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PhilaPort To Co-Develop 100K SF Warehouse With $20M From Infrastructure Bill

The Port of Philadelphia has secured funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill and is using it to add warehousing capability on its land.

A container yard at the Port of Philadelphia, also known as PhilaPort.

PhilaPort has received a $20M grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program for construction of a 100K SF warehouse at its Tioga Marine Terminal in Northeast Philadelphia, USDOT announced on Thursday.

A total of $1.5B was distributed through INFRA to 26 grantees, with PhilaPort's grant among the smallest awards.

A condition of the INFRA grants was that grantees had to match at least 40% of their federal award with their own funding; PhilaPort plans to contribute around $13.6M toward the nearly $34M project, PhilaPort Director of Government and Public Affairs Ryan Mulvey told Bisnow.

Delaware River Stevedores, the company contracted to manage operations at Tioga Marine Terminal, will contribute some of its own funds and serve as co-developer on the project, scheduled to begin construction in 2024. The project will also include improvements to the terminal's entrance gate and other upgrades designed to improve safety and lessen the environmental impact of port operations.

Until port officials were notified by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey that they had been selected for an INFRA award, pre-planning for the facility had been limited to what information was required in the grant application, Mulvey said.

"We have completed some preliminary planning, but you don’t want to invest too much before your grant gets picked up," he said.

PhilaPort's share of the financing will likely be drawn from the $246M in state funds it received from Gov. Tom Wolf early this year. But to fund more of the $3.5B capital improvement plan it released in July, PhilaPort is looking to be chosen for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, another grant program managed by USDOT and funded with $2.25B from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Port officials applied for PIDP funding but have yet to hear back, Mulvey said. PhilaPort had also applied for funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, which announced more than $2.2B of grants in August. It was not selected.

Philadelphia's port shipping is a smaller operation than many of its East Coast counterparts, with a significant niche in food products.

But with the forthcoming warehouse and the beginning of its first China shipping route, it hopes to grow in profile and become an alternative import hub for a broader variety of products as larger ports strain to meet demand.