U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday toured the nation’s largest port complex, including the Port of Long Beach, meeting with local officials while seeing firsthand efforts to deliver goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour came as America’s maritime ports are set to receive an infusion of critical infrastructure funding, with $17 billion allocated for ports and waterways in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

From left: Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero and Congressman Alan Lowenthal tour the Port of Long Beach
From left: Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero and Congressman Alan Lowenthal tour the Port of Long Beach

“Thanks to the heroic efforts of supply chain workers and the creativity coming out of our partnerships, we’re making good progress, as shown by the numbers on cargo movement, goods on shelves, and deliveries on time,” said Buttigieg. “Still, there is more to do, and we’re proud to award the Port of Long Beach a $52 million grant for the Pier B On-Dock Rail Facility, so this port can move more goods, more quickly.”

“Trade is a critical part of our economy and the workforce we have is second to none,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “The Biden Administration saw our supply chain challenges early, partnered with local jurisdictions like the Port of Long Beach and we are seeing results. Thank you Secretary Buttigieg for the investment in Pier B on-dock rail and for the visit to the Port of Long Beach today.”

Tuesday’s visit included a boat tour followed by a press conference on the helipad at the Port’s Joint Command and Control Center, offering a sweeping view of the complex and the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge, as well as Long Beach Container Terminal, one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world.

“We are investing in a 24/7 framework to further throughput and efficiencies at the port of choice to serve the nation’s needs for the next 100 years,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg are fully engaged in our efforts to create a new normal of 24-hour operations to ensure we can clear the supply chain backlog and handle the flow of cargo into the future.”

“The reach of our federal partners eases cooperation across the supply chain by bringing together labor and the many companies that work in international trade,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Steven Neal. “We’re excited about what we can accomplish together, and what these once-in-a-generation investments will mean for creating a stronger supply chain.”