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USDOT Announces more than $12 Million in Funding for the U.S. Marine Highway Program


USDOT Announces more than $12 Million in Funding for the U.S. Marine Highway Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity making $12,423,000 available in Fiscal Year 2023 funds through the United States Marine Highway Program (USMHP), previously named America’s Marine Highway Program.

The USMHP seeks to increase the use of America’s navigable waterways, especially where water-based transport is the most efficient, effective, and sustainable option. The USMHP helps to create maritime jobs, strengthen the nation’s supply chains, reduce emissions, and lower maintenance costs.

The Department will evaluate projects using criteria including the effect on movement of goods, level of non-federal funding investment, use of domestic preference, consideration of equity, and environmental justice. The Department will also consider geographic diversity when selecting grant recipients, as well as how the project addresses challenges faced by rural areas.

Applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 28, 2023.

For technical assistance, MARAD will host a series of webinars during the USMHP grant application process. For webinar registration details or for additional information regarding the USMHP click here or contact the USMHP staff via email at, or by phone at 202–366–1123.

nuvera shipyard smart pond

Nuvera Expands Maritime Industry Engagement

Nuvera Fuel Cells, LLC announces the sale of two Nuvera® E-60 Fuel Cell Engines to Nexus Energy, a sustainable innovation company based in the Netherlands that is developing modular zero emission solutions for maritime and on-shore applications. Nexus Energy will use the 60 kW hydrogen fuel cell engines in the development of a common modular powerpack for maritime and on-shore use, for both stationary and heavy-duty applications.

Nuvera fuel cell engines help maritime vessel and equipment manufacturers to comply with tightening emissions regulations and mandates and remain economically competitive by providing high-performance zero-emission power solutions fueled by clean hydrogen. The International Maritime Organization is targeting a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Many governments and maritime industry players believe 100% is the appropriate goal.


Nuvera Fuel Cells, LLC is a manufacturer of heavy-duty, zero-emission engines for mobility applications. With teams located in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Nuvera provides clean, safe, and efficient products designed to meet the rigorous needs of industrial vehicles and other transportation markets.

Nuvera is a subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Group, Inc., which designs, engineers, manufactures, sells, and services a comprehensive line of lift trucks and aftermarket parts marketed globally primarily under the Hyster® and Yale® brand names. Hyster-Yale Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (NYSE:HY). Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. and its subsidiaries, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, employ approximately 8,100 people worldwide.

What is a Smart Port?

What is a Smart Port?

A Smart Port is a port that uses automation and innovative technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain to improve its performance.

Although the industry of ports and container shipping is often regarded as conservative and resistant to change, there are new technologies, systems and solutions emerging that will alter this perception in the coming years, leading the entire sector to a brighter, more connected future.

The need to evolve and become “smart” is even more paramount today with the changing demands of global trade: ships are getting biggergoods are moving faster; and geopolitical issues are creating new challenges for ports all around the world.

In Edition 106 of the PTI Journal we examined some of the the most important digital trends and developments across the industry.

The industry has already embraced many emerging technologies such as Digital Twinscargo flow optimization and visualization – giving customers end-to-end transparency of their cargo’s journey through the supply – and the emergence of 5G’s low latency and faster connectivity to improve port operations.


The digitalization of industrial processes is turning the way we produce goods and services upside-down as we look for higher efficiencies and better management of resources. This transformation is the so called Industry 4.0, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can be considered its cornerstone due to the clear need to capture information from all industrial assets.

Digital Twin technologies in use at the Port of Antwerp

The maritime sector is not an exception in this transformation and the change is starting to accelerate.

The Port of Esbjerg, for example, is leveraging a Digital Twin data visualization platform to identify, monitor, and analyse the emissions outputs of not just its own carbon consumption, but eventually all actors using the port’s facility. The digitalization and measuring of the port’s assets has allowed the port to make significant strides in reducing its carbon output within the port community.

But digitalization is still a largely untapped resource in ports: reports found in February 2021 that of the 4,900 ports around the world, a staggering 80% continue to rely on legacy and paper-based processes to manage maritime services.

Smart Digital Ports of the Future Conference

Smart Digital Ports of the Future Conference is the only annual international event on the market that brings together the largest number of global ports, terminals, and the entire supply chain to debate, share best practices, latest developments and to successfully propel the industry forward with digitalization.

Click here for all of the news, insight, and analysis from #SDP

Ports aiming to become smarter must complement their physical operations with digital processes, according to the Port of Rotterdam.

What is a Smart Port? – Joyce Bliek, Port of Rotterdam

In 2019 the Port of Rotterdam’s Director of Digital Business Solutions Joyce Bliek outlined what it means to be a digital port.

As technology develops, and the global supply chain becomes increasingly digital, there is a necessity for ports to become a “digital node” within that infrastructure.

In this respect, Bliek echoes the thoughts of Kalmar’s Director of Terminal Automation Jari Hämäläinen, who argues that the “exponential growth” of digital technology is placing pressure on the port sector to adapt. Those which fail to do so could be left behind.

The benefits of adopting a dual-approach that encompasses both the physical and the digital, as Bliek explains, are considerable, especially for the testing and optimization of physical infrastructure.

Building a quay wall for instance, without the support of digital twin technology and predictive analysis, could be very costly, whereas testing the structure’s functionality before it is constructed offers a much clearer insight as to what impact a major investment like this could have.

Money saved through digitalization can be used elsewhere to fund key maintenance and infrastructure projects, allowing the port to hone its focus on improving the efficiency of its operations.



Twenty twenty-one was a difficult year in global logistics due to ongoing volatility. We worked alongside customers navigating the Suez Canal block, hurricanes and cyclones, port and terminal closures due to COVID-19 outbreaks, customs and trade changes, labor shortages and more.

I’ve been in the industry since 1997 and I have never seen this level of continual disruption across the entire supply chain for this length of time. However, with this year’s volatility, I was also given a front-row seat to a new level of hyper collaboration–including individuals going out of their way to help each other, more strategy sessions between shippers and forwarders, and continually leaning into historical data and current market insights find smarter solutions.

As we begin another potentially volatile year, I wanted to provide key strategies for global shippers to consider.


At year-end, we typically see a jump in demand as shippers meet quarter-end quotas and prepare for the upcoming Lunar New Year, during which many factories in China shut down. However, in early 2022, shippers are also juggling potential delays from the Winter Olympics in Beijing throughout February. All of this is amid a strained supply chain market, which will take time to ease.

As you prepare for the year ahead, consider what different modes, trade lanes or inland transportation strategies you can implement in your supply chain. For example, while it may not be feasible to transport 100% of your freight via air, air freight continues to be the fastest way to replenish inventory, so prioritizing specific freight can help keep cargo moving. In fact, C.H. Robinson is running on average 15-17 air charters a week globally for customers looking to avoid the congested ocean ports, and we don’t expect that number to decrease in the near future.

Additionally, as demand and rates will likely continue to stay elevated, less-than-container load (LCL) shipping is a strategy to consider. Typically, space for LCL shipments is easier to find especially in a constrained capacity market, since you are only looking for some container space versus an entire empty container. We also continue to see large cost savings with expedited LCL services compared to today’s airfreight environment.

