Tuesday, March 28, 2017

AAPA Launches Port Infrastructure Advocacy Campaign

By Mark Edward Nero

The American Association of Port Authorities has launched a campaign that will advocate for transportation infrastructure investment on behalf of the nation’s manufacturers, farmers and other workers who count on modern and efficient seaports to move American products to vital overseas markets.

Called the “America: Keep It Moving” campaign, AAPA’s US members in the coming months plan to coordinate actions to inform policymakers, and those who influence policy, about the job-creating power of US ports as the Trump Administration and Congress consider plans for national infrastructure improvements and funding.

“The nation’s seaports serve a vital role in US job creation, economic prosperity and international competitiveness,” AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle said in a statement. “To help American businesses compete in overseas markets, the Administration and Congress must make investments today to build a 21st century seaport infrastructure.”

Port activity supports 23 million American jobs and generates $321 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue each year, according to the AAPA, while the total value of economic activity related to America’s ports is $4.6 trillion. “Ports send products made in America’s cities, towns and rural communities to markets around the world,” Nagle said. “This activity is critical to the workers and management of US manufacturers, service companies, farmers and nearly every other kind of business across the nation.”

One of every three acres on American farmland is planted for export markets, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, and nearly 12 million jobs are supported by exports nationwide, including a quarter of all manufacturing jobs. Infrastructure investment impacts how efficiently US goods are transported to port facilities for export. Among the highways that take US goods to market, some 1,200 miles of the nation’s road, bridges and tunnels serve as vital freight connections to ports, much of which is in dire need of investment.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the cost of deficient highways could cost US businesses and households up to $575 billion by 2025, reaching a $3.2 trillion loss by 2040.

The volume of freight in the US is projected to grow more than 40 percent by 2045, while the value of that same freight is projected to increase about 92 percent, according to the US Department of Transportation. By 2037, the US is expected to export over 52 million shipping containers through US seaports annually.

“We must prepare the nation’s infrastructure to meet a growing demand for the safe, efficient movement of freight,” Nagle said. “To keep America moving, the time to invest in port infrastructure is now.”