Regulatory Impacts and Infrastructure Needs to Improve the Efficiency of California Marine Ports

Research Team: Stephen Ritchie (lead) and Craig Rindt

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Goods movement is integral to the economy of California. However, California does not exist in a vacuum: its ports and economy compete nationally and internationally for the economic benefits that are brought through trade. Issues of throughput and mobility can create a competitive disadvantage for our state and we could lose business to our neighbors. As such, it is critical that we understand how to remove barriers to goods movement transportation and delivery, while making the system safer and lessening the impact on the travelling public and our communities. The wide range of academic, agency, and consultant work in this area means that there is a broad literature addressing these questions, but there is no recent comprehensive review that integrates a synthesis of regulatory impacts with potential operational and infrastructure improvements along with a summary of existing methods for assessing these strategies.

Project Description: This project will involve three main tasks. The first task will compile an inventory and evaluation of state and federal environmental, safety, and labor regulations that impact port freight and goods movement in California, with an emphasis on cumulative effects of regulation on the port freight sector’s economic competitiveness and workforce. These findings will provide the necessary context for the second task, which will conduct an evaluation of cost-effective port-related infrastructure investments and operational strategies that have been proposed or implemented by California’s ports and governing agencies to improve the efficiency of freight movement while also reducing environmental and health impacts in California. These potential improvements will be analyzed in the context of an evaluation of global best practices in increasing throughput at marine ports, including both infrastructure- and logistics-based solutions, with recommendations on actions that state, regional, and local agencies can take to increase throughput. Finally, the third task will review how improvements to California’s ports are assessed and planned, with a focus on the modeling and project selection process in California.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $50,000