As the supply chain crisis continues to wreak havoc on the roofing industry and others, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund projects that will improve supply movements.

In a letter dated April 26, the NRCA, along with nearly 50 other associations, urges Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to dedicate “as much as allowable by law in discretionary grants” to support projects facilitating and easing the movement of goods. The letter asks him to do so under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that became law last November.

The associations suggest the Department of Transportation focus $18 billion in INFRA, MEGA and CRISI grant programs into making physical improvements to the supply chain network.

“Whether it is improvements to port infrastructure, addressing freight bottlenecks at major highway interchanges, or investing in grade separation projects, these investments will not only improve safety and air quality but will better the U.S. economy,” the letter states.

IHS Markit, a data research firm, shows supply delivery index times have signaled a widespread slowdown of the supply chain since 2020. Abnormally long loading and unloading times at seaports caused by the pandemic are partly to blame. The letter notes that, while traffic patterns are returning to pre-pandemic levels, freight movement enhancements would relieve economic burdens so the supply chain network can better withstand future disruptions.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a perfect storm of aging infrastructure, pandemic lockdowns, and geopolitical disruptions have caused historic supply chain disruptions. As a result, roofing contractors have experienced delayed jobs and price increases that, as MTL Holdings Vice President Brad Van Dam puts it in a recent article: "There were so many price increase emails, that for about six months, they may have rivaled the number of email phishing attempts we receive."

This isn’t the first time the NRCA has reached out for assistance in alleviating supply chain issues. In November, it joined an open letter to President Joe Biden recommending changes that would help resolve issues affecting the trucking industry. Last October, the NRCA sent a letter to the Department of Energy to request that it help increase the speed and capacity of the country’s ports.

In February 2022, the Department of Transportation announced the availability of $450 million in funds for American ports through its Port Infrastructure Development Program grants.