The SIU-crewed Midnight Sun recently hosted government and maritime industry personnel as an ongoing followup to a report highlighting the vital importance of Alaska on the Puget Sound (Washington) regional economy.
Among those visiting the TOTE Services-operated vessel in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 10 were Washington State Rep. Gael Tarleton, Washington State Commerce Department Director Brian Bonlender, Port of Tacoma Commissioner Dick Marzano, Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton and Tacoma Councilman Joe Lonergan. The delegation was sponsored by the Washington Maritime Federation, a coalition whose members includes labor unions, shipyards, ports, businesses and policymakers.
Issued early last year as an update to previous versions, the report – titled “Ties that Bind: The Enduring Economic Impact of Alaska on the Puget Sound Region” – found that Alaska accounts for more than 80 percent of domestic containerized shipments for the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, and 20 percent of all containerized freight at those locations. Researched by the McDowell Group, the study also found that Alaska helps maintain around 113,000 jobs in the six-county Puget Sound region – jobs that generate $6.2 billion in wages.
Other findings included:
• Nearly 24,000 Puget Sound jobs and $1.3 billion in wages are tied to Alaska’s seafood industry.
• Nearly half the Alaska cruise market comes through Seattle, resulting in 434,600 people embarking and/or disembarking in the city.
• Roughly 25 percent of all maritime industrial support services in the area are connected to Alaska-related business, which equates to 5,300 jobs and $390 million in wages.
• Alaska supplies nearly half of all crude oil refined in the Puget Sound region.
• The Seattle metro area is home to several specialized medical centers that provide life-saving care for many Alaskans. The economic impact of Alaskan patients using Puget Sound medical facilities is 1,200 jobs and $87 million
• Washington is the top state, outside of Alaska, for post-secondary enrollment among Alaska residents, who attend more than 30 post-secondary institutions in the six-county Puget Sound area.
“The transport of goods and supplies throughout Alaska is an important part of our economy,” said Don Johnson, president of the Tacoma Port Commission. “Nearly everything you can buy in Alaska is shipped through Puget Sound, and these businesses in both states rely upon us to deliver. It’s a great relationship we want to see strong and growing.” “The heritage between Washington and Alaska is rich and growing,” said Rachael Petro, president and CEO of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. “When Alaska’s economy does well, so does Washington’s economy. Future opportunities are enormous but are challenged by poor policies. By working together, we can strengthen our economies for future generations.”
The study measures economic impacts from calendar year 2013 and incorporates findings from a voluntary survey of organizations that conduct business in Alaska, executive interviews, and secondary data from several state and federal agencies.
The delegation’s recent trip is considered the first of an anticipated larger gathering to be conducted in May 2016 in Alaska.