Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 8:02 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Seattle port commissioners tour Tacoma, talk peace

Tacoma and Seattle ports successfully sought antitrust immunity from the Federal Maritime Commission to begin those talks and information sharing as they moved to halt the erosion of their North American market share.


The News Tribune

advertising

TACOMA — Two Seattle Port commissioners Friday toured Port of Tacoma facilities as guests of the Port of Tacoma Commission as the two traditionally rival ports begin efforts to attract new business to both Puget Sound ports.

The tour was the fourth meeting between Tacoma Port Commissioners Clare Petrich and Don Meyer and Seattle Port Commissioners Stephanie Bowman and Tom Albro since the two ports agreed to share information about their finances and business strategies.

Tacoma and Seattle ports successfully sought antitrust immunity from the Federal Maritime Commission last month to begin those talks and information sharing as they moved to halt the erosion of their North American market share.

As the trans-Pacific cargo business grew by 2 to 3 percent this year, Puget Sound’s two largest ports lost 4 to 5 percent of their market share to other East and West Coast American and Canadian ports, Port of Tacoma Chief Executive John Wolfe said Friday.

“This is not a sustainable model,” said Wolfe.

The commissioners’ meeting came the same week a consultant’s report obtained by KING 5 said that the Port of Seattle’s maritime container facilities were operating at just 38 percent of capacity in 2013.

The report was written by Kirkland-based Mercator International for a terminal operator.

The Port of Tacoma saw its container traffic rise rapidly last year, mostly as a result of a shift by a container shipping consortium, the Grand Alliance, from the Port of Seattle to the Port of Tacoma.

Now the two ports have hired a consultant to study the two ports’ finances and operations and to make recommendations about how they could collectively become more competitive.

The two ports have been rivals for decades, stealing each other’s customers from time to time, but seldom generating larger volumes by attracting new traffic from outside the region.

Wolfe said that the region needs to redouble its efforts to make cargo handling more efficient and timely if it is to grow its market share.

Shipping lines in recent times have been consolidating their unprofitable operations to share cargo and to eliminate duplication of efforts.

Those consolidations plus the entry of more efficient larger ships into the trans-Pacific trade has resulted in shipping lines concentrating calls on fewer ports able to handle the larger ships.

New competition from both Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C., in Canada has also caused cargo diversions from Puget Sound ports.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Free Shipping!

Free Shipping!

Do some holiday shopping in The Seattle Times Store until Monday, 12/1 and your order qualifies for free shipping.

Advertising

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►