Could the New Seaport Alliance Go Beyond Ports?

At a joint meeting on Tuesday, the ports of Tacoma and Seattle agreed to enter into a partnership in which many operating decisions for shipping traffic will be made jointly. Although both ports will retain their own commissions, the new Seaport Alliance will have them operating as partners - quite a change for the long-time rivals.

A recent Business Examiner article explores the relationship in a little more detail, and finds a fair amount of optimism for Tacoma in the new partnership. The alliance will be a 50-50 partnership, but Port of Tacoma CEO, John Wolfe, will take the lead, increasing Tacoma's profile, and Tacoma's port has more room for future growth than the Port of Seattle.

City of Tacoma officials are also looking at the partnership as an opportunity for regional cooperation that unites the Puget Sound economy beyond port traffic. The BE article quotes City of Tacoma Economic Development Director Ricardo Noguera on the possibilities.

“We really do view Seattle as a partner and we can work together as a team,” he said. “I want to take that ‘team’ beyond just the ports. If we can really work as a region as they do in California — in Silicon Valley, which goes well beyond Santa Clara County and goes into Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo counties — I think there’s an opportunity here to use the partnership between the two ports to spread that partnership to other sectors. Think high tech and biotech … I think we can take that growth and spread it from King County to other counties, like Pierce and Thurston counties.”

Could the brand new Seaport Alliance be the beginning of the end for Tacoma-Seattle tensions?

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