Keep in mind, LCL shipments are not going to bypass congestion at the ports, so inland strategies need to be considered. Currently, many ocean carriers are looking to move more interior point intermodal cargo versus focusing on port-to-port. We were able to help increase the flow of cargo inland for our customers by sending more 53-foot containers so cargo on the smaller 40-foot ocean containers can be efficiently consolidated in the larger ones and loaded onto trucks or trains to be taken to inland destinations more quickly. Overall, this increased our container capacity by 25% in Southern California.

Indeed, looking at only one portion of the supply chain or one mode can only get you so far. It’s important to consider all areas to keep your cargo moving.


Although 2021 rendered a lot of unique situations—and 2022 may do the same—historical data can still help us find solutions. Finding common trends and themes in your cyclical data can give you an information advantage to make smarter decisions for your supply chain.

Additionally, the right technology tools can give you the visibility and predictability you need to adjust. For example, with the ongoing port congestion and delays, C.H. Robinson enhanced the vessel routing and tracking features within our transportation management system, Navisphere, to increase the efficiency and accuracy of port ETAs and automatically send updates if changes were discovered. This is important because ocean shipping is only one piece of the equation. Having visibility to changes in real-time gives our team and customers a chance to react and adjust other tactics down the road.


It’s unclear whether we’ll see a reinstatement of certain Section 301 China duty exclusions. At press time, the House and Senate had yet to reach consensus on the legislative proposals. If passed, it would be effective through the end of this year.

While congestion and shortages continue across transportation modes, one area where you may find opportunities for savings is in your global trade strategy. Since each country’s trade policies are unique and can change, it’s important to have regular meetings with your trade advisor to break through the complexity of your total landed costs, including understanding your costs to import, identifying duty recovery possibilities and reducing your duty exposure via trade agreements.

For example, our team has helped shippers identify thousands to millions of dollars in tariff refunds alone. If you import into the U.S., you can easily check for potential savings and refunds with our online Tariff Search Tool——and, if you’re sourcing from other countries, our team can create a customized sourcing report sharing potential cost savings or avoidance opportunities.


Forecasting remains essential. For this new year, we strongly encourage forecasting six to eight weeks minimum as a best practice. Considerations for staying consistent include:


-Variability in SKUs/parts

-Smoothing volumes week-to-week

It’s important to be flexible in all facets of a shipment life cycle including:






-Port congestion continues to strand vessels and equipment. In Los Angeles/Long Beach (LALB) there are more than 90 vessels with an average 18-30-day dwell. Seattle and Tacoma are experiencing an average of 12 days to berth, while Savannah still has more than 20 vessels waiting at anchor.

-South East Asia transshipment hub ports are also impacted, causing heavy delays on non-direct services via Asia.

-Overall capacity is affected by ongoing port congestion in many trade lanes. Vessels are oftentimes delayed back to their origin, missing scheduled port calls to unload empty equipment, and pick up new laden exports to the United States.

-Schedule reliability and operational constraints are forecasted to continue.


-The supply chain in Oceania continues to be negatively impacted by the global supply chain disruption. Terminal congestion and suspension of pro forma berthing windows are having an impact on shipping schedules.

-Our teams are exploring diverse options in moving longstanding containers to help customers mitigate significant delays.

-The impact of port delays around the world is likely to keep freight costs high on all outbound trades.


While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the above options provide shippers with strategies to help mitigate delays and identify potential savings as we begin another potentially unpredictable year.

Shippers have had to become increasingly nimble and informed over the past year, and now in 2022, it’s critical to remain agile, be open to alternative solutions and stay informed on the latest market insights. 


Mike Short is president of global forwarding at C.H. Robinson. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company solves logistics problems for companies across the globe and across industries, from the simple to the most complex. With nearly $20 billion in freight under management and 18 million shipments annually, C.H. Robinson is one of the world’s largest logistics platforms. Their global suite of services accelerates trade to seamlessly deliver the products and goods that drive the world’s economy. With the combination of our multimodal transportation management system and expertise, they parlay an information advantage to deliver smarter solutions for more than 119,000 customers and 78,000 contract carriers. Learn more at 

supply chain

Supply Chain Predictions for 2022

After the numerous supply chain issues of the last two years, businesses are hoping for an improved logistics landscape in 2022. While there is somewhat smoother sailing on the horizon, international trade waters will remain choppy in 2022 as logistics issues and government actions continue. Some pressure on the logistics portion of the supply chain may ease, but the cost of shipping will continue to increase. Moreover, new issues are expected to arise in 2022 resulting from government action that will continue to put pressure on the supply chain.

Logistics Issues Will Remain

Logistics-related supply chain pressures may ease during 2022 as a result of lessons learned. During 2020 and 2021, the pandemic upended the logistics industry. Supply chain pressures stretched ports to maximum capacity, and there was (and continues to be) a shortage of truckers. Companies sought to side-step the delays by paying extra to take another company’s spot-on containerships and take other creative actions. Some logistics-related issues likely will ease in 2022 due to companies learning from their experiences during the pandemic. Companies have learned to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and will continue to do so. Recognizing that “just-in-time” supply chains will not return to their prior efficiency, companies will continue to adapt in 2022 by warehousing essential inventory (when possible), diversifying supply chains, and selecting to manufacture closer to the consumer base.

Diversification and relocation will be incentivized in 2022 by high logistics costs and governments (as discussed later). Trucking companies and other logistics companies are experiencing higher costs, such as higher salaries resulting from the tight labor market. Similarly, prices for ocean shipments are expected to reach record highs under annual contracts.  Logistics costs are expected to remain high through 2022 and likely 2023. However, many expect that more supply capacity will come on stream and the demand-side pressures should ease this year.

Congress seeks to address logistics issues with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, which overhauls federal regulations for the global shipping industry. This bill seeks to ensure a more competitive global ocean shipping industry, protect American businesses and consumers from price gouging, and establish reciprocal trade to promote U.S. exports as part of the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) mission.  It also prohibits ocean carriers from declining opportunities for U.S. exports unreasonably and provides additional enforcement tools to the FMC to address injurious ocean carrier practices.

Any ease in logistics supply chain pressures will be countered if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in China.  China’s zero COVID policy has kept most of the country operating under normal conditions.  However, more infectious variants such as Omicron could be a factor, and China’s domestic vaccines reportedly offer less protection than vaccines used in the West. An outbreak and the consequent shutdowns could cripple many companies that rely on goods from China.

Government Action Likely Will Cause Friction

Additional trade friction can be expected in 2022 as a result of action by Congress and the Biden Administration. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (Forced Labor Act) will cause ripples through the supply chain once implemented in June 2022. A similar result will occur if the Biden Administration decides to initiate an investigation into China’s industrial subsidies under Section 301.

The Forced Labor Act prohibits the import of goods made with forced labor and implements a rebuttable presumption that all goods produced in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are made with forced labor. Although the focus is on the XUAR, the presumption of forced labor will extend to entities that are not located in XUAR. Moreover, the import ban extends upstream to capture finished goods that use inputs from the XUAR, regardless of where the finished good is completed.  Companies will be required to prove with “clear and convincing” evidence that forced labor was not used at any point in their supply chain. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to issue compliance guidance.

