The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has urged Congress to make a substantial investment in ports as part of the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan.
“The consequences of decades-long under-investment in maritime infrastructure are playing out in real time in the form of supply chain disruptions and delays that have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Chris Connor, AAPA president and CEO, in a statement. “Current disruptions will diminish over time, but with global trade volumes forecasted to increase, now is the time for significant and sustained federal investment in a stronger and more resilient port infrastructure.”
The AAPA statement noted that key shippers – American farmers and retailers – along with dockworkers and port leaders see an urgent need to “strengthen and modernize US maritime infrastructure”.
This action follows AAPA’s presentation on April 29 to the US House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. In his testimony before that body, Mario Cordero, CEO at the Port of Long Beach, and chairman of the board of AAPA, said, “America’s ports need robust support from the federal government to make investments in infrastructure that will enable the efficient flow of trade.”
President Biden supports port infrastructure investment, having included $17bn in his original American Jobs Plan proposal, released at the end of March, for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries.
That proposal is currently under negotiation between the Democrats and Republicans.
The AAPA anticipates that a significant contribution of government funds would also encourage private financing for port development.