Port Electrification Letter to Congress

Port Electrification Letter to Congress

Port Electrification Letter to Congress

  • Author: Chris Connor
  • Organization: AAPA Member Coalition


August 27, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515 

The Honorable Frank Pallone
House Committee on Energy & Commerce
2107 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515 

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 

The Honorable Tom Carper
Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
513 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Chair Pallone, and Chair Carper, 

We are writing to express the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) and the undersigned ports’ support for the inclusion of a port electrification grant program in Congress’ budget reconciliation legislation. As Congress considers historic infrastructure improvement legislation, we implore you to remember ports’ integral role in America’s freight transportation system. A port industry-specific grant program to reduce emissions and electrify port equipment will help spur the adoption of green energy and equipment at ports and allow for faster installation of electric grid and electric equipment charging infrastructure that will be critical in the effort to create a sustainable maritime transportation industry. 

AAPA recently conducted a survey of our members asking if a port electrification grant program were created, what types of projects ports would pursue and how much these projects would cost. Based on the results of this survey, AAPA has determined that the ports industry has $50 billion worth of projects in the pipeline over the next ten years that would not be possible without federal funding. We believe that a grant program at this level would be a foundation for a transformational era of upgrades to promote sustainability and healthy port communities. 

Our members also call on Congress to structure such a program to allow for the purchase of zero and near-zero emission equipment. Restricting grant awards to only zero-emission equipment would restrict the efficacy of port electrification efforts. Simply put, hybrid technologies would allow ports to make massive cuts to emissions today. Additionally, until such time as Buy American compliant zero-emission cargo handling equipment is available from American manufacturers, AAPA urges an exclusion from the Buy American requirements for equipment purchased under this program. AAPA wants to see the grant program be quickly and successfully implemented for the installation and realization of environmental benefits. 

In addition, for a port electrification grant program to be successful, allowances need to be made for supporting technologies. With the acquisition of electric cranes, drayage trucks, and shore power comes the need for upgrades to electric grid capacity and resiliency. With the conversion from fossil fuel-based equipment to electric equipment comes the risk of power outages and brownouts. Especially as stronger storms batter our coasts and heat waves threaten electric grid capacity, ports need to install technology that ensures the resilience of electric systems, including through the use of microgrids, batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and other backup systems. 

Thank you again for your championing of infrastructure investment in this Congress. Investments made in America’s maritime transportation system would have an outsized effect on our economy and environment as supply chains become more efficient and sustainable. AAPA and its members work closely with equipment manufacturers, and a new grant program on this scale would be a boon for an industry that needs federal support to jump start the market for electric cargo handling equipment. Please do not hesitate to reach out to AAPA or any of the undersigned ports if there is anything we can do to support federal efforts to adopt this program. 

Very Respectfully, 

Christopher J. Connor
President and CEO
American Association of Port Authorities 

American Great Lakes Port Association 

California Association of Port Authorities 

Georgia Ports Authority 

Greater Lafourche Port Commission 

Gulf Ports Association 

Oregon International Port of Coos Bay 


Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 

Port of Anacortes 

Port of Alaska, Anchorage 

Port of Cleveland 

Port of Delaware 

Port of Everett 

Port Everglades 

Port of Galveston 

Port of Grays Harbor 

Port of Hueneme 

Port of Juneau 

Port of Long Beach 

Port of New Orleans 

Port of Portland, OR 

Port of San Diego 

Port of Stockton 

Port Tampa Bay 

Port of Virginia 

Ports Association of Louisiana 

South Jersey Port Corporation 

Terrebonne Parish Port