In order to make changes to the Section 301 Intellectual Property tariffs (beyond eliminating them), USTR will need to conduct a new investigation. The potential Section 301 action on industrial subsides in China would authorize the Biden Administration to place tariffs on additional products from China, but also lower (or remove) tariffs on other items. Signals suggest that certain factions of the Biden administration want to impose additional tariffs, but USTR Katherine Tai wants to continue the dialog with her Chinese counterparts. While a breakthrough is possible, China has historically used a dialog to prevent action against it rather than take meaningful action in response to U.S. and other Western government’s requests. Moreover, outside of China, it is not disputed that the Chinese Government provides significant subsidies to a number of industries – including green energy, semiconductors, and automobiles. An investigation will demonstrate as much, relying on Chinese government documents. If action is taken under Section 301, it is likely that the tariffs will be targeted to assist the Administration’s supply-chain and re-shoring goals.

These actions, however, will cause additional disruption on goods from China. China likely will take retaliatory actions in response, including tariff and non-tariff actions on U.S. imports into China. China could also take action on exports leaving China.  It is unclear how China will react, and retaliation may occur in China’s domestic market. The Government could encourage a boycott of certain U.S. companies via Chinese press and netizens. Similarly, the Government of China could take unfounded regulatory action against U.S. and other western countries, as it has done in the past. Even if China does not take retaliatory action, recent regulatory upheaval in China suggests that additional restrictions could come, if China’s leaders think an industry is becoming too powerful or influential.

Business Leaders Should Brace For Higher Costs And Consider Taking Action

Business leaders should brace for higher costs in the near-term, even if goods begin to flow more easily. Inflation will continue to push input prices up, and compliance will add administrative costs and burdens. Nevertheless, supply chain due diligence – although costly – should be conducted to ensure there is no forced labor at any point in a company’s supply chain, because the cost of non-compliance will be far greater, particularly for companies operating in or purchasing goods from China and importing merchandise to the United States. Even if a company is not operating in or purchasing goods from China, due diligence should be conducted to ensure no part or input includes forced labor.

Given the increase in shipping costs and other frictions, business leaders may consider relocating their supply chains. The Biden Administration and Congress are incentivizing business leaders to do just that with two pieces of legislation currently moving through Congress: the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act in the House of Representatives, and the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), in the Senate. The central component of these two bills is the funding for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act (CHIPS), which provides incentives for companies to build semiconductor production facilities in the United States. The bills also appropriate significant funds aimed at countering China’s influence domestically and abroad. These bills have bipartisan support and portions have been labeled as “must-pass” legislation. Included in these bills are proposals to expand the role for the federal government in “strategic sectors” – including semiconductors, drones, wireless broadband, and artificial intelligence – with increased funding, supervision, and regulation of various industries. Other components include tackling supply chain vulnerabilities to make more goods in America, turbocharging America’s scientific research and technological leadership, strengthening America’s economic and national security at home and abroad, and bolstering President Biden’s Buy American agenda. The Biden Administration also will use executive power to provide incentives to business seeking to relocate to the United States, and federal agencies have been directed to assist business in any way they can.


Lee Smith is the leader of law firm Baker Donelson’s International Trade and National Security practice. He advises clients on matters involving export controls, customs compliance, trade remedy investigations, trade policy, market access and free trade agreement interpretation. Smith can be reached at (202)326-5026 or

jersey ports


The South Jersey Port Corporation closed out 2021 with an all-time record-breaking cargo volume of 4,636,097 tons, a 54% increase over 2020, breaking the previous record by 6%.
“That’s the best in the history of the South Jersey Ports and we’re expecting 2022 to be a very strong year that may top 2021,” reported Andy Saporito, Executive Director and CEO of South Jersey Port Corporation at the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors. “This milestone is a testament to the skilled workers and partners who keep goods moving through the supply chain while our team seeks solutions to improve efficiency, attract business and build for the future. The ongoing collaboration with SJPC’s labor force and industry partners lifted the port to this extraordinary record during the challenging time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Saporito.
The dramatic increases in tonnage came from nearly all the SJPC’s prime cargo sectors: steel, plywood, recycled metals, cocoa beans, cement, and gypsum. The lone laggard, sand exports, is expected to increase as the national infrastructure plan is implemented. Rebounding steel imports led the way with 2,399,076 tons, a 141% increase over 2020. The majority of this increase occurred at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal which moved 1,760,018 tons of steel slabs. Plywood import tonnage increased by 98% totaling 220,812 tons demonstrating the Camden terminals as a premiere plywood portal on the East Coast. Cocoa beans totaled 76,108 tons, a 36% increase verses 2020 totals. Exports of recycled metals increased by 10% and cement increased by 8%.
The number of ship days was 960 days compared to 549 ship days in 2020, a 75% increase. “Ship days is the number of days a ship is loading or unloading at its terminal” explained Kevin Duffy, Assistant Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve worked hard to ensure we continue to operate safely and efficiently to move the increased cargo and have space to meet our customers’ needs”.
Brendan Dugan, Assistant Executive Director / Director of Business Development, expects the cargo activity at South Jersey Ports to remain strong for the foreseeable future due to the national infrastructure plan and New Jersey’s leadership role in the $109 billion offshore wind industry. EEW Group, which is building a $300 million manufacturing plant at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal to provide the massive steel monopiles for the offshore wind farms along the entire eastern seaboard, will ultimately require 150,000 tons of imported steel annually to meet their customers’ demand.  To build on this momentum, SJPC is conducting a study of the Port of Salem, which is a smaller port just down river from Paulsboro that could become an important supply port for the local offshore wind support services industry.
“The challenge is to build the infrastructure to grow the port while operating more efficiently to meet current demands,” said Dugan.  South Jersey Ports received a $6 million grant to upgrade the rail infrastructure at one of their Camden terminals and a $9 million grant for wharf infrastructure improvements at the Salem Terminal. “We identified an old building that we might refurbish to put another 40,000 square feet of storage space online and meet long-term customer demands.”
“We continue to focus on upgrading technology and automation to optimize the fluid movement of cargo through our terminals and to ensure our customers’ storage and inventory needs are met”, added COO Kevin Duffy.
The South Jersey Port Corporation was created in 1968 to operate marine shipping terminals in the South Jersey Port District, consisting of seven counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Mercer, and Cape May. The South Jersey Ports is a national leader in bulk and breakbulk cargo, shipping and receiving to and from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Their four international seaport facilities in South Jersey handle more than four million tons of bulk, breakbulk and containerized cargoes annually.
ports detention reshoring


Port managers have tried, mightily, to cope with the pandemic’s shockwaves. They have been simultaneously caught up in an avalanche of challenges: trade wars, the pandemic, port congestion and labor and shipping container shortages. Providing as they do the key infrastructure to international trade and the global economy, shipping and ports are estimated to handle more than 80% of global goods trade by volume and over 70% by value. 

International maritime trade volumes were estimated to have fallen by 4.1% in 2020, but all of the expert projections suggest that they’ll not recover at any time before the end of this year. During the pandemic, ports have had to adjust to the reality of lower volumes, worker shortages, the implementation of occupational health and safety measures for dockers and shore personnel, and the adoption of teleworking and remote operations for office workers.

The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic has left no port unaffected while exacerbating certain existing challenges. Ports have been heavily impacted by developments in the shipping sector, where some shipping lines have gone into “survival mode,” affecting container and cargo markets, with knock-on effects that may be felt for years to come. The volatility may push some ports to reassess their business models.

Although the pandemic has strengthened the case for further investment in digitalization and innovation, ports are under intense pressure to reduce costs and be more attractive to the supply chains that use their infrastructure. For example, a survey commissioned by the International Association of Ports and Harbors found that 69% of surveyed ports indicated that the majority of their investment plans had been delayed or amended.

