What is going on with The Port? That's what the Seattle Chapter of the League of Women Voters wanted to discover during last week's forum held at the First Baptist Church in Capitol Hill.
To help League members get a better and more rounded understanding of what the Port is doing and what its vision is, five diverse speakers were invited to the forum to share. Kurt Beckett, Port external affairs, gave an overview of current issues and spoke about the competitive issues the port faces, particularly with Tacoma. He also spoke about the port's effort to be a green leader, according to League President Allison Feher. Last summer, port officials unveiled its At-Berth Clean Fuels (ABC) program, a partnership between the Port, shipping lines and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA). Showcasing the port's efforts at Terminal 18 was Matson Navigation's M/V Manoa. That ship was the first to use a refined diesel fuel that burns cleaner while it is moored at the port. There are seven container lines, one cruise line and 37 vessels, about 35 percent of the ships that call frequently at the port, participating in the program. Participants have agreed to use the fuel. They are APL, CMA CGM, China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), Hapag Lloyd, Maersk Line, Matson and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Next up was Port Commissioner, Gael Tarleton. She spoke about trying to balance the needs of the port's constituencies in terms of business and a steward of the Puget Sound. That stewardship came into question when Fred Felleman of Friends of the Earth spoke. Feher said Felleman worried that ship traffic would disrupt killer whale pod paths. But he was pleased that the port was working with businesses to be better stewards.
Paul Marvy, an attorney with Change to Win, which supports labor at the port, explained that the port is changing but not as quickly as he'd like in terms its relationship with the trucking industry, according to Feher.
Finally, Andrea Riniker, former director of the Port of Tacoma, explained that the port has a narrow focus, that it's not a city with a massive scope. Riniker said the port needs to stay within these bounds.
The League will now put together a study that informs membership about port issues and how the port has responded to them.
"When we do a written study," Feher said, "we organize a forum not to reiterate the study but to bring more political issues or additives to it."[[In-content Ad]]