Last week, to drive positive narratives to Capitol Hill surrounding seaports’ needs and role in handling supply chain challenges, AAPA President and CEO Chris Connor published an op-ed in The Hill titled “On the Supply Chain and Freight Fluidity: Enforcement, Not Reformation.” In this piece, Connor argues new regulations curtailing freight fluidity charges do not serve the public interest and that a strengthened FMC will effectively regulate the U.S. international ocean transportation system for the benefit of U.S. exporters, importers, and consumers. He also discusses the supplemental appropriations in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), formerly known as (and sometimes still called) the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and how these appropriations will both aid freight movement and be used to create a more fluid and resilient port system, including improvements to intermodal connectivity. Importantly, the piece praises decisions in the past year ports have made to ensure capacity and speed are increased. Read the piece here. Despite all reports to the contrary over several months, the National Retail Federation published an article where they called 2021 “the best holiday season ever,” with holiday sales rising 11.5% above 2020. AAPA President and CEO Chris Connor, who was invited by President Biden to attend the Supply Chain Task Force and CEOs meeting with the President two weeks ago, reiterated this and updated President Biden on the extraordinary efforts by the nation’s ports to keep freight moving and ease congestion while handling record container volume leading up to the holiday season. Connor gave a recap of the supply chain progress in an interview with Fox and Friends ahead of Christmas. View the interview here. On December 23, the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced $241 million in grant awards for the FY2021 Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). The awards will fund 25 projects in 19 states and one territory. View MARAD’s press release here and the full list of project awards here.