Outsourcing Our Ports

Much to the dismay of many, the U.S. has outsourced much of its manufacturing capabilities to other countries.  Now we have the possibility of outsourcing something that many didn’t think could be: a seaport:

Planned to be larger, cheaper and more efficient than Long Beach-Los Angeles, America’s busiest seaport, Puerto Colonet (south of San Diego, in Mexico) seeks to provide an alternative gateway to the United States for the growing volume of cargo arriving from manufacturing bases in Asia.

It’s also, for now, just a dream.

Still needed is about $4 billion of private capital, construction of community and infrastructure to support the port complex and agreements from various transportation and trade-related entities like railroads, marine terminal operators and ocean carriers.

But the project has cleared several important hurdles, including a $1 billion commitment from the Mexican government, political support from national, regional and local bureaucracy and the resolution of important and often complicated land-use issues.

Plus, there’s growing interest from shippers and retailers concerned about growing costs associated with seaports in California and elsewhere.

California has succeeded in running off a good deal of heavy industry and the infrastructure to go with it through its extensive regulatory structure, including the offshore oil industry.  Is this next?

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