Qatar is planning to invest more than $10 billion in American ports on the east coast, as relations between the Gulf nation and Washington show signs of warming.
Sources told Reuters that Qatar has already been in contact with international banks to aid in financing the spending on US infrastructure that is expected to be developed in multiple phases.
Michael Frodl, an advisor on maritime security, commerce and infrastructure projects, told Reuters that Qatar would be focusing their attention on ports close to highways and rail lines.
“We’d be looking at aging medium-sized ports south of Boston and north of Jacksonville,” he said.
The port purchases will reportedly be underwritten by debt linked to port assets. But Qatar is only at the beginning stages of talks with backers. Banks named include Morgan Stanley, HSBC and Credit Suisse.
President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $5.22 billion earmarked for ports. However, experts say that the money falls tens of billion of dollars short.
On November 16, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking at an online news conference with the Port of Los Angeles, said that while the spending package included a “historic level of funding” for port upkeep, all the money to rebuild ports could not come from federal dollars.
“We’re going to have to keep working with local, state and private partners in order to make sure that we have the kinds of resources that are needed,” Buttigieg said.
US Coast Guard numbers indicate there are at least 360 ports in the United States. There are more than 20 container ports around the coastline.