Biden Administration Takes Action to Alleviate Supply Chain Issues at Ports
Going into the holiday season, many Americans voiced concerns that supply chain issues would make it harder to get the gift items they want for loved ones, including toys and electronics. These fears are not unfounded, as some of our nation’s largest ports, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, face congestion and delays. In October, the Biden Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force moved to open these ports for 24/7 operations.
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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives this week but has not yet been signed into law, contributes an additional $17 billion to improving port infrastructure and $25 billion to airports, according to a White House press statement. The improved infrastructure, which includes technology to reduce congestion and emissions, will help remove bottlenecks and expedite commerce, the press release says.
CNN reports that the action plan will:
- Increase federal flexibilities for port grants
- Accelerate port infrastructure grant awards
- Support construction projects for coastal navigation, inland waterways, and ports of entry
- Offer expanded port infrastructure grants to be funded through the Bipartisan Instructure Deal
A senior administration official told CNN reporters that efforts toward implementation are “already underway… even before the bill is signed,” adding, “There is working going on right now to actually get these projects teed up.”
Amongst the projects underway immediately include funding for a pop-up container yard project at the Port of Savannah, Georgia, and the introduction of a $420 million grant program to be launched within 45 days, according to CNN. Additionally, the Department of Transportation will seek to identify coastal regions and waterways to receive $4 billion in funding for US Army Corps of Engineers construction projects.
Works-in-progress, or soon to begin, also include identifying key U.S. ports to receive $3.4 billion toward modernization and expansion within the next 90 days. Competition will also open for $475 million in port infrastructure grants funded through the Infrastructure Bill within the next 90 days.
The project in Savannah, Georgia, the official told CNN, should provide “immediate relief” for the holiday season, since the expansion can be operational in 30 to 45 days.
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On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will visit Baltimore to promote the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The Port of Baltimore and the 127-year-old Howard Street Tunnel will both benefit from the bill, as an expansion project is planned that would allow the Howard Street Tunnel to accommodate double-stack containers from the Port of Baltimore through to the Midwest, CNN reported.
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