Monday, November 02, 2009

BC's ports an election issue in Washington state

Washington states' election season has arrived, with any number of would be Commissioners, Mayors, Sheriffs and perhaps even dog catchers offering up an opinion on what might make Seattle, Tacoma and other Washington communities better places to live and more competitive for industry.

Not surprisingly, the erosion of shipments through the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have become key talking points in the upcoming election, many candidates for different offices are calling for more funding for infrastructure to better compete on the world stage.
A few have taken a peek above the border into British Columbia and noticed our province's growing presence on the international trade stage and suggest that the time has come to take back from Canada some of that shifting trade.

To put into context for Washington state residents just what kind of changes have taken place, the Seattle Post Intelligencer offered up this snap shot of Prince Rupert's toe hold on international trade, something that apparently is going to come as a surprise to a number of Washington residents.

If you think of Prince Rupert as a fish processing port, or remember the Alaska ferry Malaspina being briefly blockaded a decade ago, go up and take a look at its recent $170 million expansion into an intermodal container shipping terminal. Or get out a map, which will explain "The Prince Rupert Pitch." Prince Rupert is 4,642 miles from Shanghai. Seattle and Tacoma are 5,101 miles distant, with Los Angeles 5,810 miles away. Turnaround time is money in trans-Pacific shipping.

The debate in Washington state is turning its focus now on how better to improve their facilities, how much they decide to spend and how fast they can expand their capacity could make for interesting competition for customers that both Vancouver and Prince Rupert are currently engaged in.

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