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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 3, 2012 at 9:30 AM

More competition for Puget Sound ports

You know how Canada’s aggressive infrastructure investment in Prince Rupert represents a clear and present danger to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. It’s the shortest sailing distance to Asia and has a rail corridor straight to the American Midwest. There’s the wider Panama Canal coming, as well as a wider Suez. Now Mexico: Last week the west-coast port at Lazaro Cardenas moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

According to the Journal of Commerce:

APM Terminals won the right to build and operate a deepwater container terminal at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas, a $900 million project central to the Mexican port’s bid to compete for U.S. international shipments. The company said in its announcement Thursday it will undertake a phased plan to design, finance and build an expansive facility, with the first phase to open in the first quarter of 2015 on 106 acres and including two berths.

This is a small step at a remote port. But Lazaro Cardenas has a direct connection to Chicago with the Kansas City Southern railroad. And many enterprises have floundered by a thousand small cuts rather than a single blow. It’s a reminder that Washington state needs to get more serious about infrastructure, especially rail, and to be mindful of costs and maintaining and deepening relationships with shippers.

This will be the decade of new competition for our ports. The question is whether we will be ready.

And Don’t Miss: Understanding debt || Paul Krugman/NYT

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Carrier goes boom

From one of Iran’s missiles

There goes your rally

Comments | More in Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Trade

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