Port Authorities of U.S. seek COVID-19 relief
America's port authorities are urging relief to handle the "extremely negative impacts" of the COVID-19 on the seaport industry as US policymakers start negotiations on the next COVID-19 aid package.
Among the advocacy efforts of port representatives are letters sent Friday to the members of the U.S. Congress, Senate and Administration asking them to provide $1.5 billion for seaports to offset the business-critical costs incurred by ports as a result of COVID-19. The letters note that while America's seaports are vital to ensuring that the nation may recover rapidly from its current economic crisis.
The letters state that while America's seaports are critical to ensuring the country is able to rebound rapidly from its current economic downturn, ports have been ignored in past legislation on assistance to coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic could result in a direct loss of 130,000 jobs at U.S. seaports on the US East Coast and West Coast, based on a 2018 port economic impact report.
“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, America’s seaports are experiencing significant financial challenges as commercial cargo has plummeted and passenger travel has nearly ceased,” said American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Christopher J. Connor.
“The relief we’re seeking isn’t about replacing lost carrier, cargo and cruise passenger revenue. It’s about ensuring that ports are able to keep pace with the accelerating costs of protecting their workers while keeping their workforce employed, ensuring bond and other debt instrument payments aren’t missed, and ultimately about maintaining a state of readiness to significantly aid in the nation’s eventual economic recovery,” Connor added.
Maritime Business World