Port officials across the country are not wallowing in the gloom and doom. They don’t have time to. No, they are looking ahead to a 2022 filled with strategies to cure (or at least address) what ails them . . . and lies ahead.

Wanted: Congestion Relief 

At Morgan Stanley’s ninth annual Laguna Conference, a virtual gathering in mid-September of transportation and logistics industry leaders, Expeditors International of Washington’s management was quoted stating that they had never before seen capacity “so scarce in both air and ocean at the same time.”

Looking to the future, Expeditors expects the environment to “remain unsettled as long as constrained capacity and other disruptions, such as port congestion, the uneven lifting of pandemic-restrictions and rising fuel costs continue to impact the movement of freight.” 

A month after that conference, a backlog of ships remained idle off the Southern California coast waiting for their turn to dock, a visual that beachgoers had taken in for the past several months before. And federal regulators at press time were investigating whether the cause of a massive, beach-clearing oil slick was caused by a container ship anchor ripping into a pipeline. 

On Oct. 12, 58 container ships were at anchor or adrift off the shoreline, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The following day, President Joe Biden announced a deal to keep the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles open 24/7 to alleviate the severe bottlenecks. 

Providing more time for trucks to pick up and return shipping containers to improve freight movement and reduce delays through the port complex is the main strategy of the Biden plan, although exact details were still being worked out at press time. As Biden and Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka both mentioned, systemic change of such magnitude will necessitate many supply chain stakeholders to work in tandem.

“The significance of today’s announcement is the commitment from industry leaders responsible for moving goods on behalf of American consumers and businesses to open up the capacity needed to deliver,” wrote Seroka in an email, as reported by the online news site Long Beach Post. “It’s a call to action for others to follow.”

That call is certainly not being ignored by Seroka’s partner in maritime, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, who wrote in a statement of his own, “Before this unprecedented cargo surge began, we believed 24/7 operations were the future. After all, consumers can shop online at any time, whether it’s at 4 p.m. or 4 a.m., and 24/7 is already the standard at our partner ports in Asia. The supply chain truly never stops now.”

Indeed, a month before Biden blew into town, Total Terminals International container terminal on Pier T in Long Beach launched a pilot program that makes it easier for trucks to access the facility during the overnight hours.

“Our waterfront workforce is moving cargo as quickly as possible as we continue to collaborate with stakeholders from throughout the goods movement industry to develop solutions for our capacity challenges,” says Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “This cargo surge is anticipated to last well into 2022, so we need to start thinking of new ways to meet the expected growth in goods movement and rising consumer demand.”

Labor Pain Relief, Too, Please

An insatiable demand for new products is part of the blame for port congestion, which is complicated by “the overarching challenge on the labor front,” J.B. Hunt officials reported during the Laguna Conference. “There are times when certain ports or terminals close for periods of time, creating significant whipsaws in the supply chain. The sooner that cargo can get into warehouses or on the shelf, the sooner capacity is freed up, and that is a major component of what is going on in the system.”

Officials from competitor Werner Enterprises echoed that “on the supply side, the driver issue is expected to remain a problem for a while (potentially exacerbated by vaccine mandates–management estimates less than half of the broader driver population is vaccinated) and the equipment problem looks to actually be getting worse.” 

However, there is some silver lining to all the gloom and doom. An especially strong holiday shopping season to end topsy-turvy 2021 may lessen the sting of expected underperformance into at least early 2022, the Werner team reported. 

Union Pacific officials, who are also dealing with slow unloading of containers due to port and driver labor issues, noted that “while there are structural issues in that system, there is also capacity to staff up and get trucks in place. The West Coast ports are also looking to put things into place (automation, union deals, etc.) to get the network moving smoother.”

Investment in new technology seems to be the answer to everything along the supply chain these days, and the port’s portion is no exception. San Francisco tech company Vector claims its electronic bill of lading solution can get drivers in and out of facilities more quickly, to the tune of 43 minutes of drive time. 

How huge is that? Mega-huge. According to David Correll, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Freight Lab, if drivers get just 12 minutes back toward driving, the “truck driver issue” could be solved.

Rebuild, Remodel, Rehabilitate, Rebound 

Biden pivoted during his 24/7 announcement to promote his landmark infrastructure bill, which includes $17 billion for port infrastructure, or the “biggest investment in our ports in our history.”

However, with Republicans balking at the bill’s $4.5 trillion cost (at this writing) and infighting among Democrats over whether to trim or not to trim the price tag to make it more palatable, the legislation remains tied up in Congress (ditto).

It’s a shame, to hear Seroka tell it. He claims West Coast ports have experienced more than a decade of underinvestment by the federal government and that had better change to address the influx/lack of movement of cargo. 

Of course, ports around the country are not waiting on the government to make major infrastructure improvements. For a deeper dive on many of these, see the story elsewhere in this issue by Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc. But for improvements with an eye toward sustainability, we look to the Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA), whose board of directors recently approved the creation of a funding mechanism for six new projects that will reduce current air emissions and improve rail access for in-state businesses. 

A new transloading/cross-dock facility adjacent to the Union Pacific Intermodal Railyard will offer international and domestic cargo stakeholders a cost-effective and efficient inland alternative option by leveraging existing infrastructure and Union Pacific’s services and proximity to the rail ramp in Salt Lake City, according to the UIPA. An investment-grade business case analysis commissioned by the UIPA identified at minimum the three California port gateways—Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland—for the transloading facility to compete with for international cargo volumes.

The transload facility will be constructed with eco-friendly building materials and include sustainable construction technology, increased water and energy efficiency, reduced waste and emissions and improved indoor environmental quality, according to the UIPA.

The port authority is also seeking to acquire an easement across a privately-owned landfill to open up rail access north of Interstate 80, an existing rail spur and test track that connects to a short line, and the blessing of Salt Lake County officials to provide additional freight connectivity by building out 7200 West from State Route 201 to 700 North.

The UIPA is working with partners to develop a renewable fueling station for private and/or public use that will serve hydrogen, electric and liquid and compressed natural gas vehicles, and with the Department of Homeland Security to reassign agents to Utah for a customs bonded facility with rail access, loading docks for bonded warehousing and storage capacity.

“All these projects are designed to address gaps currently in Utah’s logistic system, which is the primary role of the port authority,” said Jack Hedge, UIPA executive director. “Providing this underlying infrastructure supports the entire ecosystem of the jurisdictional area–from a logistics standpoint, to the environment, to the community–everyone benefits.”

Let’s Be Careful Out There

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) also has coming improvements aimed at maintaining the Florida facility’s ranking as the 10th busiest container port in the U.S. by TEUs and among the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports. But JAXPORT also has security on its mind, as demonstrated by a new program that brings together tenants, vessel operators, rail and intermodal stakeholders, key vendors, and local public sector organizations.

To address a national priority initiative of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Captain of the Port, JAXPORT has partnered with the nonprofit Maritime Transportation System Information Sharing and Analysis Center to form a new cybersecurity information sharing cooperative called the Northeast Florida Maritime Information Exchange (NEFL-MIX). 

“Cybersecurity is a critical part of supply chain security,” says JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “We are thrilled to launch this important initiative to protect our maritime community from cyber threats and ensure that our port-related businesses can continue to do the important work they do to keep cargo moving and people working throughout Northeast Florida.”

