The Port of San Francisco is an important hub for US exports to Asia, and its new ties to Manila will further grow its significance. Image: Port of San Francisco

Full Steam Ahead! The Philippines and San Francisco Establish a Sister Port Partnership


On June 17th, the Philippines Port Authority (PPA) and Port of San Francisco Commission (PSC) established a sister relationship between their respective ports. According to PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana, the sister port agreement should be completed by this November. Under this agreement, the PPA and PSC will share best practices on port building, port management, port safety, information technology, and cruise tourism.

The agreement will work towards increasing trade and business opportunities between California and the Philippines. In 2012, 43 percent of all of California’s exported goods were sent to Asia and 28 percent of services were sent in 2011. Expanding the connections from one of its most important deep-water ports to the Philippines will only serve to increase these trade profiles in the years to come.

San Francisco, which makes up all of California’s 12th congressional district and a fair amount of the 14th district, stands to benefit substantially from the new partnership. With a sister city partnership already well-established with Manila, San Francisco enjoys a special relationship with the Philippines. Seen as “America’s gateway to East Asia,” San Francisco provides a wide variety of services that would increase the global profile of the Philippines’ ports. It is for this reason that San Francisco was the PPA’s next port of call after Manila signed similar sister port programs with China’s Guangzhou Port Authority in 2004 and Incheon, South Korea in 2011. In looking to improve its own ports, the Philippines is hoping to gain the experience and expertise that has earned American ports the high reputation they have the world over.

Sarah Batiuk is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington.