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US Ports to Create 1.6 Million Jobs

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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Over the next five years, U.S. seaports and their private-sector partners plan to spend $154.8 billion on port-related infrastructure, according to the latest investment survey by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). This investment could create about 1.6 million domestic jobs.

Most of the money is aimed at ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast, AAPA said in its announcement Wednesday (April 6), with projects that include new energy processing, production and transfer facilities.

Based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis formulas, economist John C. Martin says that this investment should create 1.6 million direct, indirect and induced domestic jobs, and approximately 3.3 billion person-hours of work over the five-year period.

Construction at Port of Beaumont TX
Port of Beaumont

U.S. seaports and their private-sector partners plan to spend $154.8 billion on port-related infrastructure, according to a recent study from the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).

“Those are really significant job numbers,” says Martin, president of Lancaster, PA-based Martin Associates.

“From a dollars-and-cents perspective, it’s hard to over-emphasize the value of investing in ports, particularly when you factor in how much these investments contribute to our overall economic prosperity and help lower the cost of imports and make our exports more competitive overseas.”

According to AAPA, U.S. ports are planning to invest in terminals, berths, piers, equipment, navigation dredging, expansions, facility rehabs, security, rail and environmental improvements.

Additionally, private-sector partners are planning investments in rails, terminals, equipment, bulk-handling and energy transfer facilities, storage, security, piers and expansions.

Federal Investment Lagging Far Behind

The combined $155 billion investment planned by the ports and their private sector partners is more than three times the $46 billion figure obtained from the same survey five years ago. It’s also far more than the AAPA expects to see from the federal government: The best-case scenario through 2020, according to AAPA, is just $24.8 billion.

This difference between private and federal investment is a major concern, according AAPA’s president and CEO, Kurt Nagle.

Pilings at Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle

“Infrastructure investments in America’s seaports and their intermodal connections—both on the land and in the water—are in our nation’s best interest,” says AAPA president and CEO Kurt Nagle.

“Infrastructure investments in America’s seaports and their intermodal connections—both on the land and in the water—are in our nation’s best interest,” says Nagle, “because they provide opportunities to bolster our economy, create and sustain jobs, enhance our international competitiveness, and pay annual dividends through the generation of more than $321 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.”

The Risks of Under-Investing

Under-investing in the country’s goods movement system could have serious consequences for U.S. companies, and the AAPA claims federal navigation channels aren’t being adequately maintained at their originally constructed depths and widths.

The organization cites findings from a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that shows deteriorated highways and insufficiently deep navigation channels could cost U.S. businesses over $286 billion by 2020.

While the 2015 FAST Act—authorizing $11 billion in new funding for land-side freight improvements—is a step in the right direction, “additional investments are needed to effectively handle the nation’s burgeoning freight volumes,” says Nagle.

About AAPA

Founded in 1912, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports.

To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.

   

Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Jobs; Marine; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Shipyards; Terminals; Transportation

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