California Ports Call for State Support to Remain Globally Competitive
California ports are in a competitive fight and could use Sacramento’s support, said Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle in remarks made to a group of senior state legislative staffers who recently visited the Bay Area port.
“Challenges to our business are everywhere—Mexico, Canada, the U.S. East Coast,” Lytle told the group. “We’re doing all we can to keep Oakland and other California ports the most attractive option for international shippers, but we can use your help.”
Lytle was joined by a number of transportation industry executives who were in Oakland to address the senior aides to top California Senate and Assembly members involved in the crafting of goods movement policy.
California’s major ports, including Oakland, Long Beach and Los Angeles, “are evolving rapidly to maintain a competitive edge and Sacramento’s help is needed in allocating infrastructure funding along priority trade corridors. Their goal is to keep containerized trade from going elsewhere,” they said in a joint statement.
Industry speakers singled out California ports as “major contributors to jobs and the economy” and “leaders in investing to improve air quality.”
California, once the sixth largest economy in the world, has seen its share of containerized imports and exports drop-off in 2015, a decline traced to “wintertime labor-management disputes and aggressive marketing from out-of-state and international competitors,” they said.
The executives urged the state legislature to make ports a statewide priority as a special legislative session devoted to transportation is currently underway in Sacramento with Senators and Assembly members looking at ports, goods movement, infrastructure, and the overall impact of international trade on the state’s economy.
The issues reportedly being addressed during the session range from trade corridors to transportation funding and “the unique competitive challenges facing California’s freight transport sector.”
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