The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) 2014 Maritime Economic Development Workshop, hosted by the Port of San Diego, drew nearly 80 economic development professionals from the port community and three of AAPA's four geographic delegations (the United States, Canada and the Caribbean) to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel on February 20 and 21, 2014.
Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Bob Nelson welcomed the group, and was presented with a commemorative plaque for hosting the event by Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and CEO.
Chairman Nelson said that the conference couldn't have come at a better time. "Our nation is emerging from a prolonged economic slump. With growth in cargo ship calls and cruise passenger counts, the national port system is leading our economic recovery, now and going forward," he said.
From the workshop site, participants were able to watch Dole cargo operations at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, and see the San Diego Convention Center, cruise terminals and waterfront hotels.
"Today, seaports support 13 million U.S. jobs, which account for $650 billion in personal income. That means 13 million important reasons to support a vigorous national strategy for America's system of Ports," Nelson said. "Collectively, AAPA members face many common challenges such as the cost of maritime infrastructure. Yet each port has unique attributes and makes a unique contribution to our national economy. If we are to realize our full potential, America needs a national strategy to synergize our unique strengths, building on our diverse natures for the common good of global trade and the people of our nation."
The Port of San Diego's waterfront business activity puts more than 57,000 people to work through direct, indirect and induced jobs; equaling $7.48 billion in annual economic impact.
"Looking out at the Port of San Diego, you can see how this port is an economic case study on how ports can economically develop a region and grow jobs," said Nagle.
Attendees heard from panelists about how the Port of San Diego approaches economic development challenges by working with representative government agencies on policy reform, marine terminal improvements and the development of intermodal transportation infrastructure.
Official speakers included Congressman Scott Peters, U.S. House of Representatives, California District 52; Mark Kersey, City of San Diego council member, District 5; Gary Gallegos, executive director, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG); and Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional.
Economic Development Corporation.
Speakers discussed port development, how to implement and fund transportation infrastructure projects to increase port capacities to handle a growing volume of goods, and the importance of increasing export cargoes to improve the U.S. economy.
There were sessions about export development, what cargo shippers look for in a port-of-call, problem-solving on multiple case studies of big infrastructure developments, supply chain logistics optimization and measuring the effectiveness of port promotions and sponsorships.