Inaugural California Ports Day Highlights Importance of State’s Freight Transportation System

The First Annual California Ports Day took place on February 21, 2018, at the State Capitol in Sacramento, CA and was deemed a great success by members of the state Legislature, their staff, maritime and freight industry leaders, as well as members of the general public who participated in the day’s activities.

“Ports Day is intended to raise awareness of the immense economic benefits and environmental leadership Ports bring to the state. We hope to connect citizens and legislators to the goods inside the ships loading at our Ports. As consumers, large percentages of what we wear, eat, drive, and use to communicate come through the ports”, said Kristin Decas, President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) and Port of Hueneme CEO & Port Director.

CAPA, which is comprised of the state’s eleven publicly-owned ports, organized the daylong event, which included participation from each of California’s ports as well as freight industry partners. The day commenced with a briefing taking place in one of the historic committee rooms of the state Capitol, where a standing room-only crowd learned about the important economic and environmental leadership California ports provide. Ms. Decas explained the vital role ports play as gateways to our freight transportation system which is responsible for one-third of California’s economy and jobs.

Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement) and Senator Ricardo Lara (Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ports and Goods Movement) served as co-hosts for the day. Assembly Member O’Donnell also authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 170 which designates the third Wednesday of February as California Ports Day. After the day of events, the Assembly Member said, “California Ports Day was a great success! We were able to significantly raise the awareness of our ports’ contributions to the economy and the work they are doing to develop environmentally-friendly operations. Thank you to everyone involved who helped make this day possible.”

Port of Long Beach Executive Director, Mario Cordero, along with Heather Tomley, Port of Long Beach Director of Environmental Planning, and Chris Cannon, Director of Environmental Management at the Port of Los Angeles, highlighted the remarkable environmental improvements California ports have made over the last decade, as well as continuing  improvement efforts that make our ports global leaders in environmental stewardship.

California’s largest ports report emissions reductions on the order of:

  • 80% in particulate matter reductions;
  • 90% in SOx reductions;
  • 50% in NOx reductions; and
  • Significant GHG reductions
Ms. Decas concluded the briefing by highlighting that more than 40% of the 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.

After the Capitol Briefing, port and industry leaders participated in nearly 50 meetings with Legislators and key staff in the Capitol.  During the day, a large tent and California import-export products display was set-up on the north steps of the State Capitol. Booths set up in the tent highlighted the contributions of each of California’s eleven public ports and provided information to the public. In addition, the Port of Los Angeles’ TransPORTer – a mobile interactive display of port operations – was open for tours.