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

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


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.



Dr. Jian-yu (Fisher) Ke is an Associate Professor in the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He received his Ph.D. in Supply Chain Management from the University of Maryland, and M.B.A. from Lehigh University. He was a fellow of the Advanced Study Program at M.I.T. Dr. Ke’s recent works were published by Production and Operations Management (listed in Financial Times Top 50 Journals), International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, and Transportation Journal. Dr. Ke’s research interests have focused on national logistics performance, global transportation strategies, global supply chain management, and manufacturing strategies. During 2011 and 2020, Dr. Ke has 12 published research papers. The topics include national logistics performance benchmarking, the innovation competence of third-party logistics service, U.S.–China air services agreements, the impact of fuel costs on manufacturing inventory, and aligning supply chain transportation strategy with industry characteristics. Dr. Ke worked at DHL Taiwan as a research and planning manager for several years. Dr. Ke is the principal investigator on this project.


Dr. Fynnwin Prager is Assistant Professor of Public Administration at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he is Co-Director of the South Bay Economics Institute. Dr. Prager received his Ph.D. in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California, and undertook a post-doctoral appointment at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. Dr. Prager’s relevant academic experiences include: writing a Ph.D. dissertation on climate policy and emissions mitigation; training in and teaching expert elicitation at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, USC (with Detlof von Winterfeldt and Richard John, two prominent scholars in the field); publishing studies related to transportation systems; receiving the METRANS student of the year award; participation as a regular reviewer and editorial board member of Transportation Review Part E; and experience of conducting surveys and a pilot evaluation study of major U.S. CBP trade initiative. Dr. Prager has expertise on the South Bay economy through his role as Co-Director of the South Bay Economic Institute. In this role, Dr. Prager has engaged with local businesses and officials, and presented at the CSUDH Economic Forecast event and other regional events.


Dr. Jose N. Martinez is an Associate Professor of Economics at California State University, Dominguez Hills. His academic research and interests focus on international migration, labor informality, econometrics, and time series forecasting. Dr. Martinez has expertise on the South Bay economy through his role of Co-Director of the South Bay Economics Institute at CSUDH, the CSUDH Economic Forecast, and projects and presentations with Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, World Trade Center Los Angeles, and the SBCCOG.


Chris Cagle is the Regional Affairs Manager for the SBWIB and also serves as the organization's Marketing Director. Additionally, his duties include grant writing, program design and apprenticeship development. Chris has designed an apprenticeship model for engineering as part of a team that became the first to successfully register an Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship occupation in the United States with the U.S. Department of Labor. He also established an online business portal for the region,, which provides user-friendly profiles of each city in the South Bay area. Chris was also instrumental in establishing a workforce office at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, in providing enhanced workforce transition assistance for veterans exiting the military into civilian careers. Chris is frequently a guest speaker on workforce development issues at many community events and was previously a two-term city council member, representing the residents of District 2 in Redondo Beach. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science.

December 2021
Freight Competitiveness
Performance Evaluation Matric
Competitive Position Matrix
Business Process Management



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