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US Government launches $220 million maritime investment plan

US government announces major funding for US ports
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The US. Department of Transportation (DoT) has awarded more than $220 million in discretionary grant funding to improve port facilities in 15 states and territories through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIPD). 

In a statement, the DoT said maritime ports are critical links in the US domestic and international supply chain and that the funding will aim to improve facility and freight infrastructure.

The programme will also provide planning, operational and capital financing, and project management assistance to improve their capacity and efficiency. 

It is the latest in a series of infrastructure investments which the US federal government hopes will improve the supply chain and economy.

US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, said: “This $220 million in federal grants will improve America’s ports with nearly half the projects are located in Opportunity Zones, which were established to revitalise economically distressed communities.”

Eight of the 18 projects that were awarded grants Opportunity Zones. These zoneswere created to revitalise economically distressed communities using private investments.

Maritime Administrator, Mark H. Buzby, said: “This critical investment demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to supporting our nation’s ports and maritime industry.

“These grants will help our nation’s economy and ensure that America’s ports can continue to operate effectively in the competitive global marketplace.”

The 18 projects awarded funding range from automated container handling technology to improving access for cruise passengers. The US Virgin Islands Crown Bay Terminal Improvements Project (awarded $21,869,260). This is the single biggest award and will support the reconstruction and modernization of cargo handling and storage infrastructure at the Crown Bay Terminal. The project includes bulkhead rehabilitation, concrete apron restoration, reconstruction of three cargo storage areas.

In Virginia, the Norfolk International Terminals Central Rail Yard Expansion Project will receive $20,184,999. This grant supports the construction of eight working tracks—which will create two bundles of four tracks each, in addition to a centre working area for transferring and staging containers. Additionally, the project will create a return access road that will separate rail dray traffic returning to the container yard from general truck traffic. 

Ohio’s Port of Conneaut Connector was awarded $19,527,640 to help connect truck and rail freight to the Port of Conneaut, a Great Lakes deep-water port on the shores of Lake Erie. It will provide critical infrastructure needed to facilitate last mile truck freight connectivity.

The Marine Terminal Freight Dock & Corridor Improvements project in Seward, Alaska has been awarded $19,779,425. The project will expand the existing dock by approximately 375 feet to accommodate growing freight cargoes and allow the terminal to service cargo and cruise vessels at the same time.

Finally, in Palm Beach, Floridatheon-dock rail facility development will be awarded $13,224,090.  The project will construct an intermodal container transfer facility on-dock, capable of serving multiple berthed vessels simultaneously. The DoT said the project to increasing container throughput.

Completion of this project is critical to addressing the major challenge to the Port’s realising its maximum container throughput and reaching its full potential as a regional economic engine with minimal negative impact on the regional highway network.

Other funding as part of the $220 million has been awarded to various projects across the maritime industry.

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