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News Release
FOR RELEASE - March 8, 2016
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (202) 792-4033

Roundtable Underscores Importance of 21st Century U.S. Ports To Drive Job Growth

Meeting with Secretaries Foxx, Pritzker & Perez focuses on improving port-related infrastructure, technology/data & workforce opportunities

At a meeting yesterday in Baltimore, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, together with leaders from ports, labor, and shipping and retail companies from around the country, came together to find ways the federal government and the freight industry can work collaboratively to build 21st century ports – and lay the foundations for sustained long-term growth.

Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the recognized and unified voice of the seaport industry – said:

“AAPA applauds President Obama and Secretaries Foxx, Pritzker and Perez for convening this informative Roundtable on 21st Ports. The meeting recognized the vital importance of America’s seaports, as well as the landside and waterside connections that serve as critical links to our nation’s freight network and to our competitiveness in the global economy.

International trade now accounts for fully 30 percent of the U.S. economy. To compete in global markets, America needs an efficient and modern 21st century freight transportation system.

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 was pegged at $4.6 trillion in 2014. This accounted for more than a quarter of the nation’s $17.4 trillion economy, with port activities supporting 23.1 million jobs and generating $321.1 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

U.S. port authorities and their private-sector partners are investing heavily into port facilities. They're planning to spend more than $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years. The 2014 WRRDA (Water Resources Reform and Development Act) and 2015 FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act were significant steps by the federal government to recognize the correlation between improving freight transportation and improving the economy. But we need to continue to raise funding levels for freight-related projects to enhance the vital connections with America’s ports.

We commend the Roundtable on 21st Century Ports as laying the foundation to further advance initiatives underway across the country to optimize the supply chain and increase cargo handing efficiencies. We look forward to continue working with Administration and Congress to strengthen collaboration and partnerships to grow the economy, create good paying jobs, and enhance America's international competitiveness.”

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