Ports, Maritime Sites, Military Installations & Industrial Lands

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The central Puget Sound region’s variety of deep-water Pacific seaports and close connection to Asia positions the region as an important seaport for trade. The Northwest Seaport Alliance is the fourth largest container gateway in the United States. Industrial lands throughout the region support the movement of goods and are being home to manufacturing businesses that support regional supply chains. In addition, each of the region’s four counties is home to military installations that support national defense goals, directly support thousands of regional jobs, and drive contracting dollars into the region.

The region’s continued growth is creating challenges for the economic production of these spaces. Growth is driving up pressures for encroachment of development around these industrial areas and for uses incompatible with their industrial nature. This could threaten the long-term viability of these economic assets. In addition, increasing regional population and jobs are increasing congestion around the region’s ports and industrial areas, impeding the movement of freight through and within the region.

Recent analysis forecasts that demand for the commercial, general aviation, and air cargo activities at regional ports will increase significantly in the coming decades. Demand for commercial aviation is projected to double by 2050, and regional airports do not have the capacity to meet this demand.

Challenges and Opportunities

The region has identified the following key issues, opportunities, and challenges in sustaining the region’s economy:

A variety of industrial lands support the region’s jobs

Core industrial spaces throughout the region are home to activities that account for a third of employment, supporting aerospace, maritime, military and defense, transportation and logistics, and other industries.

Protecting against incompatible land use and encroachment

Preserving and protecting the long-term viability of the region’s industrial spaces from incompatible uses and encroachment as the region grows is important to supporting regional industries.

Major regional military installations are economic engines

Major military installations serve important national defense goals and drive contracting and employment in the region.

Maritime sites connect the region to the world

The region is home to one of largest transshipment ports on the west coast, with close proximity to Asia, connecting goods movement to and through the region.

Easing freight mobility

Road traffic in the region is projected to grow, increasing congestion around regional ports and creating challenges for goods movement.

(New/Expanded) Regional commercial aviation capacity will not meet future demand

Demand for commercial aviation service is forecast to double by 2050, outstripping current and planned airport capacity.

Strategic Response

The region has identified the following strategic focus areas for addressing identified challenges and opportunities:

Preserve, protect, and support ports, industrial lands, military installations, and maritime sites

The region should continue to expand policies that promote and protect critical economic locations, such as ports, industrial lands, military installations, and maritime sites from the pressures of encroachment and incompatible use.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Support state, regional, and local policies that protect and buffer industrial, maritime, and military lands from encroachment and incompatible land uses.
  • Collaborate within the region to support export-based and locally producing businesses operating on the region’s industrially zoned land.
  • Support policies within regional planning that strongly and specifically affirm the importance of military installations, training ranges, and supportive infrastructure.
  • Invest in infrastructure that supports industrial areas, military facilities and maritime sites, and better connects them with their markets and workers.
  • Support the efforts to promote the importance of military and defense industries, retain and enhance military assets, and maximize opportunities presented by the military and defense sector.
  • Support the adoption of zoning and land use regulations in local jurisdictions that support the overarching policy goals associated with container port elements contained in the region’s comprehensive plans.
  • Support the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield properties to diminish the need for greenfield development.

Build up and sustain ports and other infrastructure to support trade, logistics, and freight mobility

The region should continue to make infrastructure investments to update and modernize regional ports and freight mobility infrastructure to connect with global markets and workers and meet environmental goals.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Implement the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s 10-year Strategic Business Plan.
  • Support the Port of Everett, Port of Bremerton, and other port modernization infrastructure improvements.
  • Support and implement the recommendations of the region’s Multimodal Freight Strategy, including prioritizing investments that enhance freight and goods mobility.
  • Support regional ports’ efforts to stay competitive in the face of major changes in the industry in the region’s transportation plans.
  • Support demand management tools such as tolling to prioritize freight movements.
  • Support the movement of high value air cargo.
  • Support the ports’ roles as major distribution hubs for rural agricultural and natural resource products and promote the retention and expansion of the necessary infrastructure to bring those products to national and international markets.
  • Support efforts to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax to better support regional ports.

Sustain and grow commercial air travel connections domestically and globally

The region should continue to analyze and address regional commercial aviation and air cargo capacity challenges, including the movement of high value air cargo, that benefit the economy while minimizing community and environmental impacts.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Support efforts by regional airports to update their master plans to accommodate commercial, cargo and general aviation capacity while meeting community needs.
  • Support efforts by the Port of Seattle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Sea-Tac Airport by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Support airlines that service Sea-Tac Airport for continued success as a connected region.

