American Association of Port Authorities waits for COVID-19 relief funding
Together with a host of other maritime transport entities, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the common voice of America's seaports, is seeking $3.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.
"This week the organizations sent joint letters to Congressional leadership and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, saying that funding is needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic's "significant hardships" and "unique and unexpected challenges.
The letters request that Congress and the Administration take urgent steps to provide the entire maritime transport system with the necessary resources to fight the virus and to ensure the protection of the sizeable workers of the industry.
“America’s maritime transportation system, including its ports and their direct workforce of more than 650,000 front-line personnel, have kept essential goods moving to medical professionals, first responders and vital manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses during the pandemic,” stated Christopher J. Connor, AAPA President and CEO.
North America is witnessing an unprecedented and unexpected surge in COVID-19-related imports from Asia.
A National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates study released earlier this week said that imports remain high after setting new records this fall as retailers stocked both stores and warehouses for the holiday season and met new demands for quick online order delivery.
The Port of Los Angeles announced a 27.3 percent rise in imports in October 2020 compared to October 2019, with the amount in October 2020 now becoming the highest ever in the 114-year history of the port.
Similarly, the Port of Long Beach posted a 19.4 percent year-on-year increase in imports in October and a 22.2 percent increase in Houston imports over the same period.
The cargo surge, however, occurs when labor shortages are also recorded, along with port congestion as ships are waiting to dock and unload at ports that are already congested.
Delays in the unloading of ships give rise to corresponding delays in the loading of export cargo and the emptying of transport to Asia. In short, because of this COVID cargo crunch, the whole system is overwhelmed, according to the WSC.
Maritime Business World