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Governor Wolf Extends Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program for Ocean Carriers

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvania’s Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program (PICGIP), which aims to increase cargo activity by incentivizing shippers to move cargo through Pennsylvania ports, will be extended until July 2023. The program was previously slated to end in June of this year.

“Pennsylvania’s ports are more vital than ever and are continuing to increase the volume of essential goods and strengthen the supply chain,” Gov. Wolf said. “Increasing shipping activity will help ensure that goods are delivered to stores in a timely manner.”

Originally established in 2015 through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Multimodal Fund, the PICGIP makes up to $1 million available annually to participating ocean carriers that move cargo through Pennsylvania’s ports. The fund helps secure fulltime employment at the terminals and increase economic activity through indirect and induced jobs.

All carriers who have not been to the Port of Philadelphia in the past six months must fill out an application on PennDOT’s website, while existing participants are required to complete the data verification form to be eligible for the program.

“The Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program is essential for us to compete with other ports in attracting new ocean carriers and new trade lanes to Pennsylvania. This program supports the ocean carrier during the difficult initial phase of entering a port for the first time, or starting a new service,” said PhilaPort CEO and Executive Director Jeff Theobald. “This is a well-designed program, and PennDOT has done a great job assisting us with implementing it.”

New carriers enrolled in the program receive $25 per new container unit loaded or discharged from vessels to a Pennsylvania port. Existing participants qualify for the incentive payment by exceeding established benchmarks.

In 2020 and 2021 many ports suffered from congestion and the inability to move goods effectively. The Philadelphia ports responded well to this situation by extending their hours of operation and expanding available space for additional cargo. In 2021, a record 37,030 lifts qualified for the incentive. This record lifts since the program’s inception illustrates the success of PICGIP to assist the business growth of Pennsylvania ports.

Since 2015, program participants shipped over 2.3 million units of cargo passed to a Pennsylvania port, with 196,065 units exceeding benchmarks resulting in $5.2 million in incentive funds awarded. Container lifts of program participants nearly doubled during the life of the program as carriers strive to exceed their benchmarks.

Carriers already participating in the program should have received grant information directly from the program managers.

For more information and to view PennDOT’s Intermodal Cargo Growth Incentive Program application/ guidelines visit, and click on the “Rail Freight and Ports” page.