Buttigieg Promotes Grants to Boost Miami Port’s Supply Chain

Improvements Include Better Cargo Gate Access for Trucks
Pete Buttigieg
“We are going to work together to expand the speed and the capacity of moving through this port,” Buttigieg said. (Miami-Dade County via Twitter)

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg underscored at the Port of Miami how two federal infrastructure grants from his agency will strengthen the U.S. supply chain there with better cargo gate access for trucks, new equipment to handle more containers and a stormwater system able to cope with rising sea levels.

“As we look to the supply chain needs and the challenges of our time, we are not just sitting around with what we’ve inherited and resting with that. We are taking things to the next level,” Buttigieg said Oct. 18 during a Florida trip to highlight the Biden administration’s accomplishments and pronounce its willingness to work across party lines.

Hydi Webb, director of the Miami port, had welcomed Buttigieg along with state and local officials to what she dubbed “the cargo gateway of the Americas” and the world’s cruise capital. In fiscal year 2022, the port handled 819 cargo ships and 1.19 million 20-foot-equivalent-unit containers.

She noted that Buttigieg had toured the port to witness the impact of federal infrastructure grants. “It’s amazing to watch how that money really does make a big difference,” Webb added.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $21 million to the port in two Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants. The most recent award was made in July for $5 million to help PortMiami’s planning and design studies achieve zero carbon emissions in its on-port operations and develop an inland cargo port and export consolidation center able to handle 50% more cargo volume with expanded access to every major Florida market (Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach and Tampa).

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said not only will the $5 million grant complete portions of the port’s master plan, the funding will also accelerate electrification, raise stormwater resilience and establish a portwide emissions baseline while creating good-paying jobs.

Buttigieg pointed to a $16 million RAISE grant awarded last year to the port for cargo gate optimization to improve truck access to staging areas and realign roadways to and from the cargo gates. Federal dollars are also being spent to build two new rail tracks and purchase three cranes to expand intermodal rail capacity. The port is also going to reconstruct its stormwater drainage system to address rising sea levels and boost climate change resilience.

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“We are going to work together to expand the speed and the capacity of moving through this port,” Buttigieg said, noting that the new tracks to the on-port railyard “will translate into 87,000 containers of additional rail capacity per year. We’ll fix a major truck bottleneck, helping to modernize the cargo gate system.”

He stated that improving the supply chain is also beneficial to combating rising inflation.

“There’s a lot more work being done to bring costs down. It’s a top priority of this administration,” he remarked. “Reducing costs is part of what you’re doing here, too. It is a big part of why we are investing in the long-term strength of our supply chains because when goods move more efficiently, we see that reflected in prices at the store.”