Most people agree that it is vital that the United States improves the ports so that they can handle large ocean vessels carrying vast amounts of cargo. To deal with this, the US Congress passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. This bill was first introduced in 2013 and signed into law in 2014. This is important to know because this is the first water bill in the US to pass since 2007.
Essentially, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act provides funding for more Federal maritime transportation projects at the ports. Examples of the projects include work at the Port of Savannah and deepening Boston Harbor. In many US Ports, the funding from the bill pays for dredging and berthing to ensure that larger ships can be facilitated at US ports. The bill also paves the way for outside groups to donate funds for these projects. The money for the projects is provided from the funds collected for the Harbor Maintenance Taxes for imports.
These improvements will help ocean freight shipping for many US companies. There is just a little problem: there is a $100 million funding gap for the appropriations from the Senate version of the bill. Port groups, shippers and freight forwarders are asking the Senators to close this gap and provide more funding. Without these important projects, then the ports will not be able to transport as much cargo and there might be higher shipping costs. Hopefully, the funding issue gets fixed by the end of the year.