Ports seek more funding to handle multimodal freight spike

Dive Brief:
  • Just after the House Appropriations Committee released its Fiscal Year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding bill that sets aside $250 million for port projects, the American Association of Port Authorities released its State of Freight III report reiterating ports' need for infrastructure funding.
  • The report laments that "only $1.13 billion [of the FAST Act] was eligible for multimodal projects" and "this amount has already dwindled to $275 million after several rounds of FASTLANE and Infra Grants have been awarded."
  • The report claims ports need $20 billion for rail and multimodal projects over the next 10 years. It said 77% of ports are planning to improve rail access over the next decade to meet increasing demand and 67% consider funding and financing to be the top barrier to completing these projects.

Dive Insight:

Congress and port authorities aren't on the same page about how much funding ports need to operate at optimal efficiency. 

Because repairing roads and highways are such a top priority for Congress right now, ports may have an uphill battle to get the funding they want.

Ports want better funding and financing options, and while there are funding and financing options available — like the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) — the State of Freight report said ports find the application process for such programs "frustrating" and want 100% financing.

Ports have been struggling with funding since the Great Recession, and the rise of e-commerce and its effects on shipping and supply chains have forced them to change rapidly, far faster than they can keep up when it comes to restructuring.
SupplyChain Dive