While Nero fiddled...

We wanted to share with you some interesting articles about the competition between ports that have appeared in the press recently.

The first, appearing in Pacific Maritime Online, reports that Port Metro Vancouver is investigating design options to expand its Centerm container terminal to help address an anticipated shortfall in future container capacity.

"Forecasts have shown that container traffic on Canada’s West Coast is expected to double over the next 10 to 15 years. The port says that even with new capacity at its Deltaport terminal and planned expansion in Prince Rupert, the ability to accommodate more containers on the west coast of Canada still needs to increase by the early 2020s.​"

In the meantime, the Seattle Times​ and King 5 news report that the Port of Seattle recently announced plans to close one of its marine terminals in the face of cargo losses in Washington state. This loss of cargo, more importantly, means a loss of jobs.

Why are Canadian ports doing so well while Washington's container ports struggle for business? 

Cargo routing decisions are complicated, with shippers considering many factors when selecting a port-of-call. However, one thing that nearly everyone in the shipping industry agrees helps Canadian ports is their government's continued investment in rail and road infrastructure.

Ports are doing all they can to ensure their marine terminals remain efficient and competitive, but those efforts go to waste when cargo can't even get to the docks because it is stuck in traffic on our local roads.

What can state lawmakers do to reverse this trend of port expansion in Canada and layoffs in Puget Sound?

A good first step is passage of a statewide transportation package that funds critical freight projects like SR 167 in Pierce County and SR 509 in King County. Otherwise, Washington may continue to watch the maritime sector bleed jobs while Canada grows at our expense.