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DOT may act 'outside the lane' to ease US port congestion

THE new head of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Pete Buttigieg has pledged to help ease port congestion ahead of the Presdient Biden's release of a US$3 trillion infrastructure stimulus package

06 April 2021 - 19:00
THE new head of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Pete Buttigieg has pledged to help ease port congestion ahead of the Presdient Biden's release of a US$3 trillion infrastructure stimulus package.

He said the agency may consider acting 'outside the lane' to address port congestion and help US agriculture shippers that allege container lines have been refusing export bookings, reports IHS Media.



However, there's a narrow path for federal action beyond prioritising infrastructure investments that would add exporter capacity, industry observers familiar with transport policy said.



Acknowledging that US port congestion and its impact on exporters has hit a new level of urgency, Mr Buttigieg told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee there were no 'easy fixes'. His comments underscore the limited ability federal agencies have to intervene on port congestion and specifically exporters' complaints that container lines are turning away exports to focus on higher-paying imports.



'I think it is part of the broader conversation about supply chain that certainly the administration is concerned about,' Mr Buttigieg told legislators.



'Some of this might involve wandering a little outside the lane in what the Department of Transportation does, but it's another example of where we need to be collaborating and coordinating with other partners in the administration to make sure we have a whole-of-government approach.'



The Biden administration's $3 trillion proposed infrastructure stimulus package include federal investment in infrastructure projects that leverage private investment in intermodal rail ramps in the interior, where export flows outweigh imports.


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