JAXPORT’s involvement does not surprise Christy Coffey, vice president of Operations with for the Maritime Transportation System Information Sharing and Analysis Center. “They have been influential in the design of our Information Exchange program and an active contributor to our [center] since inception,” she says, “so it’s rewarding to see the NEFL-MIX become reality. This busy port has included a diverse group of stakeholders in their cybersecurity information exchange. We know that under JAXPORT’s thoughtful leadership, the NEFL-MIX will positively impact both cybersecurity preparedness and response.”



Trade in and out of the United States would not be possible without sea and river port infrastructure spread across the length and breadth of the country. Using the latest available figures from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, we present the top 50 American power ports based on total tonnage of trade processed in 2019. 

1. Houston, TX

Total tons: 284.9 million 

Located within easy reach of the Gulf of Mexico, the Port of Houston is one of the world’s largest ports, ranking sixth globally for total container TEUs. It is a huge complex made up of public and private facilities that stretches over 50 miles.  

2. South Louisiana, LA

Total tons: 233 million

Spanning 54 miles along the Mississippi River, the Port of South Louisiana is located in America’s leading grain exporting district. Port companies’ activities support more than 30,000 jobs, which represents 63% of all jobs in the River Region.

3. New York, NY and NJ

Total tons: 136.6 million 

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the busiest container port on the East Coast of the United States. Such is the strategic importance of its location, around a third of all US GDP is produced within 250 miles of the site. 

4. Corpus Christi, TX

Total tons: 111.2 million

In operation since 1926, the Port of Corpus Christi has become known as the Energy Port of the Americas, serving as the country’s second largest exporter of crude oil. It boasts a 36-mile, 47-foot-deep channel and is strategically located next to some of Texas’s largest highways. 

5. Beaumont, TX

Total tons: 101.1 million

Another Texan port, Beaumont is a well-developed facility that handles a range of cargoes, including bulk grain, aggregate, liquid petroleum, forest products, military equipment cargo, metals, and more. Its annual economic activity exceeds $24.5 billion. 

6. New Orleans, LA

Total tons: 92.2 million

The Port of New Orleans is a multimodal gateway that combines rail, river and road and is located on the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. It is also the sixth largest cruise port in the United States.

7. Long Beach, CA

Total tons: 80.7 million 

Sprawling across 3,520 acres of land and 4,600 acres of water, California’s Port of Long Beach handles more than 8 million TEUs every year, cargo which is worth in excess of $200 billion and delivered by more than 2,000 vessels.

8. Baton Rouge, LA

Total tons: 73.4 million

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge lies at the convergence of the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, providing easy access to the U.S. heartland via 15,000 miles of inland water transportation. 

9. Los Angeles, CA

Total tons: 63 million

The busiest seaport in the Western Hemisphere, the Port of Los Angeles handles a hugely diverse range of commodities, from avocados to zinc and a whole lot in between. It is situated 25 miles south of downtown LA and spans 7,500 acres along 43 miles of waterfront.

10. Virginia, VA

Total tons: 61.7 million

Based in Norfolk, the Port of Virginia processes more than 4 million containers annually, including those brought over by ultra-large container vessels arriving from the other side of the Atlantic. It is the only East Coast port with congressional authorization for 55-foot-deep channels.

11. Lake Charles, LA

Total tons: 58 million

The Port of Lake Charles brands itself as a dynamic deep-water seaport at the center of the Gulf Coast. In recent years, more than $108 billion of industrial projects have been completed, announced or commenced in and around the complex. 

12. Mobile, AL

Total tons: 56.9 million

Mobile is the only deep-water port in Alabama. Located along the Mobile River, it has direct access to around 1,500 miles of inland and intercoastal waterways that serve the Great Lakes, Ohio and Tennessee river valleys and the Gulf of Mexico.

13. Plaquemines, LA

Total tons: 52.8 million

Nestled in the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal provides water-based access to some 33 U.S. states, serving key industrial sectors such as oil and gas, grain, coal and chemicals, among others.

14. Baltimore, MD

Total tons: 44.2 million

The Port of Baltimore offers the deepest harbor in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and is within an overnight drive of a third of the nation’s population. It has benefited greatly from the 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal, granting it access to a wider pool of large vessels. 

15. Savannah, GA

Total tons: 41.9 million

The Port of Savannah is within convenient reach of Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Memphis and Orlando. With 10,000 feet of contiguous berth space, it is one of the fastest growing container ports in the country.  

16. Texas City, TX

Total tons: 41.3 million

Although not the largest port in Texas, the Port of Texas City is a vital trading hub for crude oil imports and the export of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, chemicals and petroleum coke. It has been in operation for more than a century.

17. Huntington Tristate

Total tons: 36.8 million

The Port of Huntingdon Tristate is America’s most influential inland port. Centered on the Ohio River, it is also the largest river port in Virginia. 

18. Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky, KY

Total tons: 36.6 million

The Ports of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky is an inland port complex that covers 226.5 miles of commercially navigable waterways on the Ohio River and Licking River. It is made up of more than 70 active terminals. 

19. Port Arthur, TX

Total tons: 33.9 million

Another jewel in the Texan crown, Port Arthur is based 19 miles from the Gulf of Mexico on the Sabine Neches Waterway. The site completed a significant expansion in 2000 that transformed it into an international facility for cargo shipping. 

20. Duluth-Superior, MN and WI

Total tons: 33.7 million

The twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, are located at the western part of Lake Superior and represent the farthest inland freshwater seaport in North America. They are home to 20 privately owned bulk cargo docks and an award-wining cargo terminal. 

21. St Louis, MO and WI

Total tons: 31.3 million

Spanning 6,000 acres, the Port of Metropolitan St Louis lies along 15 miles of Mississippi River frontage and has capacity to handle 150 barges a day. It is the second-largest inland port system in the United States. 

22. Tampa, FL

Total tons: 30 million

A well-known cruise terminal, Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest cargo tonnage port spanning a 5,000-acre footprint. It can handle ships carrying up to 9,000 TEUs and is flanked by a million square feet of warehouse space and 40-acre container yard. 

23. Freeport, TX

Total tons: 29.8 million

Port Freeport is undergoing a significant harbor channel improvement project to the tune of $295 million that Congress authorized in 2014. The upgrade, which is due for completion in 2025, will offer navigational improvements to calling vessels by deepening and widening the waterway. 

24. Richmond, CA

Total tons: 28.5 million

With roots in petroleum and liquid bulk cargos, the Port of Richmond has become Northern California’s most diversified cargo handler thanks to its expansion into dry bulk, break-bulk and containerized cargo handling. Having also increased its automobile processing facilities, Richmond today ranks No .1 among San Francisco Bay ports in vehicle tonnage.

25. Pascagoula, MS

Total tons: 25.8 million

The Port of Pascagoula is a deep-water port on the southeastern coast of Mississippi. It is split into two major sections–the east and west harbors–which are both home to several public and private cargo terminals. 

26. Valdez, AK

Total tons: 25.2 million

Our first entry from Alaska, the Port of Valdez is America’s farthest north ice-free port. It serves as the southern terminus of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and handles more than 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day. 

27. Charleston, SC

Total tons: 24.6 million

The Port of Charleston is part of South Carolina Ports, which serves as a vital transit hub for many essential industries in the region, including automotive manufacturing, consumers goods, frozen exports, grain and tire manufacturing. South Carolina Ports generates tax revenue in excess of $1.1 billion every year.

