February 11, 2019
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Port of Seattle finds partner to bring massive next-generation cargo ships to Terminal 5

The Northwest Seaport Alliance unveiled a plan last week that would see super-large freighters docking at Terminal 5 near West Seattle. A tentative deal with Seattle-based Stevedoring Services of America Terminals (SSAT) would see the firm managing the "big ship" loading facility near Harbor Island.

The proposal would allow the Puget Sound cargo gateway to handle more of the super-large freighters that are reshaping global trade, according to The Seattle Times.

The mega-ships can handle 18,000 or more 20-foot containers. That's nearly twice as many as can be carried on many of the vessels that currently visit West Coast ports. By lowering shipping costs, these huge ships save money for manufacturers, farmers and consumers -- but have also created intense competition among West Coast ports.

That has meant a strong rivalry between Seattle-Tacoma and expanding Canadian ports at Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

“We’re seeing modest growth [in container volumes], but we’re losing market share,” John Wolfe, the alliance’s chief executive officer, said during a Tuesday briefing to Port commissioners. “We need to find a way to turn that trend.”

The ports will vote on the deal Feb. 26. The costs, risks and potential rewards are high, both for the public ports and for their private partners.

The Seattle Times editorial board said the project is important for Seattle and the region -- in large part because of the immense impact of shipping and global trade. The 20,100 jobs directly supported by the ports carry an average salary of $95,000, according to the Port of Seattle. Statewide, this activity supports 58,400 jobs.

"Even as Seattle becomes more tech centric, it must continue supporting its maritime sector, which provides tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunity across the state," The Seattle Times Editorial Board wrote. "This will restore Terminal 5 to its highest and best use as a world-class cargo facility, extend Seattle’s maritime heritage and reaffirm its role as the portal to the Pacific."

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Restrictive Scheduling
State Revenue Is Growing

Legislative session focused on spending, taxes

By AWB President Kris Johnson

The 66th Legislature convened Jan. 14 and is slated to end on April 28. During that time, the top job for lawmakers is to craft the state's two-year operating budget.

The good news is they have record tax collections to work with -- more than $50 billion for the 2019-2021 budget cycle.

To put that into perspective, in 2011-2013 the state collected $31.3 billion in tax revenue.

This revenue growth was illustrated in a large display last fall at the Association of Washington Business's annual Policy Summit. The tallest of the revenue lines was over 6-feet tall. That was the projection for 2021-2023, when state coffers are expected to take in more than $53 billion. At the other end of the chart, the line showing was just over three-and-a-half feet tall...

Read the full guest column in The Wenatchee World
Investing in Green Infrastructure

LNG fuel is just one way the Port of Tacoma's getting cleaner

By Don Meyer and John McCarthy, Port of Tacoma commissioners

The Port of Tacoma has a long history and culture of innovation, shared by our customers and partners.

Three years ago, TOTE Maritime, a port customer for 42 years, began the process to become one of the first shipping lines to run its ships on liquefied natural gas (LNG), a much cleaner burning fuel than traditional bunker diesel.

Is LNG a perfect solution? No, but TOTE's vision and initiative should be celebrated. We can see these benefits immediately by moving toward LNG now and keeping our trade moving, not waiting for the next technology to be invented.

Our plan to open an LNG plant on the Tideflats in the next few years will give us a competitive advantage and increase safety by not having to transfer the fuel via truck...

Don Meyer of Spanaway was elected to his third term on the five-member Port of Tacoma Commission in 2017. John McCarthy of Northeast Tacoma was elected at the same time after previously serving on the commission from 1983-92.

Read the full guest column in The News Tribune
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