Photo via Northwest Seaport Alliance

Photo via Northwest Seaport Alliance

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma voted on Aug. 4 to officially form the Northwest Seaport Alliance which unifies the operations of the two Northwest ports.

The alliance brings together the two former competitors’ cargo terminal investments, operations, planning and marketing to strengthen the ports' appeal and attract more cargo to the region. It will make the Puget Sound gateway the third largest cargo gateway in North America. The two ports originally proposed the deal late last year to better compete with other major West Coast ports.

“Combining our strong cargo terminal operations will make our region more competitive in the global economy and create new jobs in Washington,” said Courtney Gregoire, co-president of the Port of Seattle Commission.

The ports will remain separate organizations and retain ownership of their assets. The alliance formed a port development authority which will manage container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in Seattle and Tacoma. The PDA will be governed jointly by the two ports through their elected commissioners.

Current Port of Tacoma CEO John Wolfe was hired on as the CEO of the Northwest Seaport Alliance and will oversee the transition for a period of up to five years.

“We have moved from fierce competitors to bold collaborators to form a new business model for the greater good of our region,” said Don Johnson, Port of Tacoma commission president. “We recognize how critical the maritime industry is to our state’s economy, and we are proud and excited to strengthen it even more.”