"Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam has only been in office a year but he has represented his City with distinction for a long time. I first met him over a year ago, when the Dutch ambassador brought him to my office and told me that he (Aboutaleb) would be the next Mayor of Rotterdam."
Today, we spoke of our roles as mayors of large port cities and the importance of representing our cities abroad. Mayor Aboutaleb takes several trade missions each year. His goals are similar to mine -expand the local economy through an influx of foreign business investment.
In addition to being primary trade portals for Europe and America, Rotterdam and Los Angeles share another distinction - they are both pioneering leaders in port emissions reductions. During our meeting, Mayor Aboutaleb invited me to go to Rotterdam to further discuss our collective efforts to fight climate change and air pollution through our port's clean air initatives and I invited him to visit the Port of LA to do the same. The more we can get our story out there, the faster other countries, cities, and utilities can incorporate the best pracitices that are being developed in our ports.
And as proud as I am about our environmental progress at the Port, our environmental leadership has as much to do with remaining competitive against other ports. We know that we must be green to grow, and we must grow to be green. This is a lesson well understood by AP-Moller Maersk, who embraced the low carbon fuel standard in 2006.
I also visited Maersk today and we had good discussions about the clean truck program and their future at the port. As LA's largest tenant, the fortunes of Maersk strongly influence the well-being of the port. We must address our environmental challenges, but not at the expense of our competitiveness. I expressed this to Maersk, as well as our commitment to keeping them prosperous tenants of the Port of Los Angeles. Just last week, the port board approved a Customer Benefits Package that will assist customers, like Maersk, through this economic downturn.
Follow Antonio Villaraigosa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LAMayorsOffice