California Ports Advocate for Continued Partnership with State Policymakers as Competition from Eastern and Gulf Coast Ports Continues to Rise

Sacramento, CA – Today, Port executives from around the state met with policymakers in Sacramento to advocate for continued infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that will benefit California’s supply chain.  In recent years, California ports have worked hand-in-hand with state policymakers to establish groundbreaking new policies in the ports and goods movement sector and secure critical investments in infrastructure programs.

Last year, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the award of more than $1.5 billion in funding as part of the state’s historic one-time program to build a more efficient, sustainable, and resilient supply chain.  CalSTA awarded $1.2 billion in Port and Freight Infrastructure Program grants to projects statewide that will make long-term upgrades to increase the capacity to move goods throughout the state’s global trade gateways while lessening environmental impacts on neighboring communities.

Responsible for handling 38% of containerized imports and 28% of containerized exports across the United States, California ports play a critical role in driving economic growth across the nation.  The 11 public seaports in California support over 3 million jobs across the U.S. and generate over $38 billion in tax revenue annually. 

Recently, Eastern and Gulf Coast ports have steadily increased their share of cargo from East Asia, while California Ports have experienced no parallel diversion of transatlantic trade to West Coast ports.[1][2] Dating back to 2010, California ports have experienced a severe funding imbalance — reaching an 11:1 ratio — favoring East Coast and Gulf Coast ports over the West Coast.[3]

In the first round of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act awards, California continued to receive less than its fair share of funding. In the second round of funding, California ports competed more favorably and secured a greater amount of federal funding thanks to the advocacy of California policymakers.  Port executives made the case for continued investments and policies that will get goods moving faster in the years to come.

“California’s ports play a critical role in driving our state’s economy forward,” CAPA President and Executive Director of the Port of Redwood City Kristine Zortman said. “To keep California competitive, our state must continue to invest in infrastructure and programs that will help our supply chain thrive.”

“California is home to our nation-leading supply chain infrastructure,” said Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “I’m proud of our state’s commitment to investing in initiatives that advance resilience, innovation, and sustainability within California’s ports that will power our economy for decades to come.”

The California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) comprises 11 major deepwater port authorities across our state.  Since its founding in 1940, CAPA has remained dedicated to this mission by educating state and federal policymakers on port operations while also advancing the best interests of the maritime community.

1 PMSA, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA),NAFTA Port Container Traffic Data Official Port Websites, February 2023
2 Journal of Commerce, US West Coast ports aim to win back shippers after two-year share loss, January 3, 20243
3 Bloomberg, Transcript: Gene Seroka on the Logistical Logjam at the Port of LA, August 2, 2021