Editor’s note: This article is the third in a series looking at five of the country’s hottest construction verticals. Click here for the first article and here for the second.

Ports from coast to coast are eyeing improvement projects to help alleviate supply chain issues that have plagued businesses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The focus on port projects in the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is part of an overall push from the Biden administration to help alleviate the clogged supply chain in the U.S.

“That bill is going to help improve ports that get our supply chains moving and speeding up deliveries and addressing shortages,” said John Fumero, a shareholder at Nason Yeager, a Florida-based law firm that represents the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. “[It’s] going to be providing significant funding for ports to undertake these projects to expand capacity.”

But there’s even more money for the sector beyond the $17 billion round of federal funding earmarked for seaports in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced in December $241 million in grants via the United States Maritime Administration Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). That money will go toward 25 projects in 19 states to bolster U.S. ports.

PIDP awarded $241 million in grants to numerous ports
Port name City, State Funding amount Brief description of project
Port of Long Beach Long Beach, California $52.3 million New locomotive facility, and an extension of the east and west rail yards.
Port of Albany Albany, New York $29.5 million Development of 81 acres along the Hudson River into an offshore wind tower manufacturing port; redevelopment of 14.5 vacant acres inside the port.
35th Street Pier New York City $24.97 million New barge berth and an additional crane pad on the western end of the pier.
Portsmouth Marine Terminal Portsmouth, Virginia $20 million Wind turbine generator staging area in the uplands adjacent to one of the wharves, and a second storage area.
Bayport Container Terminal Houston $18.26 million Development of Container Yard 1 South, a 29-acre green space at the port’s Bayport Container Terminal.
Port of Tacoma Tacoma, Washington $15.73 million Construction of an off-dock container support facility.
Port of Brunswick Brunswick, Georgia $14.64 million Building a fourth roll-on/roll-off vessel berth at the Colonel’s Island Terminal.
Port of San Juan San Juan, Puerto Rico $10 million Reconstruction of the Tender Pier and Dock B in the Pier 15 area.
Port of Superior Bayfield, Wisconsin $8.36 million Construction of a new sheet pile retaining wall, placement of tremie concrete behind the wall, installation of a concrete cap on top of the wall; repairs to an unutilized facility.
Port of Oakland Oakland, California $5.2 million Replacement of an existing electrical substation and circuit, new construction of an onsite fuel cell facility.
Port Bienville Bay St. Louis, Mississippi $4.14 million New rail storage yard.
America’s Central Port Granite City, Illinois $4.14 million Improvements to a berth and cargo transfer location at the port’s Granite City Harbor Facility.
Port of Saint Paul Saint Paul, Minnesota $4.14 million Replacement of the dock wall at Barge Terminal 2.
City of Aberdeen Port Aberdeen, Mississippi $4 million Construction of 12,200 linear feet of a new rail spur. 
Port of Alpena Alpena, Michigan $3.75 million Berth dredging to accommodate larger vessels, stone dock demolition for better vessel access, new mooring dolphins, a roof for a storage building, demolition of a storage building and maritime security upgrades.
Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Paducah, Kentucky $3.32 million Improvements to material handling equipment, damaged facilities and site condition upgrades.
Port of Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas $3.07 million Expansion of current barge fleeting capacity on the Arkansas River, replacement of 15 deadman ground anchors with steel monopile dolphins.
Port of Cleveland Cleveland $3 million Harbor-wide and regional planning study to address cargo handling and environmental and economic development needs.
Port of Ilwaco Ilwaco, Washington $2.44 million Reconstruction and rebuilding of a wooden bulkhead and related utilities.
Port of Salem Salem, Massachusetts $2.4 million Improvements to the Deep-Water Berth and passenger access pathway, including the construction of two mooring devices and a new catwalk.
Port of Delcambre Delcambre, Louisiana $2 million Dock restoration and investments required to establish an industrial fabrication facility at the port.
Port of Morehead City Morehead City, North Carolina $1.67 million Rail improvements.
Port of Marquette Marquette, Michigan $1.61 million Dredging.
Tell City River Port Tell City, Indiana $1.6 million Construction of a 40-foot-diameter crane pier for direct barge-to-truck cargo unloading.
Port of Whittier Whittier, Alaska $1.17 million Development of a comprehensive master plan for the Whitter Terminal.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration

In addition to this funding, the PIDP will then nearly double that amount to $450 million in grants annually for the next five years via funds from the IIJA, – $2.25 billion total – for fiscal years 2022 through 2026.

“The effects of the disruption of the supply chain this past year have been felt by business lines and families across the country and the world,” said Fitz O’Donnell, senior vice president of operations at St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Cos. “The image of so many ships waiting to call on our ports has served as a collective call to action to develop solutions.”

Fitz O’Donnell

Permission granted by McCarthy

 

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) pegged port and waterway construction market activity to grow 6% in 2022, according to a 2022-2026 market analysis.

Similarly, the Port of Palm Beach will break ground on a $26 million port infrastructure development program in 2022, which will more than double the port’s intermodal rail capacity, according to Fumero. 

“It’s all about moving containers in and out of the port as quickly as possible,” Fumero said.

The Port of Palm Beach is also undertaking a multimillion dollar investment to repair and upgrade its container yard. The project received grant funding and port funds which total $2.9 million for the initial phase of the project. Soil investigations will start in the next couple of weeks and project bidding is estimated to occur at the end of the second quarter this year, said Ron Coddington, director of engineering for the project.

“We have heard from several of our clients that they are actively working to accelerate their future capital improvement programs as the demand for marine terminal services continues to grow,” said O’Donnell. “Projects that were scheduled for 2024 and beyond are being fast-tracked for permitting and execution.”