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What the Largest Container Ship to Visit Seattle Means to the Region
Seattle Times
February 29, 2016
By Captain Michael Moore

ON Monday, the Port of Seattle greeted the largest container vessel ever to call on Washington state. The Benjamin Franklin is capable of carrying 18,000 20-foot equivalent units of containers. Laid end to end, the containers would stretch 68 miles from Tacoma to Everett. The vessel itself is longer than two Space Needles.

While the vessel is impressive, it also signals a sea change in the shipping industry — a change that is already reverberating up and down the West Coast, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast. Simply put, vessels are getting larger, shipping companies are consolidating through mergers, acquisitions, and vessel-sharing agreements. And they are looking for gateways to the Midwest and East Coast from Asia that provide for cost savings and maximum efficiencies.

The consolidations and larger ships mean fewer ports of call — which mean there will be winners and losers in the port industry. So why should policymakers care about the health and competitiveness of Washington state's ports?

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Port Commissioners: Here's Your Chance 
Puget Sound Business Journal
December 21, 2012
By Jordan Royer

An amazing opportunity has dropped into the Port of Seattle commissioners' laps and, if they take advantage of it, it could help set the agency on an improved course in 2013 and beyond: It's a chance to fill a rare vacancy on the commission.

The remaining four commissioners should move swiftly and thoughtfully to fill the vacancy created by fellow Commissioner Gael Tarleton's election to the state Legislature in November. They should choose a person with the wisdom, expertise and vision to help steer the organization now and in the future.

Why not appoint someone with an engineering background? After all, much of what the port does is build infrastructure. Or how about a person with experience in logistics management, someone who knows what it takes to move freight and people efficiently? Perhaps a labor leader who understands business?

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Shock to the System 
Los Angeles Business Journal
November 12, 2012
By T.L. Garrett

Almost as soon as Edwin Drake put the first commercial oil well into production in Pennsylvania in 1859, the end of cheap oil was predicted. In 1949, Marion King Hubbert predicted that the world's petroleum production would rise to a peak and then just as quickly decline. While aggressive worldwide exploration and development of oil might have delayed the timing, other pressures to the future of oil are coming to the forefront.

The California Air Resources Board, in its Vision for 2012-2050 report, predicts a wholesale transition from fossil fuels by 2050. The South Coast Air Quality Management District is on record saying that nitrogen oxide emissions will have to be reduced by more than 90 percent to meet the legal requirements of the Clean Air Act. Natural gas, biofuels and synthetic fuels – all of them have greenhouse gas- and smog-forming emissions that eliminate them from meeting those goals. The only viable alternative is electric motors. 

Assuming these views of an electric future come to pass, how will future power needs be met? We're not just looking at some nominal rate of growth – we're on the verge of a radical transition toward electrification.

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Time to Talk About Seattle's Industrial Land 
Puget Sound Business Journal
May 4, 2012
By Jordan Royer

The good news about the proposed new arena in Seattle's industrial area is that it's sparking a separate and much needed debate about the future of Seattle's industrial land, and whether the good paying maritime and industrial jobs will continue to be a part of our regional economy or become a thing of the past.

Seattle and Tacoma together are one of the world's premier centers for waterborne commerce, economic assets of statewide significance. The ports didn't just happen. Billions of taxpayer dollars were invested over many years to build up the marine and transportation system to make it what it is today. Some 200,000 direct and indirect jobs supported by the ports touch everyone in the state — from a hay farmer in Ellensburg who exports his crop, to the government inspector in Seattle checking documentation. And the port industry contributes $457.5 million in state and local taxes annually.

For generations, tens of thousands of people have worked at good paying jobs unloading and loading cargo, building and repairing ships, making parts and tools from steel, stocking warehouses, and moving trucks and railcars.

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