Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Florida Receive Port Infrastructure Grants

Tacoma receives one of the largest grants to expands its container terminal (file photo)

Published Nov 1, 2023 8:04 PM by The Maritime Executive


The first grants for the U.S. Maritime Administration’s 2023 Port Infrastructure Development Program are being announced with significant investments designed to enhance the U.S.’s port operations including exports of agricultural goods. The program is an annual discretionary grant program funded by the U.S. Congress and administered by MarAd designed to improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.

Applications were due by the end of April 2023 to MarAd for this year’s grants. MarAd was given a total of just over $662 million for the program in FY 23. This included $450 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law plus a supplemental $212 million made available to the program under the FY2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

According to the application process, the PIDP grants would support efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs and ensure port infrastructure can meet anticipated growth in freight volumes. The PIDP provides funding to ports in both urban and rural areas for planning and capital projects. It also includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently and support local and regional economies.

Individual members of Congress have begun to report back to their home states of the first of the grants, while MarAd will also release the full list for the yearly program.

One of the largest grants is going to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which oversees the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. The program will be helping to fund the expansion of Tacoma’s Husky Terminal. PIDP will provide $56 million in funding for the first phase of the expansion which will reconfigure the terminal to allow two ultra-large containerships at one time as well as tripling capacity for refrigerated containers. Other portions of the project include upgrades to the power infrastructure to support the transition away from diesel-power cargo handling. The terminal is used by Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and Yang Ming.

Seven projects across Alaska will also receive a total of $72 million in grants. The largest portion, $43 million, will be used for a new dock in Cold Bay, in the Aleutian Islands. Other projects include the deep water harbor projects in None and Wrangle.

A further $36.4 million is being awarded on the Pacific Coast to three ports, for Astoria, Coquille Indian Tribe’s Ko’Kwel Wharf, and Newport, in Oregon. This includes $25 million for the rehabilitation of the Port of Astoria’s Pier 2 West, which they call the region’s hub for seafood processing and maritime commerce as well as $3.4 million for the expansion of the Port of Newport.

Another project that has reported a grant also designed to expand exports is in Port Panama City, Florida. They are receiving $11.2 million to fund a new warehouse and rail spur to handle the growth of forest product imports and exports.

MarAd is expected to shortly release additional details on the 2023 grant recipients.