U.S. Ports Benefit Economy

New survey by Martin Associates and study by AAPA look at the economic value of ports and critical need for infrastructure investment in the future

By AAPA Staff

This April at the AAPA 2015 Spring Conference, Martin Associates released the results of its latest economic impact study of United States seaports. Dr. John Martin, Martin Associates’ president, debuted his firm’s 2014 National Economic Impact of the U.S. Coastal Port System report, which shows the dramatic contributions of America’s seaports to the nation’s economy.

From 2007 to 2014, the total economic value that U.S. coastal ports provide in terms of revenue to businesses, personal income and economic output by exporters and importers rose 43 percent to $4.6 trillion. This accounted for 26 percent of the nation’s $17.4 trillion economy in 2014, up from 20 percent of its $16.1 trillion economy in 2007.

“The growth in the contributions of our ports to the nation’s economy underscores the need to invest in infrastructure and technology to support and foster good jobs, national security, international trade and our standard of living,” said Martin.

AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle agreed, citing the association’s 2015 The State of Freight report. He said that there’s a significant and urgent need for more federal investment in enhancing the connections with those ports.

“On the land-side alone, AAPA’s U.S. member ports have identified at least $28.9 billion in needed investments by 2025,” he said. “These necessary road, rail, bridge and tunnel improvements are crucial to enable our seaports to efficiently handle their expected cargo volumes, continue providing dramatic economic and jobs imp acts, and enhance America’s international competitiveness.”

23.1 MILLION: Total jobs generated by port-related activity in 2014, up 74 PERCENT since 2007.

9.8 MILLION: Number of new jobs supported by seaport activity in the past seven years.

$1.5 BILLION: Personal wages and local consumption related to the port-sector.

$53,723: Average annual salary of those directly employed by port-related businesses.

$321.1 BILLION: Increase in federal, state and local tax revenues generated by port-sector and importer/exporter revenues, up 51 PERCENT since 2007.

$1.8 TRILLION: Value of international cargo handled at ports, an increase of $400 BILLION since 2007.

Source: 2014 National Economic Impact of the U.S. Coastal Port System, Martin Associates