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Oregon Ports – Poised for Job Growth

Oregon’s ports have been challenged to transition from timber and fishing resource-based economies to a more diversified economic profile.

U.S. ports are responsible for more than 13.3 million jobs, including nearly 12 million people employed in export/import-related businesses and support industries throughout the country as of 2007, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. The economic impact of our ports is huge: in that year alone, commercial port activities contributed approximately $3.15 trillion overall to the U.S. economy, and those businesses paid nearly $212.5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

Global trade continues to increase, with ports worldwide building and enhancing infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace. As recently as 2005, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the United States number one in infrastructure competitiveness. However, WEF’s 2012 to 2013 competitive index now has the U.S.’s infrastructure competitiveness ranked 14th, while neighboring Canada is ranked 13th, and China has quickly risen to 48th.

In addition, the recent global economic downturn has meant fewer funds from federal sources to help U.S. ports do the same. To maintain a competitive edge and relevance in today’s economy, the state of Oregon provides a model for other U.S. states by making funds available for their ports to complete Strategic Business Plans that identify project and policies to help capture their market opportunities.

What do Strategic Business Plans accomplish? In addition to setting vision, policy, management, capital facilities, finance, market, and environmental policies for ports, these plans are now required to make projects eligible for state funding from Business Oregon (Oregon Business Development Commission).

For more information on the Oregon ports’ response to the State’s Strategic Business Plans requirements, download BergerABAM’s Scott Keillor’s article in Oregon Planners’ Journal here.