Dramatic hike in US ports' economic impact

AAPA US member ports The total economic value that US coastal ports provide accounted for nearly 26% of the nation’s US$20.5tn economy in 2018. Credit: www.aapa-ports.org

The total economic value that US coastal ports provide, in terms of revenue to businesses, personal income and economic output by exporters and importers, has risen 17% in the last five years, from $4.6tr to $5.4tr.

This accounted for nearly 26% of the nation’s $20.5tr economy in 2018, which is the same 26% ratio as five years ago when the total US GDP was $17.4tr, found Martin Associates’ 2018 National Economic Impact of the U.S. Coastal Port System study. Additionally, between 2014 and 2018, the total number of jobs supported by cargo moving through America’s deep-draft ports increased by more than a third, from 23.1m jobs to 30.8m.

“The growth in jobs and economic value of America’s ports reflects their handling an additional 165m tons of international cargo since 2014,” said Dr John Martin, Martin Associates’ president and founder.

Valuable sector

There are 2.2m direct, induced and indirect jobs in the US that are generated by the US coastal port sector. Of the 2.2m jobs, 652,078 jobs are directly generated by the marine cargo and vessel activity, stated the report, prepared for the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).

Federal, state and local tax revenues generated by port sector and importer/exporter revenues rose nearly 18%, from $321.1bn to $378.1bn, found the report.

Personal wages and local consumption related to the port sector increased by more than a quarter, from $1.1tr to $1.4tr, and the average annual salary of those directly employed by port-related businesses rose from $53,723 to $62,800, a 17% increase.

AAPA president and chief executive Kurt Nagle noted that, particularly with the economic contributions of America’s seaports growing rapidly, there is a significant and urgent need for more federal investment in enhancing the connections with those ports.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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