But many of us may forget that, at the same time, those ports play a key role in equipping, supplying, and sustaining actions by troops, both here and abroad.
Yesterday, I told the folks from the National Port Readiness Network that DOT is committed to supporting the maritime industry. And that we encourage them to find new and productive ways to accommodate the U.S. military’s need for access to ports.
But the ports have a duty to perform, and DOT wants to do all we can to help them meet these obligations.
Two items on that list include:
- Port Summit.
We're planning to examine the complex role of our ports and identify areas for improvement at a Port Summit in early 2010.
- Maritime Administration's fiscal 2010 budget
This includes a Presidential initiative to integrate planning with the Department of Homeland Security. This will help develop and modernize the freight infrastructure that links coastal and inland ports to highway and rail networks.
These are but two steps toward the port readiness America needs. But I’m confident that, working together, we’ll continue to strengthen America’s seaports while we maintain our commitment to support national defense.