Seaports Magazine - Summer 2015 - (Page 29)
» GUEST VIEWPOINT
MARAD Programs Help
Ports Stay Strong
By Roger Bohnert
Deputy Associate Administrator for
Intermodal System Development
United States Maritime Administration
ompelling evidence confirms
what we in the industry already
know: America's ports play a
starring role in the nation's
economy. International trade and our
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are inextricably linked - where goes one, so goes
the other - and our seaports handle nearly
all of our overseas trade by volume and
about two-thirds by value. So trade drives
the economy and ports move the trade,
which in turn creates millions of jobs. It is
imperative that ports remain strong.
In April, a new report by Martin
Associates, titled 2014 National Economic
Impact of the U.S. Coastal Port System,
put a finer point on the contribution of
our coastal ports, confirming that their
impact on GDP and ability to generate
employment are significant and growing.
What has been more difficult to quantify
until now, however, is the widening infrastructure gap standing between the ports
of today and the demands of tomorrow - a
future rapidly unfolding.
In April, AAPA helped define this
gap. The results of its 2015 The State of
Freight - Port Surface Transportation
Infrastructure Survey identified nearly
$29 billion in infrastructure needs among
member ports alone.
Today's larger ships, liner alliances,
Panama Canal expansion and shifting
trade routes are already impacting ports.
Recent congestion surges in the Northeast,
the West Coast and the Mid-Atlantic warn
that change is needed now. A significant
part of this challenge is the required
investment in infrastructure.
More freight is coming over the next
20 years. America's population is projected to increase by 70 million, the rough
equivalent of adding the populations of
California, Texas and Massachusetts combined, sparking a 45 percent increase in
freight over today's volumes.
Last year, the Maritime Administration
implemented the StrongPorts program to
help address these needs. Following extensive stakeholder outreach, we shaped the
program to parallel the continuum of any
successful infrastructure project - planning and stakeholder engagement, financing and project execution. Within this
framework, we are providing the people,
products and services to help ports develop
investment grade plans that result in successful projects.
reviews and other activities, as needed.
These tools can help ports access public
funds and attract private capital.
In partnership with AAPA and its members, a Port Planning and Investment
Toolkit is underway - a go-to guide to
help plan, fund and execute projects. The
first module, Funding Strategies, helps
navigate credit, financing and other
issues. Additional modules are under
Additionally, as the port's advocate, we
can help identify public funding tools.
As a member of the newly formed Build
America Transportation Investment
Our ports are silent economic engines and a national
asset. They need investments in modern and efficient
infrastructure to meet tomorrow's demands.
Unlike state departments of transportation, transit agencies and metropolitan
planning organizations that have been
requesting federal assistance for decades,
most ports had little need to do so - until
now. With a growing need to access public funding at the federal, state and local
level, integrated and cross-modal planning
is becoming more essential. As projects
become increasingly complex and costly,
they require financing strategies that
include both public and private capital
to complete an overall funding plan.
We are helping develop partnerships
and advance planning processes through
our experienced staff. We implemented
a new collaboration initiative called
PortTalk and can help with environmental
Center (BATIC), we are exploring ways
for P3s to leverage several federal financing programs. This joint venture approach
may prove to be a valuable tool and can
compliment TIGER grants, which have
provided about $500 million to 40 ports
Our ports are silent economic engines
and a national asset. They need investments in modern and efficient infrastructure to meet tomorrow's demands. Ports
must be viewed as part of the surface transportation system, not stand-alone entities.
And they need the tools and resources
necessary to assure continued economic
vitality now and in the future. For more
information, please visit www.strongports.
gov or call (202) 366-PORT.
SUMMER 2015 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Summer 2015
From the President’s Desk
A Paradigm Shift
U.S. Ports Benefit Economy
Port Education and Training Programs for the Next Generation
WRRDA One Year Later
Saltwater in His Veins
We Need to Invest in the Backbone of Our Economy
MARAD Programs Help Ports Stay Strong
Preparing the Port Leaders of Tomorrow
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2015