Study: California Ports a Major Economic Generator for U.S.

A cargo ship docked at the Port of Los Angeles’ Everport Container Terminal. File photo by Mark Nero.

Ports in California account for billions in tax revenue and millions of jobs in the United States, according to a new study prepared by Washington-based consulting firm BST Associates.

The study was first shared with state lawmakers in February for Ports Day 2023, a yearly day of advocacy for the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA).

According to the study, California ports generated $416 billion in trade value in 2020, $38.1 billion in tax revenue, and an estimated 3.1 million jobs, including over 800,000 export-related jobs and close to 2.3 million import-related jobs.

These jobs, according to the study, create worker income of roughly almost $134 billion, including $42.2 billion related to exports and $91.8 billion related to imports.

“Each year, California ports are moving billions of dollars in trade revenue, creating millions of good paying jobs and connecting our nation to invaluable resources across the globe,” CAPA President and Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan said.

“Our state must continue to prioritize investments in infrastructure across the California supply chain to help this vital economic ecosystem thrive,” he added.

California’s 11 major seaports move 38% of the nation’s containerized imports and 28% of all exports.

By Karen Robes Meeks