The West Coast port range is a major gateway of international waterborne trade between the United States and world areas. The ports located in California, Oregon and Washington provide the key international linkages between the United States consumer, industrial, and agricultural sectors and the world. As international trade has grown, the importance of the West Coast ports, in context of the logistics supply chain, has clearly emerged, particularly with respect to the current unprecedented growth in containerized imports from Asia. Not only does the growing international Trans-Pacific trade provide jobs and economic stimulus in the West Coast region, but these port gateways and the cargo they handle support the industrial, retail, and agricultural sectors throughout the United States. The continued success of these ports is essential to the stability and growth of the entire United States economy, and the West Coast port sector has emerged as a key element in the entire international logistics supply chain.
It is the purpose of this discussion paper to highlight the economic importance of the West Coast port range, both regionally and nationally, to identify the importance of the containerized cargo market served by these ports, and to provide an economic model structure to assess changes in the volume of cargo moving via the West Coast ports due to economic, policy and structural changes including loss of volume to other coastal ranges due to the interruption of the international supply chain due to capacity constraints at West Coast ports.