California is fortunate to be the home to the most productive regions in the world for manufacturing and goods movement.
According to 2018 statistics, California manufacturers lead the nation in manufacturing with more than 1.3 million workers, over 30,000 companies and exports totaling more than $154.44 billion traveling through our ports.
But that leadership role is being eroded by other states. A new report shows that since 2006, West Coast ports’ “market share” – measured by the percentage of containers with consumer goods coming in and out of American ports — declined 19.4 percent. During the same period, market share at both East Coast and Gulf Coast ports increased.
Ostensibly, a loss of market share at West Coast ports does not appear to harm California-based businesses, but in reality the loss of cargo headed to other parts of the country creates a ripple effect on the state’s manufacturers and other exporters, employment at ports, transportation companies, warehouses, and ultimately consumers.
California lawmakers must take a hard look at the causes of market share loss at the ports, the impact of that decline on the state’s jobs and manufacturing base, and the policy changes that need to be enacted to reverse the current trend.