New study shows CA Ports drive $416 billion in trade value, $38.1 billion in tax revenue, 3.1 million jobs nationally

Sacramento, CA – Today, Port directors from across California shared the study with state policymakers for Ports Day 2023, the California Association of Port Authorities’ (CAPA) annual day of advocacy.  They were joined by California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Treasurer Fiona Ma, Controller Malia Cohen, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency Toks Omishakin and dozens of other state policymakers to highlight the tremendous impact California Ports have on driving the economy forward.

CAPA President and Executive Director of the Port of Oakland Danny Wan said, “Each year, California Ports are moving billions of dollars in trade revenue, creating millions of good paying jobs and connecting our nation to invaluable resources across the globe.” Wan continued, “Our state must continue to prioritize investments in infrastructure across the California supply chain to help this vital economic ecosystem thrive.”

The study, prepared by Washington-based BST Associates, an independent economic consulting firm, concluded that California has evolved into a distribution center for U.S. trade with Pacific Rim nations partly because of its geographic location, but also because such a large portion of the trade is consumed locally.  The most notable findings included:

  • Trade Value: In 2020, the amount of waterborne trade moving through California ports was worth $416 billion.
  • Jobs: An estimated 3.1 million jobs are supported by this trade, including more than 800,000 jobs related to exports and nearly 2.3 million jobs related to imports.
  • Workforce Development: The jobs supported by the waterborne trade moving through California ports generate worker income estimated to total nearly $134 billion, including $42.2 billion related to exports and $91.8 billion related to imports.
  • Tax Revenue: This trade generated an estimated $38.1 billion in tax revenue, with impacts spread throughout the United States.

BST Associates was retained to estimate the economic impact of international trade that moves through ports in California.  The analysis is based on trade data for calendar year 2020.  This study is part of a series that has been produced by BST Associates since 1995.

The 11 major commercial ports that comprise the CAPA handle 38% of all containerized imports and 28% of all exports in the U.S – reaching every corner of the country.  Collectively, the California Ports are the most consequential system of ports in the nation.