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County Solutions and Innovation Blog​​
June 26
NACo Releases New Issue Brief for Sustainable Port Operations

​Written by Rob Pressly, NACo Program Manager.
Earlier this week, the National Association of Counties released its latest issue brief, Sustainable Ports: Strategies for Port Development and Operations, as a guide for county leaders to understand the importance of operating ports in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Ports are major drivers of trade and economic activity, with some 360 public commercial ports throughout the U.S. Each year these ports handle more than two billion tons of domestic cargo, and are also responsible for exporting 99.4 percent of all of the country’s goods for international trade. Seaports provide 471,000 direct jobs, support another 543,000 induced jobs from port activities and provide an average annual salary $12,000 higher than the national average. Port activity is expected to grow substantially in the coming years—following the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015, the total amount of cargo transported through U.S. ports in 2020 will grow by more than 50 percent compared to 2001 levels.

While port activities can be an economic boon to counties, it’s important that county and port officials take an active role in minimizing a port’s impact on the natural environment and surrounding communities. Improving rail and highway infrastructure connections to ports, upgrading heavy machinery to run on cleaner burning diesel fuel, reducing impervious surfaces and minimizing noise pollution are all examples of how ports can address issues surrounding air pollution, water quality and community impacts. As an added benefit, many of these strategies can improve efficiency and reduce fuel and operating costs.

To learn more about what steps counties can take to ensure that they minimize their ports’ environmental impact while remaining competitive in local and global commercial activities, download Sustainable Ports: Strategies for Port Development and Operations. Case studies featured in the report highlight strategic efforts undertaken at the Port of New Orleans in Orleans Parish, La., the Port of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and Port Everglades in Broward County, Fla. that are allowing them to remain vibrant hubs of commerce, employment and leisure.


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