The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has asked the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration to provide emergency relief funding for the country’s maritime transportation system. Joining with thirty-five (35) other maritime industry groups, AAPA sent a letter to Congressional leaders and President Biden highlighting this critical need.
In the letter, industry urged Congress to fund the Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Program. Established by Congress in 2020, this program authorizes the Maritime Administration to award grants due to emergencies or disasters, including the current pandemic. The letter also noted that financial assistance has been given to other modes of transportation, but not to the crucial maritime network.
Outlining significant negative impacts to the maritime industry from the ongoing global pandemic, the groups stated that, “Despite container surges at several large ports, commercial cargo volumes have plummeted across the industry – total waterborne trade volume is down 5.5 percent compared to last year, while the value of this trade has crashed by 12.7 percent totaling US$200 billion. Passenger movements remain virtually ceased.”
“During these uncertain times, the U.S. maritime industry and its workforce has sustained the movement of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods to our communities. This emergency relief will ensure operational continuity at the elevated level which Americans have come to depend on,” stated Christopher Connor, AAPA’s president and CEO.