The central Puget Sound region’s variety of deep-water Pacific seaports and close connection to Asia positions the region as an important seaport for trade. The Northwest Seaport Alliance is the fourth largest container gateway in the United States. Industrial lands throughout the region support the movement of goods and are being home to manufacturing businesses that support regional supply chains. In addition, each of the region’s four counties is home to military installations that support national defense goals, directly support thousands of regional jobs, and drive contracting dollars into the region.

The region’s continued growth is creating challenges for the economic production of these spaces. Growth is driving up pressures for encroachment of development around these industrial areas and for uses incompatible with their industrial nature. This could threaten the long-term viability of these economic assets. In addition, increasing regional population and jobs are increasing congestion around the region’s ports and industrial areas, impeding the movement of freight through and within the region.

Recent analysis forecasts that demand for the commercial, general aviation, and air cargo activities at regional ports will increase significantly in the coming decades. Demand for commercial aviation is projected to double by 2050, and regional airports do not have the capacity to meet this demand.

Challenges and Opportunities

The region has identified the following key issues, opportunities, and challenges in sustaining the region’s economy:

A variety of industrial lands support the region’s jobs

Core industrial spaces throughout the region are home to activities that account for a third of employment, supporting aerospace, maritime, military and defense, transportation and logistics, and other industries.

Protecting against incompatible land use and encroachment

Preserving and protecting the long-term viability of the region’s industrial spaces from incompatible uses and encroachment as the region grows is important to supporting regional industries.

Major regional military installations are economic engines

Major military installations serve important national defense goals and drive contracting and employment in the region.

Maritime sites connect the region to the world

The region is home to one of largest transshipment ports on the west coast, with close proximity to Asia, connecting goods movement to and through the region.

Easing freight mobility

Road traffic in the region is projected to grow, increasing congestion around regional ports and creating challenges for goods movement.

(New/Expanded) Regional commercial aviation capacity will not meet future demand

Demand for commercial aviation service is forecast to double by 2050, outstripping current and planned airport capacity.

Strategic Response

The region has identified the following strategic focus areas for addressing identified challenges and opportunities:

Preserve, protect, and support ports, industrial lands, military installations, and maritime sites

The region should continue to expand policies that promote and protect critical economic locations, such as ports, industrial lands, military installations, and maritime sites from the pressures of encroachment and incompatible use.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Support state, regional, and local policies that protect and buffer industrial, maritime, and military lands from encroachment and incompatible land uses.
  • Collaborate within the region to support export-based and locally producing businesses operating on the region’s industrially zoned land.
  • Support policies within regional planning that strongly and specifically affirm the importance of military installations, training ranges, and supportive infrastructure.
  • Invest in infrastructure that supports industrial areas, military facilities and maritime sites, and better connects them with their markets and workers.
  • Support the efforts to promote the importance of military and defense industries, retain and enhance military assets, and maximize opportunities presented by the military and defense sector.
  • Support the adoption of zoning and land use regulations in local jurisdictions that support the overarching policy goals associated with container port elements contained in the region’s comprehensive plans.
  • Support the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield properties to diminish the need for greenfield development.

Build up and sustain ports and other infrastructure to support trade, logistics, and freight mobility

The region should continue to make infrastructure investments to update and modernize regional ports and freight mobility infrastructure to connect with global markets and workers and meet environmental goals.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Implement the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s 10-year Strategic Business Plan.
  • Support the Port of Everett, Port of Bremerton, and other port modernization infrastructure improvements.
  • Support and implement the recommendations of the region’s Multimodal Freight Strategy, including prioritizing investments that enhance freight and goods mobility.
  • Support regional ports’ efforts to stay competitive in the face of major changes in the industry in the region’s transportation plans.
  • Support demand management tools such as tolling to prioritize freight movements.
  • Support the movement of high value air cargo.
  • Support the ports’ roles as major distribution hubs for rural agricultural and natural resource products and promote the retention and expansion of the necessary infrastructure to bring those products to national and international markets.
  • Support efforts to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax to better support regional ports.

Sustain and grow commercial air travel connections domestically and globally

The region should continue to analyze and address regional commercial aviation and air cargo capacity challenges, including the movement of high value air cargo, that benefit the economy while minimizing community and environmental impacts.

Identified near-term actions:

  • Support efforts by regional airports to update their master plans to accommodate commercial, cargo and general aviation capacity while meeting community needs.
  • Support efforts by the Port of Seattle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Sea-Tac Airport by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Support airlines that service Sea-Tac Airport for continued success as a connected region.