Contract Surety

Capacity Building: Ports!


Remember all those images of ships lined up, waiting to enter ports and unload containers? Though that’s “yesterday’s news,” the infrastructure challenges to our supply chains did not magically disappear, which makes it great to know that the Department of Transportation has awarded more grants to upgrade 41 ports across the country.


That’s the goal for the $653 million dollars being invested in ports in the latest round of funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT). Pointing out that moving cargo on water has a ripple effect on other supply chain challenges, Ann Phillips of the DOT’s Maritime Administration underscores: “Modernizing the nation’s port infrastructure is vital to the reinforcement of America’s multimodal system for transporting goods.” Construction Dive reports that with this new award, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has now invested a total of $17 billion in ports and waterways, which represents “the largest-ever dedicated funding for ports and waterways.” Specifically: 

The funding is through the Port Infrastructure Development Program, which provides planning support, capital funding and project management assistance, and comes from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The projects will boost capacity and efficiency at coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports and inland river ports and enable them to meet greater shipping demands….Supply chain issues were a top concern for builders this year.Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the goal of the projects is to improve port infrastructure so that they can withstand the kinds of shocks seen during the pandemic that snarled supply chains…

Like infrastructure investment of all kinds around the country, including funding for improvements to bridges and public buildings, the funds for ports are critically needed

and long overdue. In fact:

The nation’s more than 300 coastal and inland ports get a B- grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers, meaning they’re adequate for now but require attention. While port funding has risen in recent years, there is still a gap of over $12 billion for waterside infrastructure such as dredging over the next decade, and billions more are needed for landside port infrastructure, according to ASCE.

Contractors eager to get in on public works will of course want to keep up with the Department of Transportation’s Funding Opportunity Notices. Other agencies to keep an eye on include: the Federal Communications Commission which is overseeing broadband infrastructure; the Environmental Protection Agency, which is focused on water infrastructure; the Department of Energy, which is upgrading the electric grid, including EV charging stations; and, the Department of Commerce which is overseeing “regional innovation strategies and entrepreneurship.” While following the flow of money for builds in your region, don’t forget that Colonial Surety is here to help you bid more and win more, with The Partnership Account® for Contractors. Get free insights and financial scores just for completing the pre-qualification.

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Good To Know: Award Distributions

The 41 projects selected for the recent round of funding were chosen “based on their ability to improve the safety, efficiency or reliability of the movement of goods, as well as on how well they would improve port resilience.”  Importantly, $172.8 million will be used for projects at 26 small points which “have particular difficulty maintaining their infrastructure and competing for federal grants…”. Ports that have been recently awarded funds include:

  • $54.2 million for the Port of Tacoma Husky Terminal Expansion Port One in Tacoma, Washington.
  • $52.6 million for the North Harbor Transportation System Improvement Project in Long Beach, California.
  • $43.4 million for dock infrastructure replacement in Cold Bay, Alaska.
  • $32 million to reconstruct Berth PN-308 at Port Newark in Newark, New Jersey.
  • $16 million for the Velasco Terminal Sustainable Expansion Project in Freeport, Texas.

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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed. Let’s connect today: LinkedIn.