Thursday, October 08, 2009

Seattle and Tacoma ports feeling threatened by their northern competition

The President of the Port of Seattle Commission was sounding the alarm today at a business luncheon in Renton, outlining the success that both the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert have had so far in lining up business that could have a major impact on the Washington state ports.

Bill Bryant explained how the two Canadian ports are telling potential customers of the advantages in delivery times available through Vancouver and Prince Rupert when compared to Seattle and Tacoma, a selling point that is starting to catch the interest of shipping lines and their customers.

The threat of lost business is beginning to change the dynamic in Puget Sound, where once upon the time the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma spent most of their time it seemed competing with themselves, now they are coordinating their efforts to better attract business through their gateways.

To that end they have started a campaign of lobbying for improvements to the Washington state infrastructure, improving rail lines, bridges, highways and mountain passes, all part of a strategy to regain some of that competitive balance that they believe they have lost to Vancouver and Rupert.

The two Canadian ports are well ahead in the infrastructure race it would seem, CN's connection from Rupert to Memphis has been well received, with the Memphis yard recently completing a 100 million dollar reconfiguration, designed to make Memphis a major American distribution point.
That expansion along with the work done on the lines between Rupert and the US now offers up a competitive and time sensitive delivery system, one which is gaining notice not only from shippers and suppliers but from those very ports that it now competes with on a daily basis.

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