Creating Competitive Advantages within the Southern California Logistical Network

On Friday, February 28, 2014, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy held a field hearing in San Diego, California.  The purpose of the hearing was to examine how the Southern California goods movement system impacts the state's global competitiveness and ability to attract high wage jobs in trade-related industry sectors.

During the course of the hearing we had an opportunity to hear from economic development experts, business leaders, and other important stakeholders.  Witnesses discussed how California communities are already significant players within the global economy, and that in the future, much of the state's economic growth will be the result of greater participation within the global economy and the strength of the trade-related industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, and information technologies.

While the state's dominant trade position and strategic location are key assets, several witnesses opinioned that the current state of the region's infrastructure is a challenge.  Studies have shown that Southern California infrastructure hasn't kept pace with the region's significant population growth, nor is it sufficient to meet the structural needs of a modern goods movement network.

One of our most significant examples exists at the land ports of entry in San Diego and Imperial Counties where the delays and congestion are costing jobs, creating environmental problems, and resulting in a physical trade barrier between California and its number one trade partner – Mexico.

As a framework for the hearing's discussions Chair Jose Medina proposed four policy questions:

  • First, what economic opportunities do trade-related industries represent and how can the state support local and regional efforts to capitalize on those advantages?
  • Second, how can the state support local and regional efforts to attract private investments?
  • Third, how can trade corridors be better utilized to link businesses to the state's air, land, and sea ports?
  • Fourth, what actions can the state take to facilitate cross-border commerce and reduce de facto barriers to foreign investment and the international movement of goods?


In addressing the key policy questions, witnesses were asked to comment on the preliminary recommendations in Section V of the Pre-Hearing Report, as well as make their own recommendations.  The 15 recommendations in the Pre-Hearing Report were divided into three key areas of action:

  1. Advocating for Southern California
  2. Expediting Goods Movement
  3. Enhancing Linkages to Global Logistical Networks

Speaker PowerPoints

  • Marek Gootman, The Brookings Institute   
  • Sharon Neely, Southern California Association of Governments
  • Cindy Gompper-Graves, South County Economic Development Corporation 
  • David Labatique, Los Angeles Sea Port  
  • Joel Valenzuela, San Diego Sea Port  
  • Jeff Williamson, California Community College System, Logistical Management Curriculum

Information on Border Infrastructure Upgrades

Presentation by Cindy Gompper-Graves during the hearing (same as above)

Fact Sheet on Otay Mesa Port of Entry Expansion (prepared by SANDAG)

Fact Sheet on Southern California Logistics (perpared by SCAG)

Additional Hearing Resources

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