28. Port Everglades, FL

Total tons: 24 million

Billed as Florida’s “powerhouse port,” Port Everglades is located in the heart of Greater Fort Lauderdale and the City of Hollywood. Each year, around $34 billion of economic activity is generated through the port.

29. Seattle, WA

Total tons: 23 million

The Port of Seattle was founded in 1911 and stands today as one of the largest container terminals on the West Coast. It has also grown to the largest “Left Coast” cruise port in terms of passenger numbers, with more than 200 annual departures to Alaska. 

30. Pittsburgh, PA

Total tons: 21.8 million

Encompassing 200 miles of commercially navigable waterways in southwestern Pennsylvania, the Port of Pittsburgh is made up of 203 terminals. It is a hugely important transit hub for coal, which makes up around 70% of all cargo passing through in terms of weight. 

31. Tacoma, WA

Total tons: 21.5 million

The Port of Tacoma generates $3 billion of economic activity annually and supports more than 40,000 jobs. As partners in the Northwest Seaport Alliance Tacoma and the Port of Seattle (No. 29) are together the fourth-largest container gateway in the country.

32. Portland, OR

Total tons: 19.4 million

Let’s just keep it in the Pacific Northwest, shall we? As Oregon’s largest port, the Port of Portland is a bustling hub comprising three airports, four marine terminals and five business parks. Grain, minerals, forest products and automobiles and the most common types of cargo passing in and out.

33. Oakland, CA

Total tons: 19.3 million

This Northern California port is located on the Oakland seafront and is equipped with an array of commercial buildings and industrial parks, as well as an airport. The port spans 1,300 acres and was founded in 1927.

34. Paulsboro, NJ

Total tons: 18.4 million

Situated on the Delaware River, the Port of Paulsboro is around 80 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its transfer of key commodities such as crude oil, petroleum products and asphalt. 

35. Jacksonville, FL

Total tons: 17.7 million

JAXPORT is Florida’s largest container port and one of the nation’s most prominent vehicle handling sites. It offers services to 140 ports in more than 70 countries and has many ties with trucking firms and rail links, including 40 daily trains via Class 1 railroads CSX and NS. 

36. Kalama, WA

Total tons: 17 million

Just 30 minutes north of Portland, the Port of Kalama is home to more than 30 companies and 1,000 people. It prides itself on being a business-friendly haven, with no state corporate or personal income taxes levied. 

37. Two Harbors, MN

Total tons: 16.9 million

Two Harbors is a port city in Minnesota. Although its port is relatively small, it transfers nearly 17 million tons of cargo on an annual basis. 

38. Marcus Hook, PA

Total tons: 16.7 million

The Port of Marcus Hook is located on the northwest bank of the Delaware River, where its main activities are receiving and refining crude oil, and the shipping of petroleum products.  

39. Philadelphia, PA

Total tons: 16.3 million

The Port of Philadelphia claims to be the fastest growing port in the United States. It handles trade worth $30.5 billion a year and stands as the largest refrigerated port in the country, helping it to generate more than 54,000 jobs.

40. Boston, MA

Total tons: 16 million

The Port of Boston is a major seaport located in Boston Harbor and adjacent to the City of Boston. It is the largest port in Massachusetts and has facilities dedicated to bulk cargo, petroleum, and LNG shipment and storage.

41. Honolulu, HI

Total tons: 14.3 million

In Hawaii, Honolulu Harbor serves as the state’s principle seaport and handles containers, dry and liquid bulk and breakbulk cargo. It also handles passenger and fishing vessels, with a foreign trade zone established at the Fort Armstrong Terminal.

42. Detroit, MI

Total tons: 13.3 million

The Port of Detroit is situated along the west bank of the Detroit River and is the largest seaport in the state of Michigan. Its 29 terminals process high-grade steel products, coal, iron ore, cement, aggregate and other road building commodities. 

43. Indiana Harbor, IN

Total tons: 12.2 million

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is based in the largest steel-producing region in North America and is home to 30 businesses, half of which are connected to the industry. The site spans almost 600 acres of land.

44. Mid-America Port Commission

Total tons: 12 million

The Mid-America Port Commission is the largest port district on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, serving 26 counties across three states. It transcends two major rivers and is flanked by three Class 1 railroads and four regional airports. 

45. Cleveland, OH

Total tons: 11.9 million

Billed as the premier port of the Great Lakes, the Port of Cleveland supports 20,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in annual economic activity in the region. Half of U.S. households and manufacturing plants are within an eight-hour drive. 

46. Vancouver, WA

Total tons: 11 million

The Port of Vancouver USA was established in 1912 and serves as a vital gateway for connecting Asia and South America to the U.S. midcontinent and Canada. The Washington state port has more than 50 industrial tenants, including companies specializing in wheat, mineral and liquid bulks, vehicles, and other cargos.  

47. Galveston, TX

Total tons: 11 million

Another entry from Texas, the Port of Galveston offers cruise, cargo and commercial facilities. It is one of the older Texan ports, beginning as a trading post in 1825 and since growing to more than 850 acres in size. 

48. San Juan, PR

Total tons: 10.4 million

Serving the capital of U.S. territory Puerto Rico, the Port of San Juan is comprised of 16 piers, of which half are used for passenger ships and half for cargo vessels. Its cargo facilities allow for more than 500,000 square feet of space for unloading and loading of goods. 

49. Chicago, IL

Total tons: 10 million

Commercial activities in Chicago date back to 18th century fur trading, with the modern history of the Port of Chicago beginning in 1921, when the state legislature approved the development of a deep-water port. Today, it operates as a key Great Lakes multimodal transit facility. 

50. Longview, WA

Total tons: 9.7 million

The Port of Longview has been operating since 1921, and today is home to eight marine terminals and industrial facilities spanning 835 acres along the banks of the Columbia River. Fertilizers, grain, heavy-lift cargo, logs, lumber, minerals, paper, pulp and steel are some of the main cargo categories passing through here.  

ports Fuentes


While maritime trade can be traced back to ancient civilizations in previous millennia, sea freight and ports have never been more important than they are today.

The lifeblood of global commerce, seaports handle almost 811 million TEUs every year, supporting industries of all shapes and sizes all over the world. Indeed, many of the United States’ maritime logistics hubs are some of the largest, their associated economic development corporations (EDCs) having helped to accelerate their growth and value to regional, national and global economies.

In this 2021 roundup of 15 U.S. port cities, we analyze the role of some of the country’s key logistics hubs—as well as the role their economic development engines play in ensuring their continual progression.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is arguably the West Coast’s most important intermodal transport hub, the beating heart of which is the Port of Los Angeles–a seaport covering 7,500 acres of land and water along 43 miles of waterfront. It is the nation’s No. 1 container port, with its state-of-the-art facilities seeing it move 9.2 million TEUs in 2020. Port of Los Angeles also adjoins to the Port of Long Beach, another one of the busiest seaports in the world, moving around 7.5 million TEUs every year. Both ports are supported by the efforts of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the regional EDC combining economic research with industry programs, workforce development, business assistance and policy changes that promote a thriving local economy, for which these two ports are vital. 

