Often, little known facts can point companies to lucrative contracting opportunities. A good example is data related to the growth and expansion of U.S. ports.
The movement of freight in the U.S. is growing at a staggering rate. But, the more riveting data stems from port projects and expansions that will be required over the next decade.
America’s trade volume is expected to quadruple during the next 10 years, and by 2037, the U.S. will export more than 52 million shipping containers annually. That’s important because America’s seaport activity supports 26 percent of the country’s overall economy. That critical fact ensures that public funding will be forthcoming and the growth and the cost for expansion and supporting port needs has been placed at $66 billion.
Port authorities oversee waterfront facilities, and most ports also manage other transportation infrastructure – airports, rail, access roads, and more.
The state’s 2020-2021 Texas Port Capital Program (PCP) outlines projects that port officials plan to launch. These projects’ costs exceed one trillion dollars – $1,490,205,386 to be exact. Texas ports on the list include Beaumont, Port Arthur, Galveston, Freeport, Brownsville, Victoria, Corpus Christi, and Calhoun. The Port Authority Advisory Committee in Texas has approved the PCP document as well as a first funding request of $575 million. That first funding amount is only a fraction of the $7.7 billion of critical immediate improvements identified in the plan.
The Port Authority of Allegheny County has requested $99.5 million for a $225 million Bus Rapid Transit system project. Authority officials plan to use bus lanes to link downtown Pittsburgh with Oakland. The final design of the project will be completed in 2020, and construction will begin in 2021. Other needs that have been noted include a fifth garage, a potential corridor that links to Pittsburgh International Airport, expansion of light rail service, and enhancements for more safety at bus stops and other services.
New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is scheduled to award contracts for a new AirTrain project in 2021. This project includes a 1.5-mile AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport. A $2 billion elevated people mover will deliver people from the airport to a connection with subways and a Long Island Railroad facility.
A draft of the Port of New Orleans’ PIER (Port Inner Harbor Economic Revitalization) Plan was released this month. It outlines future development and plans for brownfield site reuse. The port has six campuses planned for 1,000 acres of port-owned property, and officials will seek alternative funding and a private sector partner for the project. Development projects will include a 310-acre Intermodal Campus for shipping and logistics, a container storage facility and refurbishment on property that falls in an Opportunity Zone. Port officials have announced interest in a public-private partnership engagement. Other projects are related to 380 acres for a Packing and Processing Campus, 220 acres for an Eastern Cargo Campus, 70 acres for a Maritime Recreational Campus, 95 acres for a Recycling Campus, and 100 acres for a Transitional Port Uses Subarea.
Officials at the Zanesville Muskingum County Port Authority will market the National Road Business Park as a destination for new businesses. Port officials purchased the 203-acre site in 2018 through a Joint Economic Development District project with the county and the city of Zanesville. Engineering on the land is almost complete, and the port authority soon will seek interest from companies interested in locating there. Another port property, the Airport Industrial Park, has all utilities in place and is being promoted as a shovel ready location for businesses that have port related ties.
A $570 million renovation and restoration project was recently completed, but there are more projects planned at the Port of Gulfport. Access to the facility will be increased and enhanced. And, the U.S Department of Transportation has awarded a $15.8 million grant to the Mississippi State Port Authority to improve highway access to the port. Infrastructure projects including repairs to a 1.2-mile stretch of road and a bridge are anticipated soon.
As the number of wind turbine parts shipped to the U.S. has increased for the Clure Public Marine Terminal, so too has the list of infrastructure projects needed to support the port’s growth. The Deluth Seaway Port Authority was recently awarded $10.5 million for projects required for growth. Projects currently being discussed include construction of a new 56,000-square-foot warehouse and the rehabilitation of approximately 1,700 feet of deteriorating dock walls. Costs for the work have been estimated at approximately $20.3 million.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced recently that another $1 billion in funding is now available for port projects related to expansions, rail, transit, intermodal, and any other transportation options.
Port projects in the U.S. will represent thousands of contracting opportunities over the next several years, and there is no slowdown in sight.