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News Release
FOR RELEASE - April 13, 2017
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

AAPA & MARAD Complete Final Two Modules of Port Planning and Investment Toolkit

Toolkit resources are helping ports better compete for public, private funding


Port Planning and Investment Toolkit cover
Port Planning and Investment Toolkit

Two additional sections of a user-friendly manual to help U.S. port authorities plan, invest in and implement critical infrastructure projects, called the Port Planning and Investment Toolkit, or PPIT, are now complete.

Developed through collaboration between the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), PFM Group of Orlando, Fla., WSP/Parsons Brinkerhoff of Virginia Beach, Va., and a host of industry experts, the PPIT is a valuable resource for the port industry.

“AAPA recognized the infrastructure project needs and funding concerns faced by America’s ports,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA’s president and CEO.  “To help solve these challenges, we jointly brought together a host of experts to develop an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-execute resource to help ports get to the point of bidding out a plan for the modernization and upgrades they need to handle both their current and future demands.” 

He added: “The capabilities to handle the mountains of freight that move through America’s seaports each year require costly investments. Although ports have a history of public-private partnerships to develop and operate their facilities, funding vital intermodal freight projects is requiring them to engage with a larger cast of public and private partners.”

In commenting on the toolkit, Joel Szabat, MARAD’s executive director, said, “The development and enhancement of our maritime transportation system is a crucial component in the continued growth of our nation’s economy. Forward-thinking and planning will enable our ports to further support jobs, trade and commerce for American communities.”

The PPIT was built around modules on planning, refining and funding projects, with the goal of navigating the best course of action for tackling these challenges in a more comprehensive and user-friendly way than ever before.

The new Planning Module provides guidance to the PPIT users when beginning to identify factors that must be addressed when planning a potential port project. This module provides clearly defined steps and requirements of the planning process needed for successfully financing a project.

The new Feasibility Module addresses the process of refining a project plan by considering all aspects of cost, risk, and reward. This module includes approaches for measuring and evaluating the benefits and costs of project alternatives created during the planning stage.

The revised Financing Module describes different approaches for evaluating project funding and financing strategies and identifying ways to obtain grant funding and public/private financing. It includes examples of financing strategy solutions designed to address a variety of needs.

The PPIT project began in September 2014 after MARAD joined AAPA in a cooperative agreement to work together in developing a port investment plan guidance, complete with references and best practices.

To view the MARAD website where stakeholders can learn about the toolkit and MARAD’s StrongPorts initiative, click on


The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the U.S. merchant marine. MARAD works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. MARAD is also charged with maintaining the health of the merchant marine, since commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America’s young people about the vital role the maritime industry plays in the lives of all Americans. MARAD also maintains a fleet of cargo ships in reserve to provide surge sea-lift during war and national emergencies, and is responsible for disposing of ships in that fleet, as well as other non-combatant government ships, as they become obsolete

About AAPA
Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 140 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 250 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Inc. - World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2015 totaled 3.45 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.36 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.69 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.15 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.76 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.21 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:


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