PPAI has joined 147 other organizations in voicing their support for the Port Performance Act, an amendment to the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, currently under discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill comes in response to this year’s contract dispute and slowdown at 29 West Coast ports, and would give visibility into how U.S. ports are operating, identify key congestion issues, and ensure commerce continues to flow efficiently.

A difficulty highlighted during the labor dispute was the low amount of data that is currently aggregated on port productivity and congestion. This lack of data makes it difficult to verify if or when a slowdown is occurring and whether there is a need to intervene. The amendment, which mirrors language in the Senate-passed DRIVE Act, directs the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to establish a port performance data program, so there will be an information baseline on how ports are operating. Additionally, the amendment would require the BTS to provide these new metrics and data on a quarterly basis to ensure information is received in a timely manner.

On behalf of the manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, wholesalers, retailers, importers, exporters, distributors, transportation and logistics providers, and other supply chain stakeholders that signed on to the letter, the amendment reads, “There is a strong need to start collecting basic uniform data on port performance as a means to address ongoing congestion issues that impact the national economy. This is an essential step to ensure that we fully understand the current and future challenges facing our ports and identify the right solutions.”