Biden's infrastructure bill is a boon for the cargo shipping sector

Monday November 15, 2021

Stand.earth calls funding an unprecedented opportunity for ports to invest in infrastructure for zero-emissions vessels

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package into law Monday afternoon, November 15, 2021. The bill aims to deliver $550 billion in new investment over 5 years for roads, bridges, mass transit, ports, and waterways.

International environmental advocacy organization Stand.earth applauded the move, calling it an unprecedented opportunity for ports to invest in infrastructure for zero-emissions maritime vessels. Stand.earth co-leads the Ship It Zero coalition, which is calling for major retail brands Amazon, IKEA, Target, and Walmart to reduce their climate and health-harming cargo shipping pollution by switching to zero-emissions ships by 2030.

“Biden's infrastructure bill, which includes $17 billion for modernizing ports and waterways, is a watershed moment for the health of port communities and the decarbonization of the shipping sector. With $245 million in federal grants to be allocated in the next 45 days for updating port infrastructure, and $4 billion in port projects to be identified within the first 90 days, this is an unprecedented opportunity to invest in the zero-emissions vessel infrastructure needed to move the heavily polluting maritime industry off of fossil fuels,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director at Stand.earth.

“We are calling on the Biden administration to focus on making good on the U.S.'s promise in Glasgow last week to build green shipping corridors, as well as renewable port electrification projects. It is imperative that this historic opportunity not be wasted on dredging harbors for bigger and bigger cargo ships to come to our shores, and instead invest in the infrastructure needed to deliver the clean air and livable climate that everyone deserves,” said Ulrich.

Shipping industry at COP26 

Biden’s infrastructure package comes after two pivotal weeks for the shipping industry at COP26, the UN’s annual climate change conference. 

On November 10, ministers, CEOs, and governments from around the world launched the Clydebank Declaration, a collaborative effort to establish green shipping corridors among some of the globe’s busiest maritime shipping routes. Stand.earth called it a potentially pivotal moment for the decarbonization of maritime shipping, but only if cargo owners step up their level of ambition and send the clear market signals needed to make this initiative a reality. 

On November 4, retail giant Amazon joined the White House’s First Movers Coalition, a public-private partnership launched by U.S. President Joe Biden and the World Economic Forum to commercialize emerging technologies essential to decarbonizing heavy industries, including ocean shipping. The Ship It Zero coalition said the First Movers Coalition has potential, especially since it sets targets for action this decade, but warned the coalition was light on details and leaves room for false solutions.

About Ship It Zero

Stand.earth and Pacific Environment lead the Ship It Zero coalition, which is calling on major retail brands including Amazon, IKEA, Walmart, and Target to take immediate action to reduce climate and cargo shipping pollution and switch entirely to zero-emissions cargo ships by 2030. 

In July, the Ship It Zero coalition released its Shady Ships report, the first study of its kind to quantify the climate and public health impacts from some of the biggest American retailers’ reliance on overseas manufacturing and fossil-fueled, transoceanic shipping.
 

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Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, U.S. Media Director, Stand.earth, +1 510 858 9902, media@stand.earth (PT)