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The Biden administration yesterday announced a set of immediate and short-term actions aimed at alleviating supply chain problems at U.S. ports, waterways and freight networks.
The actions are being taken as the administration gears up to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress late last week. The bill includes an unprecedented $17 billion to improve infrastructure at coastal ports, inland ports and waterways and land ports of entry along the border.
The immediate actions announced yesterday will increase federal flexibilities for port grants; accelerate port infrastructure grant awards; announce new construction projects for coastal navigation, inland waterways, and land ports of entry; and launch the first round of expanded port infrastructure grants funded through the bipartisan infrastructure deal, White House officials said in a fact sheet.
Specifically, the actions call for alleviating congestion at the Port of Savannah by funding the Georgia Ports Authority's pop-up container yards project. With that policy change, the authority will be able to reallocate more than $8 million to convert existing inland facilities into five pop-up container yards in both Georgia and North Carolina.
Under the plan, the Port of Savannah will transfer containers via rail and truck further inland so that they can be closer to their final destination, which will make available valuable real estate closer to the port. The effort will free up more dock space and speed goods flow in and out of the port, which leads the nation in containerized agricultural exports, White House officials said.
Moreover, the immediate actions call for supporting "creative solutions" to current supply chain disruptions by allowing flexibility in port grants. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will allow port authorities across the country to redirect project cost savings toward tackling supply chain challenges.
Meanwhile, additional freight investments will be used to create new data standards for goods movement. The USDOT will work with the Federal Maritime Commission to publish a request for information on standardized data exchange requirements for goods movement in the transportation supply chain.
"Standardized data are an important first step to ensure interoperability among actors in the supply chain and greater transparency, resiliency, fluidity, competition, and efficiency across the supply chain," White House officials said in the fact sheet.