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Maritime Administration Awards $280 Million in Grants to Upgrade US Ports

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration has awarded more than $280 million in discretionary grant funding through the new Port Infrastructure Development Program aimed at improving port facilities around the country.

“Ports are gateways to the world and port infrastructure investments will improve the regional economy, increase productivity and economic competitiveness, and create more jobs,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to better meet the country’s freight transportation needs. The program provides capital financing and project management assistance to improve port capacity and efficiency. Of the 15 projects that were awarded grants, six are located in Opportunity Zones created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments.

“The grants awarded will ensure that these facilities are operating at their highest, most productive capacities,” Maritime administrator Mark H. Buzby said.

DOT said ports are vital components of the U.S. economy, contributing to global trade and directly and indirectly providing countless jobs for Americans. Improving these facilities benefits the American economy and increases the capacity and efficiency of the transportation and supply network nationwide.

Several of the ports are major points of entry and exit for U.S. retail and apparel and textile imports and exports.

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The largest twin port complex of Los Angeles/Long Beach in California is getting an upgrade. At Long Beach, the Alameda Corridor South Access: Terminal Island Rail Junction Project was awarded $14.5 million to be used to improve capacity by constructing and replacing rails and siding that will improve the efficiency of rail operations. The intended rail enhancements will increase also the longevity of the infrastructure.

The Port of Los Angeles Multimodal Freight Network Improvement Program: Fenix Container Terminal Intermodal Railyard Expansion and Modernization Project was awarded a grant of $18.18 million. The grant will be used to increase the capacity of the existing on-dock railyard by adding 11,500 linear feet of track. This project will improve the terminal’s rail capacity by 10 percent, while also creating utility corridors and draining systems that will minimize the impact of storm-related damage.

In Georgia, a grant of $34.6 million will be used to realign the Port of Savannah’s easternmost berth to enable it to receive 14,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container ships. The three-component project consists of demolishing, rebuilding and deepening the berth to allow vessels to take full advantage of the adjacent navigation channel. The project will enhance the port’s overall speed and efficiency of processing containers.

In Charleston, S.C.; the Wando Welch Terminal Wharf Toe Wall and Berth Deepening Project was awarded $19.99 million to construct an underwater retaining wall and deepen three berths at the terminal to enable the facility to handle larger container ships. This project complements the ongoing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to deepen the navigation channel leading to the terminal.