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
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...