Biden Admin Unveils Multibillion-Dollar Plan to Address Supply Chain Issues

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Reporter
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a world news reporter based in Australia. She holds a bachelor's degree in optometry and vision science. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com.
November 9, 2021 Updated: November 9, 2021

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a plan to alleviate immediate supply chain bottlenecks at ports as part of efforts to address potential shortages of goods and price hikes leading up to the holiday season.

The multibillion-dollar plan also makes some long-term investments to strengthen the resiliency of the country’s ports, waterways, and freight infrastructure, to improve supply chain issues currently taking a toll on smaller businesses and causing consumers to face higher prices.

The plan seeks to “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,” the White House announced.

The White House said the plan will lay the foundation to carry out the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal passed by Congress last week, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill allots $17 billion toward infrastructure at coastal ports, inland ports and waterways, and land ports of entry along the U.S. border.

Leading U.S. ports are seeing record volumes of shipping containers, with some ships still waiting to dock; this, coupled with labor shortages, has led to higher costs to transport goods, resulting in inflation.

For example, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which import 40 percent of all containerized imports into the United States, are handling the most goods in their history—17 percent more than their previous record year.

Cargo shipping containers
Cargo shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2021. (Patrick Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the president spoke with CEOs of Walmart, UPS, FedEx, and Target to discuss how the government and the private sector can further strengthen supply chains. The leaders discussed with Biden how shelves will be well-stocked this holiday season following efforts from the companies and ports workers.

Specifically, in efforts to resolve supply chain disruptions in the immediate term, the Biden administration seeks to increase federal flexibility for port grants, in part by allowing port authorities to redirect unused grant money in other projects toward addressing supply chain challenges.

Furthermore, the Georgia Port Authority will reallocate over $8 million to convert existing inland facilities into five temporary container storage yards in Georgia and North Carolina to free up more dock space and alleviate congestion at the Port of Savannah.

The administration outlined four other near-term actions, which includes launching programs to modernize ports and marine highways within the next 45 days—amounting to some $240 million in grant funding.

The administration will also identify projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the next 60 days on more than $4 billion worth of construction and repair at coastal ports and inland waterways.

It will also, in the next 90 days, prioritize key ports of entry to expand and modernize—an effort involving $3.4 billion in investments “to upgrade obsolete inspection facilities and allow more efficient international trade through the northern and southern borders.”

Over the next 90 days, the Biden administration will also open the first round of the infrastructure bill’s port grants, with the Department of Transportation to announce more than $475 million in funding for port and marine highway infrastructure.

The Department of Transportation intends to publish a playbook for states on freight movement and issue guidance on best practices, so that the value of the infrastructure investments can be maximized. There will also be a request for information by the department to improve data collection and sharing to improve the efficiency and transparency of the supply chain.

Biden is set to visit the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday to promote the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and speak about how it will help upgrade ports and strengthen supply chains.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a world news reporter based in Australia. She holds a bachelor's degree in optometry and vision science. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com.