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Newhouse, Reichert Respond to Watchdog Report on Port Performance

November 2, 2016
Press Release
Report highlights importance of nationally-consistent measures of port performance to improve freight efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report titled “Better Supply Chain Information Could Improve DOT's Freight Efforts.” The GAO report recommended that in developing a freight data strategy, the U.S. Department of Transportation should identify: what supply chain information is needed, potential sources of that information, data gaps, and how it intends to use this information to inform freight efforts. The report also highlights how the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) own draft National Freight Strategic Plan calls for developing similar data. Rep. Newhouse’s amendment creating the Port Performance Program was included in H.R. 22, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which was signed into law in December, 2015, helps to address this need. The amendment required the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to collect and report port statistics which will then be published in an annual report by BTS. The Port Performance Working Group will make recommendations to BTS to determine specific port metrics.

“Maintaining stable supply chains and preventing another West Coast ports disruption is critical for exporters and consumers in the Pacific Northwest,” the congressmen said. “This watchdog report lays out the challenges facing West Coast port operations and highlights the necessity of the Department of Transportation to develop port performance measures that will be used to improve port operations and freight efforts. Preventing future disruptions at our ports necessitates gathering and maintaining data on ports performance. Clear baseline data is an important step to ensure our ports are working effectively, and we eagerly anticipate progress on upcoming recommendations from the Department.”

Background:

The Port Performance Program within the FAST Act created the following requirements:

  • The BTS Director must submit a report on port capacity and throughput no later than January 15th of each year;
  • The annual report must cover, at a minimum, the top 25 ports in the nation by tonnage, containers, and dry bulk;
  • The working group members must submit their recommendations to the BTS Director within one year of enactment of the bill.

To read the GAO report, click here.

For a summary of the Port Performance Program, click here.