Ports of Seattle/Tacoma take off the gloves

“Regional cooperation” was gaining traction as a marketing tool for U.S. seaports seeking to aggregate vessel calls in the past. But a recent development suggests that it may have been just so much happy talk.

By ·

“Regional cooperation” was gaining traction as a marketing tool for U.S. seaports seeking to aggregate vessel calls in the past. But a recent development suggests that it may have been just so much happy talk.

When The Grand Alliance – a shipping consortium comprising Hapag-Lloyd, NYK, and OOCL – announced that it plans to move operations from the Port of Seattle to neighboring Tacoma later this year, there came a howl of protest.

“It is important that the business remains in Washington,” said Port of Seattle spokesmen. “Unfortunately, though many of the jobs will be preserved, others may not.  Some who work in the Seattle harbor could see their livelihood impacted severely or in some cases, disappear.”

Lost in this observation, however, is the fact that just three years ago Seattle lured Maersk and CMC-CGM away from Tacoma.

LM readers may also recall that civil and labor unrest at the Port of Seattle has been disruptive of late. With the “occupy movement” staging demonstrations, and the Teamsters organizing efforts, there’s reason to believe that Tacoma represents a safer haven for unfettered terminal operations.

The gloves seem to be off, in any case, as the two Puget Sound ocean cargo gateways focus more of their concentration on competing with one another rather than West Coast rivals.

There is some truth to the fact, however, that Seattle’s seaport infrastructure represents over $1 billion in investment. One might still agree that the best way to ensure that both ports work for the entire state is to recruit new cargo on a regional basis. 

“By trading customers,” Seattle spokesmen point out, “we encourage a downward competitive cycle that endangers our ability to invest in the infrastructure we need to support the import and export trade our state depends on.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Ocean Cargo · Ocean Freight · Trade · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Outsourcing the Indirect Supply Chain
This in-depth whitepaper takes you through the journey that Smith & Nephew - a global research, development and manufacturing company of medical devices and products - underwent when initially looking for a provider to manage their tool cribs and eventually decided on an end-to-end supply chain management firm. Outsourcing white papers, SDI medical device manufacturing
Download Today!
From the July 2016 Issue
While it’s currently a shippers market, the authors of this year’s report contend that we’ve entered a “period of transition” that will usher in a realignment of capacity, lower inventories, economic growth and “moderately higher” rates. It’s time to tighten the ties that bind.
2016 State of Logistics: Third-party logistics
2016 State of Logistics: Ocean freight
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo