Regional Resource: Southern Ports- Gateways to the World

Ports have been an integral part of global commerce for millennia. From the Phoenicians to the Egyptians and later to the Romans in the ancient West to the Srivijaya control of the Strait of Malacca in the 7th Century to the Age of Exploration represented by the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and British empires of the 15th through 17th centuries, to our modern-day global system of commerce, waterborne trade has been a constant companion to humanity throughout its recorded history.

Technology has changed in that period, but the premise remains the same: take an item of value, place it on a floating vessel, move the vessel to a new market, and sell the item of value. Maritime commerce has evolved from small vessels capable of carrying only a few people and a small amount of cargo to the Evergreen A Class ships capable of carrying almost 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo.

This CSG South Regional Resource will assess and analyze ports in the CSG South states, ranging from
deep water seaports like the Port of Houston (Texas) to river ports like Paducah-McCracken Riverport (Kentucky) or Inland Port Greer (South Carolina). Each of these ports plays a critical role in the economic development of the region, as well as the ability to move goods from abroad to our fellow Americans further inland. This report reviews the basics of port types and governance models, and provides an overview of the maritime trade, illustrating how policies in one state can impact the system as well as the region’s economic development.

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