More than $700M in federal funds earmarked for seaports

Bolstered by additional funds from the infrastructure law, this year’s PIDP awards will make an unprecedented investment in U.S. port infrastructure, AAPA says.

a boat at a loading dock
The Port of Camden in New Jersey will be among the ports receiving funding.
Photo courtesy of South Jersey Port Corp.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced $703 million in grant awards for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), a greater amount than any year in the program’s history. Bolstered by additional funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), this year’s PIDP awards will make an unprecedented investment in U.S. port infrastructure, according to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Washington, which urges quick and efficient administration of these awards.

MARAD announced that 41 infrastructure projects in 23 states and one territory will receive funding, including coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports, helping improve supply chain reliability through increased port capacity and resilience, more efficient operations, reduced port emissions and new workforce opportunities.

“So many of the goods we all count on, from appliances to furniture to clothes, move through our nation’s ports on their way to us,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says in a news release issued by MARAD. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we're awarding record levels of funding to improve our port infrastructure, strengthen our supply chains, and help cut costs for American families.” 

PIDP supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs and ensure our port infrastructure can meet anticipated growth in freight volumes, MARAD says. The program provides planning, capital funding and project management assistance to improve ports’ capacity and efficiency.?The PIDP provides funding to ports in urban and rural areas for planning and capital projects. It also includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently and support local and regional economies. 

More than 60 percent of the awards will benefit ports in historically disadvantaged communities, MARAD says, and several of the projects will help reduce emissions at the ports through electrification. The awards also include nearly $100 million for port projects that will advance offshore wind deployment–in support of President Biden’s bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, which is enough to power 10 million homes with clean energy, support 77,000 jobs and spur private investment up and down the supply chain. 

“President Biden’s commitment to modernizing our infrastructure - from the beginning of his Administration - has resulted in an unprecedented investment in all segments of our port infrastructure to enable us to move goods more quickly, strengthen supply chain resiliency and reduce the climate impacts of port operations themselves,” Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips says.

Among the projects receiving funding are:  

The JAXPORT EXPRESS Project ($23.52 million), Jacksonville, Florida – The project includes five primary components: 1) installation of electrified refrigerated container stacks; 2) procurement of six hybrid-electric rubber-tired gantry cranes; 3) procurement of 16 battery-electric forklifts, ten battery-electric yard tractors, and seven Tier 4 diesel top picks; 4) installation of 15 high-power direct current fast charging stations and make-ready stub-outs; and 5) development of a replaceable and scalable plan for transitioning the port and local maritime industry to zero-emission technologies. 

Salem Wind Port Project ($33.84 million), Salem, Massachusetts – The project will redevelop a vacant industrial facility into a marshalling area for offshore wind (OSW) energy projects. The project includes construction of a 700-foot-long wharf and bulkhead that will be able to handle oversized and heavy cargoes and will be able to serve as a loadout and assembly location. The project also includes improvements to approximately 23 acres of adjacent uplands to create a laydown area adjacent to the loadout and assembly space. 

Project Steel Wheel Columbus Dock Expansion ($6.12 million), Columbus, Mississippi – The project includes design, engineering, construction and inspection of a new rail spur with approximately 10,000 linear feet of track and three transload docks that will provide direct rail access for transloading cargo between barges and railcars at the Lowndes County West Bank Port. The port does not have direct rail access, and the new rail spur will connect the port terminal to an existing railroad line operated by Kansas City Southern.

Port of Camden Access and Infrastructure Resiliency Project ($25 million), Camden, New Jersey – The project will upgrade a functionally obsolete and structurally deficient truck route to improve access to the Port of Camden from I-676 by reconstructing nearly 3 miles of key roadway infrastructure. Project elements include truck turning radius improvements, pavement reconstruction, resurfacing and reconstruction of curbs and sidewalks, new stormwater drainage and green infrastructure, sewer repairs, ADA ramps, traffic calming, new traffic signals and crosswalks, improved street lighting, striping and new signage. 

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority ($27.22 million), Cleveland – The project consists of development phase (planning, permitting, engineering and design) and construction activities at the Port of Cleveland. It will modernize a 144,000-square-foot warehouse (Warehouse A); expand stormwater collection and treatment infrastructure; construct a modernized maintenance and repowering facility for terminal equipment; and install electric infrastructure to meet the power requirements of ship cold ironing and electrified cargo handling equipment.  

Grays Harbor Terminal 4 Expansion and Redevelopment Project ($25.5 million), Aberdeen, Washington – The project includes the construction of an additional 50,000 feet of rail to accommodate unit trains; railcar storage; the repurposing of a 50-acre brownfield site into a breakbulk cargo handling and laydown area; access and roadway improvements; replacement of marine terminal fendering systems; and related site improvements. 

Port of Green Bay Site Development Project ($10.13 million), Green Bay, Wisconsin – The project funds the first phase of redevelopment of a former power plant site into a new port terminal. The project includes engineering services; clearing and clean-up of the existing brownfield site; construction of new dock walls and bulkheads; dredging; placement of fill behind dock wall and bulkheads; construction of stormwater collection and treatment facilities; installation of bollards and crane pads; asphalt resurfacing; new roads and utilities; truck scales; construction of an office building; and repair and extension of a rail spur with installation of three switches. 

A full list of projects receiving funding is available here.

The AAPA says the announcement reflects the substantial increase in available funds for PIDP made possible by the historic BIL. This funding will continue to augment PIDP for the next several years, through federal fiscal year 2026 (FY2026). At a time when vital infrastructure at U.S. seaports has become the subject of national attention, this strong investment will enable projects aimed at improving and expanding port infrastructure to ensure critical cargo is transported efficiently and safely. AAPA adds that it is committed to working with MARAD to ensure these grant funds are released in a timely manner and available for projects where they will have the most impact. AAPA has provided MARAD with recommendations in support of that goal, including permitting and categorical exclusion reform and a waiver of domestic preference requirements for next-generation cargo handling equipment.

The AAPA acknowledged its Congressional partners who have continued to advocate for additional port funding, including House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO6); Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS); House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Chair Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-); and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Chair Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ranking Member Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

                                          
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