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Trade On The West Coast

When living in Seattle, I worked at Portent Interactive in Tukwila, located in the Kent Valley or south King County, the area is a rather forgotten part of King county.

Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond (Microsoft HQ is located in Redmond) are all located in King County.

South King County consisted of 15% of the GDP of King County when I worked in area. There were lots of manufacturing plants and wholesale distribution centers in the Kent Valley.

The regional big chamber is the Kent Chamber of commerce, Portent was a member of the chamber and I was chair of the chamber’s technology committee. Unusually for a local chamber the Kent Chamber has a highly developed manufacturing section, which held an annual manufacturing conference and worked on manufacturing and freight mobility issues between the Tacoma and Seattle ports.

Barbara Ivanov, the director of the chamber at the time eventually left to became Washington State's freight mobility tsar. Because of Barbara I subscribe to the Washington State Department of Transportation emails. Most of the emails are alerts about I5 closing due to floods, or I90 closing due to snow avalanche. However, today I received this notice about a new study. I thought I'd share the study, just because it makes interesting reading to anyone in business.

WSDOT releases West Coast Corridor Coalition Trade and Transportation Study Final Report

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has released the West Coast Corridor Coalition Trade and Transportation Study Final Report. The study conducted an analysis of freight, trade, and transportation trends in the West Coast, and outlined the identification and description of key chokepoints, constraints, and issues in the region.

These conclusions are meant to provide a foundation to allow the West Coast Corridor Coalition (WCCC) and its member states to begin addressing specific system-wide issues and chokepoints that cross jurisdictional, interest (i.e., public/private), and financial boundaries. The WCCC (Corridor) is a Coalition of the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California working together to forge consensus strategies for the massive mobility challenges in the Corridor that transcend state and local borders. Members include the four state departments of transportation, ports, regional transportation planning agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations.

The West Coast economy is the sixth largest in the world and the aggregate gross domestic product (GOP) in the Corridor in 2006 was $2.2 trillion. In the last few years, the vigor of the WCCC region contributed about one-fifth of the national increases in GOP.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

West Coast seaports - led by Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, Tacoma, and Oakland - handled over one-half of all containerized shipments entering and departing the United States in 2006. Locally, the Portland/Vancouver, WA to Seattle trade flow accounted for $23 billion in total value according to the (Federal Highway Association) FHWA Freight Analysis Framework in 2002.

In the same year, the West Coast’s airports handled nearly 8.4 million tons of overseas freight, accounting for 42 percent of the U.S. total.

The region’s north-south transportation infrastructure, with I-5 as its backbone, has emerged as a crucial trade corridor for both domestic commerce and international trade, connecting West Coast metropolitan areas and serving increasing volumes of NAFTA-related shipments. Total domestic trade among these major West Coast metropolitan areas totaled over 145 million tons, valued at more than $254 billion in 2002. The majority of goods movement among the West Coast mega regions and their major metropolitan areas- approximately 75 percent- occurs by truck, primarily on the I-5 and SR-99 corridors.

The key findings of this study will be used by the WCCC and its members to develop an approach to planning for and investing in the region’s trade and transportation system that will help the West Coast stakeholders work collaboratively to ensure its continued efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.

The West Coast Corridor Coalition Trade and Transportation Study Final Report can be reviewed at