Ports Leaders Focus on improving Competitiveness to mark California Ports Day

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(Image Courtesy: Port of Los Angeles)

Port Executives Meet with State Officials To Advance Cargo Movement, Infrastructure, Environmental Initiatives

Port directors from across California marked California Ports Day on Wednesday by meeting with state policymakers, legislators, and administration officials to highlight the economic importance of the state’s 11 ports and issue a call to action to keep them competitive in a challenging environment. California ports are a critical link in the U.S. and international supply chain, are tied to more than 5 million jobs nationwide and generate an estimated $700 billion in annual revenue.

“Despite the headwinds we face, including market share loss, the U.S.-China stand-off on trade, and the uncertainty that the coronavirus has brought to global trade, California ports are well-positioned to meet these challenges because we are innovators,” said Gene Seroka, President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) and Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles. “Today was a call to action for port stakeholders to align with our state leadership to make certain that our ports remain at the center of Western Hemisphere trade.”

When asked about the purpose of this year’s Ports Day, new CAPA State Director Martha Miller explained, “Today is about raising awareness of the economic and environmental leadership ports bring to our state. The goal is to get legislators and our fellow Californians thinking about where their food, clothing, automobiles, smartphones, and maritime services come from. The more we trade, the more we need to invest in strong and efficient ports in our state.”

The California Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement, chaired by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, heard multiple stakeholders from throughout the supply chain address the issue of port competitiveness. It marked the start of a more proactive dialogue with state leaders to explain California ports’ critical role in job creation, their unmatched leadership in environmental stewardship and the urgent need for creating a formal partnership with the state to ensure the continued operational competitiveness of the California port system.

“California’s ports lead the world in maritime trade and environmental innovation,” said O’Donnell. “They are a true economic behemoth for our state, supporting over half a million direct jobs while pumping over $9 billion into our local communities. Thank you to all who work in the freight sector, supply chain and logistics industries for making green while going green.”

“As Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ports & Goods Movement and State Senator representing the Port of Long Beach, as well as many Gateway Cities along the 710 freeway, it was an honor to join my colleague Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell in commemorating February 19, 2020, as California Ports Day and recognizing CAPA’s hard work,” said State Sen. Lena Gonzalez. “I look forward to working with CAPA in the coming year to elevate the goods movement economy and prioritize solutions to the pressing issues we face in trade and transportation.”

Port directors attending this week’s meetings included: Seroka; Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach; Kristin Decas, CEO and Port Director, Port of Hueneme; Danny Wan, Executive Director of the Port of Oakland; Randa Coniglio, President and CEO of the Port of San Diego; and Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco.

Port leaders reiterated their strong commitment to environmental stewardship and continuing their leadership role in developing ambitious, innovative and cutting-edge programs to further improve air and water quality standards, while preserving the flexibility of each port to fully meet such standards in ways that reflect their unique profiles.

Founded in 1940, the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) represents the eleven California public port authorities in Sacramento, Washington, DC, and globally. More than 40% of total containerized cargo entering the United States arrives at California ports and almost 30% of the nation’s exports flow through ports in the Golden State.

Sea News, February 21

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News