Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tacoma Port CEO: Puget Sound Collaboration Vital

By Mark Edward Nero

Port of Tacoma CEO John Wolfe said this week that cooperation between the seaports in Seattle and Tacoma in the future will be vital to the continued success of maritime industry in Puget Sound.

“When our customers look at the Puget Sound gateway, they look at it as a single gateway, and yet we’ve been competing, sometimes in healthy ways, sometimes arguably in unhealthy ways, with our friends at the Port of Seattle,” Wolfe said. “We need to step up beyond that. It doesn’t serve our customers very well when we’re driving down rates and service. It’s not a sustainable model.”

His comments came Sept. 22 during the 2014 Intermodal Association of North America Expo, which took place this week in Long Beach, California. Wolfe was referring to ongoing talks between Seattle and Tacoma on sharing agreements.

In January 2014, the Seattle and Tacoma ports, which sit 30 miles apart, reached an agreement to share information about operations, facilities and rates in order to help Puget Sound better compete in the global maritime industry.

“I’m not at liberty to share all of the details yet; I would say that we’re making progress in terms of some unique collaborative efforts that we are hopefully going to be able to share with the public in the very near term, and I think will be beneficial to those who choose to do business within our gateway,” Wolfe said this week.

He also hinted that the process hasn’t been particularly smooth or easy.

“It certainly is challenging when you have parochial views that have lasted for many years,” he said. “But there is motivation at both ports, within the leadership there, to get something done.”