US ports getting $653M for upgrades to shore up supply chains

(NewsNation) — The Biden administration is investing $653 million in ports around the country in an effort to continue to shore up global supply chains that became ensnarled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants, announced Friday by the Transportation Department, will be funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a signature achievement of President Joe Biden in 2021. Money will go toward projects at 41 ports.

“Everything from the food we eat to the cars we drive to the lumber and steel used to build our homes passes through America’s ports, making them some of the most critical links in our nation’s supply chain,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release. “These investments will help expand capacity and speed up the movement of goods through our ports, contributing to cleaner air and more good-paying jobs as we go.”

The pandemic stressed global supply chains, leading to logjams at ports, delayed shipping times and low inventories. It contributed to rising inflation that reached a peak of 9% in summer 2022.

“Now, there’s been more than a 90 percent decrease in the number of container ships waiting for berths at U.S. ports and global container shipping costs are down by more than 80% from their peak in 2021,” the Biden administration said in the news release. “These investments represent the Biden Administration’s continued focus on improving U.S. ports and strengthening our supply chains to be more resilient to shocks to the system in the future.”

Grants include $54.23 million for a terminal reconfiguration at the Port of Tacoma in Washington; $52.63 million rail expansion and roadway improvements at the Port of Long Beach in California; and $32 million for a new berth at Port Newark Container Terminal in New Jersey.

The administration awarded $172.8 million for 26 small ports, which the Transportation Department says will boost “local and regional economies while protecting surrounding communities from air pollution.”

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