Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013 - (Page 26)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT All States Depend on Maritime Trade Growth By Bruce Lambert Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies (ITTS) O ftentimes, the discussion on global markets, connectivity and job growth takes place without the recognition that international trade in goods involves a physical shipment of a product. In 2012, international trade in goods accounted for 24 percent of the U.S. economy, as food, fuels, minerals, manufactured items, textiles and other goods flowed into and out of the United States. International trade is, obviously, a critical component of the U.S. economy, not just for coastal states, but for all states. Nationwide, maritime facilities accounted 46 percent of trade based on value, making maritime trade the predominant mode for most businesses engaging in international trade, especially outside of the Canadian and Mexican markets. Exports, especially for small businesses, have become a key economic development focus for many state and local governments. The problem lies in the potential disconnect between promoting trade and recognizing that trade requires the physical movement of a product. International trade will remain a critical, and growing, component of the U.S. economy, as highlighted by the National Export Initiative and the push for more trade agreements. Improving trade, including trade through the nation's maritime system and its linkages to inland markets, can provide economic opportunities to U.S. firms. However, one of the challenges lies in telling inland markets that coastal ports matter to their economies. International traffic through a maritime port accounted for 11 percent of the nation's GDP. For states without coastal port facilities, their estimated economic share of maritime trade was lower than the national average, ranging between 1 percent and 4 percent in the Mountain West, but for most inland states, international trade through a port accounted for between 5 percent and 10 percent of their economies. The 26 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE 1-5% of Economy 5-10% of Economy >10% of Economy Share of state GDP dependent on international maritime trade. true contribution may actually be higher, as these figures may underrepresent their true dependence due to the nature of international shipments and their movement through global supply chains. However, as with most infrastructure in the United States, this "highway on-ramp" to global prosperity is in need of attention, as "potholes" can disrupt our transportation system and the economy. The nation's infrastructure requires constant and secure funding, not only for ports and their dredging and infrastructure needs, but also for the corridors that link ports with inland markets. There is room for improvement in making the nation's transportation more efficient, especially given the dynamic nature of international trade. According to the World Bank's 2012 Logistics Performance Index, the U.S. ranks as the ninth most logistics friendly country in the world, based on a number of factors related to transportation services, infrastructure and documentation (World Bank, 2012). However, the system's efficiency and reliability does not come without the costs associated with building, operating and maintaining transportation networks. According to a recent AAPA survey, ports and their private sector partners are projected to invest $46 billion in new terminals, channels and other related improvements over the next five years alone. This does not include the investment by railroads, inland ports and other transportation providers, including highway investment needs on connectors and main routes. Many states are actively supporting ports within their state through funding programs for improving port access and facilities, building inland intermodal terminals, seeking dredging approvals and integrating port traffic into the state's planning activities. While ports and port communities bear the direct and indirect costs of keeping ports competitive, including localized freight traffic, the benefits of those ports are not limited to the port vicinity. Some states play an active role in port related infrastructure improvements but every state depends upon international trade for some portion of its economy and benefits by the commerce that happens at the water's edge. In many ways, discussing ports is not a "local issue," or even a "funding question," but a discussion on investing in the future of transportation to ensure that all Americans can continue to compete in global markets and benefit from trade through the nation's ports. ● This article is part of a working paper entitled "International Maritime Trade Benefits the Nation's Economy," which is available on the ITTS website (

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Securing Seaport Cyberspace
Ces Operators Work in Partnership With Port Communities
Radar Technology Opens Up for All Ports
Mccs Keep Ports Running in Case of Emergency
Seaport Industry Gathers in Central Florida for Aapa Annual Convention
Forging His Own Path
All States Depend on Maritime Trade Growth
Maritime Security: 10 Years of Partnerships
Cybersecurity a Growing Threat to Maritime Security
Port Metro Vancouver Announces Funding for Security Expansion
Jamaica-U.n. Sign Mou to Improve Port Security
Integrated Management System Addresses Security at Bahia Blanca
Coastal Trident Training Program Tests Hueneme’s Preparedness
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Winter 2013