As we know, the supply chain is in crises and has been for some time. Many logistics companies and partners are working on solutions. Now that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been passed, Washington is looking to address the port and waterway bottlenecks.
The White House announced the following actions:
- Support creative solutions to current supply chain disruptions by allowing for flexibility in port grants. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) will allow port authorities across the country to redirect project cost savings toward tackling supply chain challenges. The Administration will continue to look for additional flexibilities and other solutions to support infrastructure needs in the goods movement supply chain.
- Alleviate congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Port Authority pop-up container yards project. With this policy change, the Georgia Port Authority will be able to reallocate more than $8 million to convert existing inland facilities into five pop-up container yards in both Georgia and North Carolina. Under the plan, the Port of Savannah will transfer containers via rail and truck further inland so that they can be closer to their destination, which will make available valuable real estate closer to the port. The effort will free up more dock space and speed goods flow in and out of the Port of Savannah, which leads the nation in containerized agricultural exports.
- Launch programs to modernize ports and marine highways with more than $240 million in grant funding within the next 45 days. DOT will award $230 million in funding for this program and $13 million for the Marine Highway Program to support waterborne freight service.
- Identify projects for US Army Corps of Engineers construction at coastal ports and inland waterways within the next 60 days. This plan will provide a roadmap for more than $4 billion in funding to repair outdated infrastructure and to deepen harbors for larger cargo ships.
- Prioritize key ports of entry for modernization and expansion within the next 90 days. This plan will identify $3.4 billion in investments to upgrade obsolete inspection facilities and allow more efficient international trade through the northern and southern borders.
- Open competition for the first round of port infrastructure grants funded through the bipartisan infrastructure deal within 90 days. DOT will announce more than $475 million in additional funding for port and marine highway infrastructure.
Additional freight investments:
- Develop a comprehensive freight movement playbook to states: DOT will publish a playbook for States on how to use grant and loan programs across the Department to support goods movement and help alleviate freight bottlenecks. This playbook will highlight the policies, funding and financing available to strengthen the supply chain. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, States will receive more than $50 billion per year in federal-aid highway funding, much of which can be used to repair and modernize existing infrastructure to improve the performance of freight corridors.
- Incorporate the best worldwide freight planning practices into state freight plans: DOT will develop and issue revised guidance on State Freight Plans that incorporates best worldwide freight planning practices. The BID strengthens the freight plans that States are currently required to produce to include supply chain cargo flows, an inventory of commercial ports, the impacts of e-commerce on freight infrastructure, and an assessment of truck parking facilities. Improved plans will help States direct resources to their greatest economic development needs.