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News Release
FOR RELEASE - March 20, 2019
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 684-5700

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

New U.S. Port Economic Impacts Report Released

Since last nationwide analysis of 2014 data, U.S. seaport contributions to economy up dramatically

Lancaster, Pa.-based Martin Associates, a leading provider of economic and strategic assessments of the world’s transportation systems, today released the results of its latest economic impact study of United States seaports. Dr. John Martin, Martin Associates’ president and founder, debuted his firm’s 2018 National Economic Impact of the U.S. Coastal Port System report during the second day of the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) 2019 Spring Conference in Washington, D.C.

In the five years since Martin Associates’ last nationwide ports economic impact study, the contributions of America’s seaports to the nation’s economy have risen dramatically. For example, between 2014 and 2018, the total number of jobs supported by cargo moving through the America’s deep-draft ports increased by more than one-third … from 23.1 million jobs to 30.8 million.  Also, 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 17 percent … from $4.6 trillion to $5.4 trillion. This accounted for nearly 26 percent of the nation’s $20.5 trillion economy in 2018, which is the same 26 percent ratio as five years ago when the total U.S. GDP was $17.4 trillion. This is an indicator that the value of cargo activities at U.S. ports remains a key factor in America’s economic vitality.

Other notable gains since 2014 in Martin Associates’ new report include: 

* Federal, state and local tax revenues generated by port-sector and importer/exporter revenues rose nearly 18 percent … from $321.1 billion to $378.1 billion;

* Personal wages and local consumption related to the port-sector increased by more than a quarter … from $1.1 trillion to $1.4 trillion, and;

* The average annual salary of those directly employed by port-related businesses rose from $53,723 to $62,800 … a 17 percent increase.

“The sizable growth over the past five years in the number of jobs that American deep-draft ports support, the wages those jobs pay, and the tax revenues that are collected from the cargo activities at these ports is really quite impressive. It’s a testament to overall economic importance of our nation’s seaports,” said Dr. Martin. “The growth in jobs and economic value of America’s ports reflects their handling an additional 165 million tons of international cargo since 2014. It also underscores the importance of both the public and private sectors continuing to invest in port and intermodal infrastructure to support and foster good jobs, national security, inter­national trade and the United States’ unparalleled standard of living.”

Agreeing with Dr. Martin’s assessment, AAPA President and CEO Kurt Nagle noted that, particularly with the economic contributions of America’s seaports growing rapidly, there’s a significant and urgent need for more federal investment in enhancing the connections with those ports. He said, “On both the land-side and water-side, AAPA’s U.S. member ports have identified a combined $66 billion in needed investments over the next decade. These necessary federal channel, terminal, 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 impacts, and enhance America’s international competitiveness.”

About Martin Associates
Martin Associates (John C. Martin Associates, LLC; was founded in 1986 to provide economic, market analysis, feasibility studies, economic impact assessment and strategic planning studies to the port and maritime industry. Martin Associates is a leading, internationally-recognized economic and transportation consulting firm. It has conducted more than 900 economic and planning studies for nearly every port in the United States, as well as ports in China, Europe, Ireland, South America and the Caribbean. Martin Associates also provides consulting services to numerous global terminal operators and investment groups with respect to private sector development, as well as identification of ports in which to establish terminal operations, and is deeply involved in the development of private public partnerships (P3s) for marine terminal development. Martin Associates also provides economic studies to many of the leading airports in the United States.

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports. According to IHS Markit’s World Trade Service, combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere ports in 2017 totaled 4.303 billion metric tons in volume and US$2.675 trillion in value. Of that total, ports in Central and South America handled 1.741 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.024 trillion, while North American ports handled 1.90 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.305 trillion. To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:

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