Port Profile: The Northwest Seaport Alliance

Posted by Chris Leslie


In August of 2015, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma unified to create the Northwest Seaport Alliance; a first of its kind in North America. Under a newly unified management of each port’s marine cargo facilities, the Northwest Seaport Alliance looks to attract more marine cargo and increase job growth for the region through strengthening the Puget Sound gateway.In 2013, the ports in Tacoma and Seattle:

  • Supported more than 48,000 jobs

  • Generated nearly $4.3 billion in inter-local economic activity

  • Made $379 million in state and local taxes

The structure of the new Northwest Seaport Alliance is as follows: The Alliance is a port development authority governed by the two ports (Seattle and Tacoma) as equal members. Each of the five counties that currently make use of either port (including King and Pierce counties) ellect all 5 on each commission.

Third Largest Container Gateway

The Northwest Seaport Alliance now offers shorter U.S.-to-Asia transits, as well as a deep connection to Alaska and Hawaii. They are the third-largest gateway for containerized cargo shipping between the U.S and Asia. Such concentration also makes them a major distribution point for the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and the East Coast. As a major transporter of bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles, and trucks, the Northwest Seaport Alliance makes a connection to the high-volume distribution centers of the West Coast.

Approved Budget for Big Ships

The Federal Marine Commission approved the alliance in July of 2015. Soon after, the port’s commissioners revealed their budget for both ports. The project is expected to cost an estimated $800 million and $1 billion to equip themselves with the infrastructure required for next-generation shipping and vessels.

The motivation for the alliance stems from the growing need for deeper waterways and expanded facilities to support larger volume and increase logistical efficiency.

Benefits don’t limit themselves to international routes either. The Puget Sound also acts as a major gateway to Alaska. With more than 80% of the total trade between Alaska and the Lower 48 traveling through the North and South Harbors, trade with our northernmost state totaled $5.4 billion in 2015 alone. Compared to U.S. international partners, the state ranks fourth in trade volume.

Many of our PortVision users take advantage of real-time AIS-based vessel tracking to monitor vessels and transits in this busy regions.  PortVision supports both real-time operations and historical reporting and analysis in the Pacific Northwest and in other busy port regions around the globe.

PortVision 360 AIS Vessel Tracking

Posted on Jan 5, 2016, 5:07:00 AM

Topics: Blog, Supertankers, AIS