US Transportation Dept could act ‘outside the lane’ to ease US port Congestion

Recently appointed head of the US Department of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has promised to help ease port congestion ahead of the new administration’s promised $3trn infrastructure stimulus package.

Buttigieg said that the agency might consider acting “outside the lane” to address port congestion and help US agriculture.

While he acknowledged that US port congestion and its impact on exporters had hit a new level of urgency, Buttigieg also admitted to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that there were no “easy fixes”. Federal agencies in the US have limited scope when it comes to intervening on port congestion, specifically the exporters’ complaints that container lines were turning away exports to focus on higher-paying imports.

“I think it is part of the broader conversation about supply chain that certainly the administration is concerned about,” Buttigieg told legislators, adding that “some of this might involve wandering a little outside the lane in what the Department of Transportation does, but it’s another example of where we need to be collaborating and coordinating with other partners in the administration to make sure we have a whole-of-government approach.”