44 INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE Knowledge of the port industry and/or the Port of Long Beach Southern California’s twin ports make up the nation’s biggest cargo container hub, but there’s increasing competition from foreign and domestic harbors. “The days of Long Beach and Los Angeles ports being one big river for trade, with just trickles for everyone else, are over. Now you have as many as seven contenders vying for the same business and each one of them has very big plans,” according to Asaf Ashar, a professor at the National Ports and Waterways Institute in Washington. A major competitive concern comes from new competition in Canada and Mexico, not to mention U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast that have elbowed their way past small West Coast ports. “In 2000, the playing field was very different. Five of the world’s 10 busiest ports were in the U.S. and Europe. Long Beach and Los Angeles ranked eighth and seventh, respectively. “Back then Vancouver was only the 13th ranked port in North America and not even Canada’s largest. Savannah’s port was smaller than Vancouver’s. Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, both on Mexico’s West Coast, had very little traffic. The Port at Prince Rupert, in upper British Columbia, wouldn’t open for seven more years. “Today, seven of the world’s busiest ports are in China. Long Beach and Los Angeles rank 17th and 16th . The change reflects not only china’s emergence as the dominant manufacturing economy, but also the way U.S. retailers and the shipping lines that carry their products are spreading their business around, according to the Los Angeles Times, “LA, Long Beach Ports Fight to Stay Dominant”. “Retailers have diversified the ports they use, forging a “four corners” strategy that also includes harbors in Canada, the Gulf Coast and the East Coast”, according to John Husing, an independent economist who tracks the effect of international trade on the Inland Empire, home to one of the nation’s largest warehouse and distribution hubs for import cargo. “That has meant more cargo to places like Vancouver, Houston and Savannah,” said Husing. The economic upturn. As one of the busiest seaports in the world, the Port of Long Beach generates more than $47 billion in direct and indirect business each year. [ ]