New York City, New York

New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) is the EDC for the nation’s most highly populated city, home to more than 8 million people. A mission-driven non-profit, it aims to support the city by creating prosperity through investing in neighborhoods, building sustainably, creating workforce opportunities and advancing company growth. In achieving these goals, it works closely with the Port of New York and New Jersey. Recently, it has been helping to develop a visionary freight system, supported the major South Brooklyn Marine Terminal project and completed a 2019 survey of the NYC and NJ maritime community. “Through PortNYC and other initiatives, we’re working to ensure both the long-term health of the maritime industry in NYC and the city’s economy as a whole,” NYCEDC states.

New Orleans, Louisiana

With the simple mission of creating a region with a thriving economy and an excellent quality of life, Greater New Orleans (GNO) pursues a two-pronged strategy as the EDC for the region. This includes helping to attract, retain and develop key businesses (Business Development), and propose, promote and facilitate policies and programs that improve business conditions (Business Environment). Such efforts have assisted in securing a new ground-breaking Lineage Logistics project at the Port of New Orleans, the organization having committed $42 million to the expansion of the Jourdan Road cold-storage facility in New Orleans East in April 2021. “The cold-storage complex at Jourdan Road along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal will grow from 160,000 square feet to 304,000 square feet,” an announcement from GNO reads.

Oakland, California

While Oakland is home to fewer than half a million people, its maritime logistics hub–Port of Oakland–is renowned as a key gateway to U.S. commerce. It oversees 1,300 acres of maritime-related facilities serving a local market of more than 14.5 million consumers, with 34 million people located within a seven-hour drive of its facilities. Supporting Port of Oakland’s thriving economic activity is the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA). The two have an intertwined relationship, the EDA having previously supported harbor dredging activities in 1991 and 2009, and assisted stakeholders in resolving the transportation impacts created by the port’s growth in 2003. In 2020, it also recognized the port at its Innovation Awards for its significant contributions as a long-standing generator of jobs and economic vitality in the region.

Norfolk, Virginia

The city of Norfolk, Virginia, is home to a vibrant intermodal transport scene, in large part thanks to a formidable maritime history centered around the enormous naval base on Chesapeake Bay and the Port of Virginia. The port boasts of the largest percentage of rail arrivals and departures on the East Coast, is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 jobs, and managed 2,327 vessel calls and departures in 2019, equating to around 3 million TEUs and 55 million tons of cargo worth almost $75 billion. The Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (EDA) has long assisted both domestic and international firms wishing to invest in the Norfolk area, offering three lucrative tax incentives to companies using the port: The Port Volume Increase Tax Credit, Barge and Rail Use Tax Credit and International Trade Facility Tax Credit.

Savannah, Georgia

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) is the EDC for Savannah, its goal being to help create, grow and attract new job opportunities and investment in the region. It attracts and supports a variety of organizations through customized services that include anything from infrastructure and real estate opportunities to incentives and tax abatements. Much of Savannah’s draw stems from the Port of Savannah, where 85% of the world’s top 3PLs operate in Georgia. To maintain this competitive advantage, SEDA actively supports several logistics-related projects, including the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, the Mid-American Arc Initiative & International, and The Center of Innovation for Logistics for the state of Georgia.

Houston, Texas

Originally founded in 1840, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) strives to make the region the best place to live, work and build a business, serving a thousand-member companies and 7.1 million people in the 12-county Houston region. It is a fervent supporter of the Port of Houston, hosting an annual State of the Port conference, outlining the logistics hub’s performance, future growth opportunities and capital investment plans to regional economic players. The overall impact of the port on a national level includes 3.2 million jobs, $801.9 billion in economic value and more than $38.1 billion in tax revenue. “As the largest port in foreign tonnage in the nation, Port Houston is an economic engine supporting the Houston region, the state of Texas, and the nation,” GHP states. 

Tampa, Florida 

The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council (EDC) has remained the designated economic development agency for Hillsborough County for 12 years, also serving the surrounding cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace. Currently it is delivering upon a 2020-2022 strategic action plan geared toward achieving business development, talent attraction and placemaking. As part of this vision, the EDC provides several incentives to business, creating high-wage jobs in high-value industries. In terms of its engagements with the ports, logistics and supply chain industry, it supports those organizations seeking real estate opportunities not only at the Port of Tampa Bay, but equally in Port Redwing and Port Ybor. 

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is extremely well connected, in large part thanks to what is North America’s largest inland port–the CenterPoint Intermodal Center. Located in the Joilet and Elwood area, it is a 6,400-acre, master-planned intermodal development which handles approximately three million TEUs every year. The site is also home to more than 30 economic powerhouse tenant companies that between them occupy over 14 million square feet of space. The Chicago Regional Growth Corporation plays a key role in supporting the city and region’s buoyant logistics activities, priding itself on a “history of working together” with key partners to developed projects leading to growth, investment and the creation of quality jobs.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Port of Philadelphia, also known as PhilaPort, holds several impressive accolades. Not only is it the fastest growing port in the U.S., having achieved a 7% increase in container volumes in 2020. Equally, it generates roughly 55,000 jobs for the local region, handles 6.4 million metric tons annually, is the largest refrigerated port in the country and helps to generate $30.5 billion in trade every year. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (PIDC) continues to play a crucial role in helping the port to reach new heights. The city’s EDC, the PIDC has leveraged $30 billion in total investment and assisted in retaining and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in Philadelphia since its foundation 62 years ago. The local seaport industry’s latest venture, announced March 2021, will see the development of a $23 million distribution center that is set to add more than 200,000 square feet of flexible, food-grade storage within one mile of Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.

Mobile, Alabama

The Port of Mobile is a significant contributor to the city’s economy. Indeed, the figures speak for themselves. According to the Alabama State Port Authority, its economic impact includes roughly 155,000 direct and indirect jobs, $559.3 million in direct and indirect tax impact, and a total economic value $25.4 billion. The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) has supported the growth of these numbers over many years, having worked to support companies compete not only locally but on a global stage. The EDPA helps various free trade zones (FTZs) to flourish while also providing tax incentives, support for startups and management of the region’s transport links that are vital to its intermodal abilities and more. 

Matagorda County, Texas

Matagorda County is privileged enough to be the home of two ports: Port of Bay City and Port of Palacios. The former has approximately 150 acres of land available for commercial development, providing access to the Colorado River Channel, while the latter equally provides opportunities and parcels for long-term lease and development. Both ports are backed by the Matagorda County EDC that provides key economic contributors with incentives including employee recruitment and training, tailored services to help locate or expand, tax abatement policies and tax-free industrial and environmental bonds.

Baltimore, Maryland

The City of Baltimore is home to one of Maryland’s four FTZs. Serving as the administrator of the FTZ is the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), which is  mandated to grow the city’s economy in an inclusive manner by retaining, expanding and attracting businesses and promoting investment. Port of Baltimore forms a large part of these activities, being one of the 10 busiest ports in the U.S. and serving a significant part of the East Coast. The bulk of the products that pass through the port, and indeed the FTZ, includes cars, paper and steel, with BDC itself reporting that the total value of shipments through Baltimore’s FTZ was more than $19.9 billion in 2017.

