There is a call for major upgrades for ag transportation
Agriculture exporters hope the infrastructure bill will help alleviate congestion at our nation’s ports.
It’s a problem we have reported on since February and the backlog is now impacting domestic shipping.
The Ag Transportation Coalition tells RFD-TV that improving shipping infrastructure will boost competitiveness.
Peter Friedman says that in some cases it is less expensive to import ag products than to move them domestically, because of poor infrastructure on inland waterways and outdated locks and dams.
“Our waterways are a tremendous asset but they have got to be maintained and we have not maintained. We have billions of dollars of deferred maintenance on our inland waterways. So whether it’s cargo that bulk, the soybeans and the grains and the wheat and so forth, that can be moved on barges, and does move on barges on our inland waterways. We can also move containerized agricultural goods,” according to Friedman.
He says that the infrastructure package would support port authorities, which are expanding to better facilitate ag exports.
Meantime, the maritime industry says that another issue it is facing is being left out of COVID relief. Congress created an emergency grant program for ports late last year, but so far, that program is not funded.
Ports, labor unions, and the House Transportation Committee are now making the plea for Congress to fund the program they created.