November 21, 2021

Shipping containers were stacked at Terminal 46 in Seattle as the container ship CMA CGM Gemini waited nearby. Photo by Kirk Moore.

A year after struggling to avoid collapse, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are facing too many good things.

“We bounced back in 2021 and you’ve probably heard about the congestion… or if you’ve looked out the window,” John Wolfe, CEO of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, told the audience at the Marine Economic Forecasts Breakfast of the King County 2021 Friday. , overlooking a crowded Container Terminal 46 in Seattle.

With 53,400 jobs and $ 12.4 billion in economic impact, the twin ports are a pillar of the region’s economy. Now, like other US container ports, they are pressing for a safeguard of imported goods.

“I see that as a good thing,” because most people hadn’t understood how the supply chain worked before, Wolfe suggested.

“One of the reasons, in my opinion, is that the industry has underinvested in infrastructure,” Wolfe said. SOEs are under such pressure to deliver a return on investment to shareholders and reduce costs that distribution systems operating at “optimal” levels have rapidly deteriorated in the face of surging demand and market constraints. offer.

Seattle Terminal 5 – the 185-acre site of a $ 400 million capital investment that will open to container ship arrivals in January 2022 – has been commissioned as a parking lot for 3,000 empty containers in order to reduce overcrowding at other terminals, Wolfe said.

“We are also working with importers to encourage them to pick up their boxes,” he said.

Seattle cruise ship traffic has fallen from an annual trade of $ 900 million to virtually zero for 2020, but is on track to rebound. With grain deliveries and pleasure craft traffic well above average for 2021, and commercial fishing and industrial mooring declining slightly, port activity “is heading in the right direction,” Stephen said. Metruck, Executive Director of the Port of Seattle.

Some $ 378 million in infrastructure planning includes the replacement of pilings, bulkheads and other improvements in port facilities for large commercial fishing vessels, and the development of Terminal 91’s uplands into light industrial space for include fishing support companies, Metruck said.

The conversion of the old fishermen’s supply into a new “maritime innovation center” is expected to be completed in 2024. An undersea cable from Terminal 46 will carry shore power to Pier 66, Metruck said: “This is part of our efforts to decarbonize the waterfront. “

A lower carbon footprint is a selling point for genuine Alaskan pollock producers, and what Karl Bratvold, Managing Partner of Starbound Trawler and Director of GAPP, called “the world’s most climate-friendly protein.”

Bratvold and GAPP CEO Craig Morris recounted their last two years of marketing, when pollock gained more customers as a vital household freezer item during the pandemic.

GAPP’s market research shows that “sustainability” is a highly valued value among US consumers, and its marketing materials now include graphical comparisons of emissions calculated for beef delivery, on the higher end of the line. ‘scale, the Alaskan pollock “that’s about as low as you can get there,” Bratvold said.

“It’s something that we really need to be aware of,” Morris said. The other key part of GAPP’s labeling, wild capture, “means a lot to consumers,” he added.