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Jon Talton

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

Category: Ports of Seattle and Tacoma
December 3, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Markers for the seaport alliance

Commissioners of the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma are holding town halls to seek public comments on the proposed seaport alliance between the two. For example, one will be held today from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kent City Hall. On Thursday, another will take place at Pacific Lutheran University’s Anderson…

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November 6, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Report shows Port of Seattle’s impact

A new report by Martin and Associates commissioned by the Port of Seattle offers fresh insights into the economic footprint by both the seaport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The report surveyed more than 1,000 port tenants and service providers. Among the highlights: Direct, induced and indirect jobs at the airport increased to 171,796 last year from 138,370…

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Comments | More in Ports of Seattle and Tacoma | Topics: Port economic impact, Port of Seattle

June 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Where are the ports headed?

By my count (and I may be off), Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma commissioners have held three confidential meetings since they received federal permission to share information. I’d love to be a fly on the wall. We know what won’t happen, a consolidation — Tacoma and Pierce County would never allow it. Here are  few…

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May 1, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Tacoma OKs major methanol export operation

Port of Tacoma commissioners today approved a lease for a $1.8 billion plant that would convert natural gas to methanol for export to Asia. Northwest Innovation Works, a joint venture that includes Chinese companies, proposes building it on the site of the former Kaiser Aluminum site. After permitting and environmental and other studies, the plant is…

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April 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM

The box that changed everything for shipping

Port of Seattle commissioners and other maritime officials on Wednesday will mark the 50th anniversary of the port’s first container terminal. It was leased to Sea-Land Service and Seattle became one of the first ports to have a dedicated container facility. This is the way the world’s 10,000-mile supply chain works now, as grippingly explained by…

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November 22, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Maritime, jobs, Eastside outlook and more

I was on the road (in the air, actually) for part of the week, so I need to play some catch up:

• My colleague Coral Garnick reported on the Pacific Marine Expo, including a new report showing that the maritime sectors have a $30 billion economic impact on Washington state. Like aerospace, software and biotech/biomedicine, this is a critical cluster.

Among its components: Passenger water transportation; boat and ship building, repair, and maintenance; maritime logistics and shipping; fishing and seafood products; and maritime support services. It is also a source of well-paying, blue-collar jobs.

It faces formidable risks. Climate change and overfishing threaten the ocean and its bounty. Members of Congress keep trying to weaken the Jones Act, which ensures some ship-building is done in America.

Closer to home, policymakers are not acting to ensure that infrastructure is maintained and built to ensure the viability of these sectors. Toxic competition between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma is not growing overall market share. Let’s not that this cluster for granted.

• Unemployment in metro Seattle and Washington ticked up last month. These reports always contain what economists call “noise,” so one month’s numbers should be approached with caution. Still, as my colleague Amy Martinez wrote, “October’s spike in joblessness, which continues a trend begun in August, suggests hiring has cooled considerably from spring and early summer.”

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Comments | More in Ports of Seattle and Tacoma | Topics: Bellevue Chamber, Eastside economy, Maritime

October 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Northwest ports losing market share

Amid continuing tepid growth in world trade in the Great Recession’s aftermath, the EU crisis and a slowdown in China, the Pacific Northwest saw an overall decline in its market share in the second quarter. A Journal of Commerce report said overall container traffic to North American West Coast ports fell by 2.3 percent compared with the same period in 2012 and overall market share also declined. But the pain was not uniformly felt.

In Los Angeles, container volume fell 9.9. percent, but this was offset by Long Beach’s 10.1 percent growth. This helped keep Southern California dominant in its share, up four tenths of a percentage point to 60.1 percent. Oakland was off 0.2 percent but its share grew slightly to 9.8 percent among the West Coast ports.

The story was different in the Northwest. The Port of Tacoma saw its container volume leap 34.3 percent, the best showing among the group surveyed. Unfortunately, most of this came as a result of the Grand Alliance and Hamburg Sud lines moving from the Port of Seattle, where traffic plummeted 28.8 percent, the biggest loss seen that quarter. Portland dropped 13.8 percent. Thus, the Northwest overall fell to 11.7 percent market share from 12.1 percent in the second quarter of 2012 and 12.4 percent in 2011. Share in Vancouver and Prince Rupert grew to 13.8 percent vs. 13.4 percent in 2012 and 12.6 percent in 2011.

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July 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Cruise industry brings big footprint ashore here

A new report from the Cruise Lines International Association says that the state posted a record $764 million in direct spending and cruise-industry employment of 19,000 last year. That ranked Washington sixth among the states in cruise industry economic impact. Seattle was the eighth-largest cruise port in the United States with 464,000 passengers embarking,…

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Comments | More in Ports of Seattle and Tacoma | Topics: Cruise industry, Port of Seattle, Seattle economy

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