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Achieving Excellence for California’s Freight System: Developing Competitiveness and Performance Metrics; Incorporating Sustainability, Resilience, and Workforce Development

  • Author(s): Ke, Jian-yu;
  • Prager, Fynnwin;
  • Martinez, Jose;
  • Cagle, Chris
  • et al.

This study explores the question of whether California's freight system is staying competitive with other US regions. A novel analytical framework compares supply chain performance metrics across multiple US states and regions for seaports, airports, highways, freight rail service, and distribution centers by combining the Performance Evaluation Matrix (PEM), Competitive Position Matrix (CPM), and Business Process Management (BPM) approaches. Analysis of industry data and responses from structured interviews with 30 freight industry experts across 5 transportation sectors suggests that California's freight system is competitive for seaports, airports, and freight rail; however, highways and distribution centers have room for improvement with respect to travel time reliability and operation costs, and California should prioritize infrastructure investments here. To stay competitive with the Texas and North East regions, state investments could also expand seaport container terminals and air cargo handling facilities, improve intermodal port connections and management of flows of chassis, container trucks, empty containers to ameliorate cargo backlogs and congestion on highways, at the ports, and at warehouses. The state could also invest in inland ports, transporting goods by rail directly from seaports to the Inland Empire or Central Valley.

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