United States ports and inland waterways have experienced years of neglect, resulting in a rapidly deteriorating waterborne trade infrastructure that is likely to have a severe impact on economic conditions. Experts estimate that America will need investments totaling around $30 billion to repair these key structures, but currently there’s only $14 billion earmarked for that purpose. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers “unless America’s infrastructure investment gaps are filled, transporting goods will become costlier, prices will rise and the United States will become less competitive in the global market.”
The ports of NY/ NJ are among the oldest facilitates and in need of the most repair. In a letter from the Retail Industry Leaders Association to both the Director and Deputy Director of the Ports of NY / NJ they note that its' members are experiencing massive lines outside terminals resulting in slow turn times; shortages of chassis; failing technology at the terminals; lack of drivers; and the current shortage of port and terminal workers. Additionally, when taking into account the imminent closure of the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway in March, an immediate resolution to the backlog appears unpromising. Compounding the need to refurbish our ports and inland waterways is the fact that in 2015 the Panama Canal is scheduled to be expanded, which means “the average size of container ships is likely to increase significantly,” according to the ASCE. That means we’ll need more harbor and channel dredging as well as “new or rehabilitated lock and dam facilities” for inland waterways.