Roundtable Underscores Importance of 21st Century U.S. Ports To Drive Job Growth
At a recent meeting in Baltimore, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, came together with leaders from ports, labor, and shipping and retail companies from around the country, to find ways the federal government and the freight industry can work collaboratively to build twenty-first century ports and lay the foundations for sustained long-term growth.
International trade now accounts for fully 30 percent of the U.S. economy. To compete in global markets, America needs an efficient and modern twenty-first century freight transportation system.
The total economic value that U.S. coastal ports provide in terms of revenue to businesses, personal income and economic output by exporters and importers was pegged at $4.6 trillion in 2014. This accounted for more than a quarter of the nation’s $17.4 trillion economy, with port activities supporting 23.1 million jobs and generating $321.1 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
“The meeting recognized the vital importance of America’s seaports, as well as the landside and waterside connections that serve as critical links to our nation’s freight network and to our competitiveness in the global economy,” said Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
U.S. port authorities and their private-sector partners are investing heavily into port facilities. They’re planning to spend more than $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years.
“The 2014 WRDDA (Water Resources Reform and Development Act) and 2015 FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act were significant steps by the federal government to recognize the correlation between improving freight transportation and improving the economy,” said Nagle. “But we need to continue to raise funding levels for freight-related projects to enhance the vital connections with America’s ports. We commend the Roundtable on 21st Century Ports as laying the foundation to further advance initiatives underway across the country to optimize the supply chain and increase cargo handing efficiencies.”
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