Cleveland, Ohio

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is a particularly active EDC, supporting the city and its 12,000 members as a catalyst for business growth and development in its various forms. It works closely with the Port of Cleveland, the latter responsible for more than 20,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in annual economic activity tied to the 13 million tons of cargo it handles per annum. With support from GCP, the port announced in May 2012 that it would be moving ahead with $20 million in projects that will include dock improvements, main gate enhancements and the construction of a state-of-the-art customs processing facility. This latest investment follows the completion of a $1.1 million cruise terminal processing center and $10.36 million extension of the Cleveland Bulk Terminal iron ore tunnel in 2020, the latter anticipated to bring another 1 million tons of cargo each year to the port. 

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is an interesting proposition, being the home of one of the country’s most active intermodal freight hubs and the thriving Port of Memphis, despite being in a landlocked state in Tennessee. The port serves 150 industries and handles a rich variety of goods, from petroleum and cement to grain and steel. It is able to connect these vital goods with the rest of the country thanks to the Mississippi River, five Class 1 railroads, major north-south and east-west interstate highways, and the nearby airport. Such is its critical role in accelerating economic activity, it carries an annual economic impact of more than $9.2 billion. Created in 2011, the Economic and Development Growth Engine (EDGE) for Memphis and Shelby County helps to support the region’s buoyant logistics industry, managing its foreign trade zone, providing business loans and tax incentives, and overseeing the Memphis Port Commission. 

breakbulk americas


After missing 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Breakbulk Americas is returning in September.

“This event from September 28 to 30 is all about getting together as an industry after a very long two-year break,” says Leslie Meredith, Marketing and Media Director for the event. “Breakbulk Americas is the first Breakbulk event to return to the market post-pandemic. We are working very closely with the City of Houston and the George R. Brown Convention Center to make sure that this is a safe experience for all.”

You might say Breakbulk Americas has gotten a shot in the arm.

“Fortunately, the vaccine rollout has been very efficient and Americans are able to move around with a great deal of freedom, which bodes well for the event this fall,” Meredith says.


Safety for all involved is paramount for event organizers, Hyve Group. In January, Visit Houston, the city’s entity that governs events and tourism, outlined its exceptional safety measures that will be in place for the event along with other improvements to support the region’s top event for the project cargo and breakbulk industry.

John Solis, senior vice president of Sales & Client Services at the George R. Brown Convention Center (a.k.a. GRB Center), said in a communiqué to Breakbulk, the convention center has made significant enhancements to its facility. The GRB Center is the first convention center in the world to deploy the Integrated Viral Protection (IVP) system, which deploys biodefense filtration technology proven to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 (99.999%) and other airborne contaminants. 

In addition, a new virtual studio inside the GRB Center will provide flexibility to maximize opportunities for hybrid experiences. This feature will allow Breakbulk to host remote expert speakers should that be necessary due to travel or budgetary considerations, along with its in-person industry panelists. 

A third enhancement will be permanent thermal scanning stations located at all entry points that can process up to 100 guests per minute, ensuring no delays to access the exhibition floor.

The new features complement Hyve’s own safe and secure program that is applied to all Hyve events.

At the last Breakbulk Americas convention in 2019, more than 4,800 attended, which has made Breakbulk Americas the region’s largest and most influential event across Canada, the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean for all those involved in the project cargo and breakbulk community.

Meredith said organizers have “some exciting plans for Breakbulk Americas to fuel networking for new business opportunities, which has never been more important. The traditional welcome reception held Tuesday evening at the GRB Center will embrace the spirit of Texas as thousands gather for the Reunion at the Breakbulk Saloon. The entire exhibition floor will be decked out Western-style with ‘watering holes’ (themed bars) throughout the hall.”

Leading up to the reunion will be an exclusive Executive Summit for C-level exhibitors and shippers to tackle post-COVID recovery together. On a lighter note, all attendees are invited to participate in the 2021 Maritime Workers Emergency Medical Fund Golf Tournament at the Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston.

The first full day of the exhibition and conference begins on Wednesday, Sept. 29, continuing through Thursday afternoon, Sept. 30. On the main stage, industry leaders will present a wide range of insights on the evolving impact of COVID on business and projects, President Biden’s infrastructure plan, U.S. offshore wind project opportunities, the carrier sector, women in breakbulk on tackling the imposter syndrome and the effects, both long term and short term, of the greening of the oil and gas supply chain.

Meredith said that “an integral part of Breakbulk Americas is contributing to the next generation of transport and logistics professionals, which we do through the Jerry Nagel Education Day and guided tours of the exhibition floor. With strong ties to Texas universities and beyond, Breakbulk typically hosts around 200 students and their instructors at this introduction to the industry and to its leaders. Education Day will be held on Thursday.”


Breakbulk Americas attracts new exhibitors annually, but there are many who make it a “must” event, like the Port of Baltimore.

“Breakbulk cargo is a very important subject matter for the Port of Baltimore and Breakbulk Americas is a must-attend conference,” says William Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. “Last year, Baltimore handled more than 173,000 tons of breakbulk cargo, which was a 23% jump over 2019 and so far this year we are up 4% over last year.”

Doyle continued: “We regularly handle power and heat steam recovery generation machinery, wind turbine equipment, transformers and other energy production equipment. We also serve as a major gateway for breakbulk premium fresh fiber paperboards, including folding boxboards, food service boards and white kraftliners, especially since the e-commerce boom.” 

He noted that his facility’s “excellent geographic location to states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio allows Baltimore to be an ideal port for handling breakbulk cargo destined to those states. Baltimore also has two, heavy-lift cranes and direct-to-rail capabilities. The Breakbulk Americas conference allows us to meet and connect with our current breakbulk customers and seek out opportunities with prospective customers. We will have our breakbulk sales representative Rick Pagley at the event.”

For Barnhart Crane and Rigging in Fairhope, Alabama, “there is really no greater opportunity to connect and network with those involved in the heavy transport and project cargo industry than Breakbulk Americas,” says Chris Teague, Barhart’s director of Marketing. “Barnhart has been committed to this event for years because it has always borne fruit. As a national company with 50 locations across the U.S., Breakbulk is the one event for which our sales team can gather and engage with customers, vendors and key influencers within the industry. Year-after-year, all Breakbulk Americas attendees and exhibitors can always be guaranteed to interact with the (pun intended) movers and shakers in the industry.” 

Ken Carey, manager, Business Development, with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., says “Highway H2O has been attending this event for many years. We find the quality of the event, the attendees and the other exhibitors to be world-class.”

Carey adds that, “Given the bi-national scope of the Seaway-Great Lakes transportation system, we also enjoy the opportunity to meet new contacts and expand on relationships we have developed over the years.”

Convention exhibitor Port Tampa Bay looks at Breakbulk Americas as key to its business, according to Wade Elliott, the port’s vice president of Business Development. 

“We are Florida’s largest port for steel cargo and have been receiving increasing volumes of breakbulk lumber, thanks to a new service which was launched last year,” Elliott says. “Breakbulk Americas provides a great networking forum for us to meet with the carriers, importers and exporters and coordinate plans to serve our growing market, in particular the Tampa/Orlando I-4 Corridor, Florida’s distribution hub.”

Annual Breakbulk Americas attendee Wolfe House Movers/Buckingham Heavy Transport has between two and four company members at the event, says Anna Brovont, the Bernville, Pennsylvania, company’s marketing administrator.

“As a heavy haul transporter, we have found that Breakbulk Americas has been integral to our business in bringing us an opportunity to discuss their interests with our clients, expand our networks and stay abreast of developments within the industry,” she says. “We do some business but use Breakbulk Americas primarily to touch base with clients.”