PNW ports offer to assist export plan
The Obama administration should consult with logistics experts and help industry solve the transpacific container shortage as part of its new initiative to double exports within five years, according to port officials in Seattle and Tacoma.
Holding regional town halls would enable policymakers to hear from international trade professionals, who have a lot of good ideas that can contribute to a unified government export strategy, said Tay Yoshitani, Seattle port chief executive officer, and John Wolfe, interim executive director for the Port of Tacoma, in a letter Monday to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. The Washington state ports have requested to host a regional meeting to explore ways to drive up exports, such as through investments in port and transportation infrastructure.
Locke is a former governor of Washington, a state in which export support several hundred thousand jobs.
Last year, the Commerce and Transportation departments organized a Supply Chain Summit that gathered feedback from freight transportation stakeholders on infrastructure, regulatory reforms and other needs.
The port directors also recommended that a portion of the 300 new international trade specialists proposed in President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget have expertise in logistics so they can help potential exporters understand how to efficiently move goods to foreign markets.
They applauded the Federal Maritime Commission’s recent decision to investigate the shortage of export containers and ship capacity that is slowing outbound trade flows and asked that the new Export Promotion Cabinet take the lead coordinating a solution with other agencies and the private sector.
The joint letter is the latest example of the two competing ports collaborating on trade and national freight policy issues that impact the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast at large. ' Eric Kulisch