The Port Infrastructure Development Program was awarded $653 million in grants on Friday to upgrade 41 water-based ports around the country by the Department of Transportation.
According to Smart Cities Dive, the projects will boost capacity and efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports and enable them to meet greater shipping demands, according to the DOT press release. Supply chain issues were a top concern for builders this year.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the goal of the projects is to improve port infrastructure so that they can withstand the kinds of shocks seen during the pandemic that snarled supply chains, AP News reported.
The nation’s more than 300 coastal and inland ports get a B- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers, meaning they’re adequate for now but require attention. While port funding has risen in recent years, there is still a gap of over $12 billion for waterside infrastructure such as dredging over the next decade, and billions more are needed for landside port infrastructure, according to ASCE.
The IIJA’s $17 billion total in investments are the country’s largest-ever dedicated funding for ports and waterways, according to the DOT, and are key to strengthening supply chain reliability.
“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 in the press release.