The 15th Annual California Maritime Leadership Symposium

The California Maritime Leadership Symposium (CMLS) is the Capitol community’s premier maritime industry educational event focusing on key matters related to our Maritime Transportation system.  The 15th annual CMLS took place on February 24th and 25th at the Citizen Hotel and State Capitol in Sacramento, and  was organized under the theme “Three Masts for a Stronger California: The Infrastructure, the Environment, and the Economy of the Maritime Community.”  Chaired by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), the event included some of our State’s most prominent policy-makers including Brian Kelly, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency; Congressman Alan Lowenthal; State Controller Betty Yee; and Mary Nichols, the Chair of the California Air Resources Board.

The theme was very much reflective of the structure of this year’s CMLS. Discussions regarding infrastructure provided a background on where the maritime community has been allocating resources to improve the capacity and efficiency of our freight infrastructure. The recently released California Freight Mobility Plan dominated the discussion during this portion of the program as participants got better acquainted with this important State document which outlines the State’s goods movement system and needed freight infrastructure improvements. The second mast, the Environment, provided insight into the industry’s on-going focus on improving air and water quality while maintaining our leading role in the maritime industry. The developing Sustainable Freight Strategy took center stage in discussions on rigorous environmental improvements and continued development of a low carbon transportation system.  Closing the program was the final mast, the Economy, which provided insight on current issues including significant sources

of competition such as the widening of the Panama Canal, which will allow a wider range of vessels better access to Gulf and East Coast ports, and the expanding use and government investment in Canada’s Port of Prince Rupert, and Mexico’s Port of Lazaro Cardenas.

Traditionally the CMLS Steering Committee recognizes the outstanding contributions and achievements of an individual or organization that has had positive and lasting influence on California’s maritime community. This year’s Honoree of Merit Award was presented to Jacobsen Pilot Service, the contracted piloting company for the Port of Long Beach that moves an average of 7,000 ships per year – including some of the largest container ships and oil tankers in the world. Former Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal was on hand to present the Gary L. Gregory Lifetime Achievement Award to Norman Fassler-Katz for his many years of service to the California port community as staff to legislative committees, and as Executive Director of the California Marine and Intermodal Transportation System Advisory Council (CALMITSAC).

The Steering Committee will be meeting again soon to begin planning our next CMLS and hope you will be able to join us for future symposiums. Please visit for up to date CMLS information.

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