It is clear that the ports in the US need help so that they can properly handle the incoming influx of cargo expected within the next few years. To do that, they need the US Government to invest with more allocations.
The Journal of Commerce reports that the US House of Representatives recently passed a bill to increase port funding, including a $1.25 billion funding amendment that is slightly higher than the $1.2 billion ports were asking for. The recent house funding included investments for navigation projects at the ports paid by the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Freight forwarders are enthusiastic about the new port investments in the coming year. Meanwhile, the new question remains: can the US Senate pass the House version so that the President can sign the funding increase?
Last year, the US Senator could not receive enough support to pass the $1.2 billion needed for port upgrades. Among the upgrades, there are dredging projects available for large and smaller ports. There are larger vessels moving containers today, and most US ports lack the sufficient space needed to welcome these larger vessels. The US simply cannot afford to miss out on bigger ships. If the dredging projects do occur, this will increase trade, create jobs and improve our economy.
Another idea that Congress must consider is reforming the Water Resources Reform Development Act to provide more of the Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues back to the ports. If these changes were to occur, there could be future impacts felt on ocean freight shipping rates.