MARAD sets aside additional $662M for port infrastructure projects

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) making available more than $662 million funding in 2023 for Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). 

Illustration; Credit: Port of Oakland

MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program grants help eligible applicants including port authorities, states, local governments, indigenous tribal nations, counties, and other eligible entities complete critical port and port-related infrastructure projects.

Specifically, grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports.

Furthermore, MARAD will consider how projects address climate change and sustainability, equity, and workforce development objectives.

“This funding will support 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 support future growth,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips

“The program also includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently, support local and regional economies, and support supply chain improvement.”   

With the PIDP investment, MARAD hopes to modernize the ports and help strengthen the cpuntry’s supply chains, helping also to reduce shipping time, costs, and ultimately the costs of goods for the American people. The infrastructure package provides $450 million annually in funding for the program.

Recent projects funded include:

  • installation of fast charging stations and other port electrification components and the development of a scalable plan for transitioning the port and local maritime industry to zero-emission technologies in Jacksonville, Florida;
  • the creation of an intermodal rail yard near an existing port terminal in Kaskaskia, Illinois;
  • and the modernization of electric and stormwater infrastructure and warehouse capacity for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in Cleveland, Ohio.

“America’s ports play a central role in our supply chains,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “

“With … announcement, we are helping make our ports safer, more efficient, and more reliable—strengthening supply chains, reducing costs for the American people, and positioning us for economic success.”

In January this year, the Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, an interagency framework of strategies and actions to remove all emissions from the transportation sector by 2050.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emissions from multimodal equipment at ports largely contribute to poor air quality and environmental justice issues for millions of people living in near-port communities, many of which often consist of disadvantaged and underserved populations.

The maritime industry is international in scope, with the largest share of GHG emissions originating from international voyages. Therefore, effective decarbonization will require intergovernmental collaboration that aligns with industry and community needs.

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The blueprint is expected to serve as a guide for future policymaking and research, development, demonstration, and deployment in the public and private sectors to transform how people and goods move throughout the United States.