April 10, 2014 2:00 PM, EDT
Commission Recommends That Ports of L.A., Long Beach Merge
Tim Rue/Bloomberg News

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., should merge into a super port that would be more competitive with others around the country, according to a report from a citizens commission released this month.

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission report said that the share of the nation’s good handled by the Southern California ports has dropped more than 5 percentage points in the past 10 years.

The two make up the largest port complex in North America. A merger to one port would help generate more jobs and tax revenue, said the commission, formed last year and chaired by Mickey Kantor, who served as U.S. trade representative under President Bill Clinton.

The commission does not hold official power but was formed at the suggestion of the Los Angeles City Council.

In its report, the commission said that the ports boast about new customers but that a closer look at the details on shipping volumes reveals “these customers are just switching” from one port to the other.

“And with the ongoing widening of the Panama Canal, maritime trade is about to get a lot more complex — and competitive,” the report said. “We should be competing with ports in other regions, not with each other.”