Report: Tacoma, Seattle marine cargo ports generate $4.3B in economic activity

Marine cargo operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma supported more than 48,000 jobs in 2013, which generated nearly $4.3 billion in economic activity, according to a study commissioned jointly by the two ports.

If those 48,000 jobs were represented by individual people, they would almost fill the Tacoma Dome and KeyArena. This marine cargo activity produced more than $378 million in local and state taxes to support education, police, fire services and road improvements, according to the study.

The analysis, performed by Martin Associates, a Pennsylvania-based firm that has conducted economic studies for ports through the U.S., focused on direct, indirect and induced jobs. Direct jobs include trucking companies and railroads moving cargo to and from terminals and warehouses, longshore workers, steamship agents and freight forwarders. Indirect jobs include office supply firms, maintenance and repair firms, and parts and equipment suppliers. Induced jobs are those created by people directly employed by marine cargo operations re-spending their wages in the community on housing, food and other consumer goods.

If the farmers and manufacturers who ship products through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are factored in, the ports‘ activities reach 443,000 jobs overall in Washington, according to the study.

The Port of Tacoma Commission and Port of Seattle Commission met in Tacoma Tuesday morning to discuss the results of the study. The report and fact sheet are available online here and here, respectively.

“This clearly is a thriving, important industry in our state, and we need to continue investing and adapting to changing global trade to meet market demand,” said Port of Tacoma Commission President Clare Petrich. “We continue to explore with our fellow commissioners from the Port of Seattle ways that we can work more closely together to maintain these critical jobs and grow cargo volumes through the Puget Sound region.”

“This study reaffirms the critical importance of our ports as a trade gateway,” said Port of Seattle Commission Co-President Stephanie Bowman. “Port activities support tens of thousands of family-wage jobs across the state. These jobs are crucial to maintaining and growing our region’s middle class.”