cash for port enhancements will almost double to $450 million in grants yearly for 5 years beneath President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure legislation.

“U.S. maritime ports play a vital position in our provide chains,” Buttigieg mentioned with Thursday’s announcement. “These investments in our nation’s ports will assist assist American jobs, environment friendly and resilient operations and quicker supply of products to the American folks.”

Biden on Wednesday touted the approaching grants as one among a sequence of efforts that may alleviate provide bottlenecks over the quick and long run.

“Earlier this fall we heard a number of dire warnings about provide chain issues resulting in a disaster across the holidays, so we acted,” Biden mentioned. “We introduced collectively enterprise and labor leaders to unravel issues and the a lot predicted disaster didn’t happen. Packages are shifting. Presents are being delivered. Cabinets aren’t empty.”

The grant cash contains $52.3 million to assist increase rail capability on the port in Lengthy Seashore, Calif., with a brand new locomotive facility, 10,000-foot assist monitor and extensions of 5 present tracks to hurry up freight motion whereas reducing down the variety of truck journeys required to do this.

Different recipients embrace:

— Portsmouth, Virginia, $20 million, to assist construct out a provide chain for the offshore wind trade.

— Brunswick, Georgia, $14.6 million, to construct a fourth berth for cargo ships at Colonel’s Island Terminal.

— Houston, $18.3 million, to assist pay for a 39-acre greenspace on the Bayport Container Terminal.

— Inform Metropolis, Indiana, $1.6 million, to assemble a 40-foot diameter pier on the Ohio River that can be utilized direct barge-to-truck unloading of cargo.

— Delcambre, Louisiana, $2 million, for dock restoration and local weather resiliency.

In current months, larger costs have eaten into wages and turned public sentiment on the financial system towards Biden in polls. One of many obstacles for lowering inflation amid a coronavirus pandemic has been backlogged ports with ships ready to dock at main transit hubs, inflicting shortages and leaving some retailer cabinets depleted.

Buttigieg’s announcement seeks to construct upon current strikes by the Transportation Division to cut back provide chain congestion, equivalent to by permitting port authorities to redirect leftover cash from grant tasks. For instance, the Georgia Ports Authority is utilizing $8 million to transform its inland amenities for the port of Savannah into container yards, releasing up dock area and dashing the circulation of products to their ultimate locations. Buttigieg final Friday toured the port, which his division says has seen the variety of ships ready at anchor fall from over 30 to 6 final week, whereas lengthy dwelling containers have been lower in half.

Earlier this yr, the Biden administration sought to cut back delays by working to maneuver main ports to 24/7 operations. The administration is also in search of to enhance working recruitment and retention within the trucking trade.

Nonetheless, provide chain points linger, and the steps taken by the administration have proven that there isn’t any fast repair to the issues which were hurting smaller companies and inflicting shoppers to face larger costs. The Transportation Division mentioned Thursday the tasks receiving grants fluctuate broadly in readiness to get off the bottom and it may take months earlier than shoppers can begin to really feel the consequences from the enhancements.

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