Ports Seeking Pandemic Aid

The American Association of Port Authorities this week became the latest transportation-related trade group to seek emergency COVID-19 funding from the federal government.

AAPA and 35 other maritime industry groups want Congress to fund the Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Program.

In a news release, AAPA said the program, which was established by Congress last year, authorizes the federal maritime administration to award grants because of emergencies or disasters, including the current pandemic.

A letter to Congress and President Joseph Biden said financial assistance has been given to other modes of transportation but no funds have been approved for the nation’s maritime network.

“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 $200 billion. Passenger movements remain virtually ceased,” the letter stated.

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