Port of the Month: Seattle, Hub of the Pacific Northwest

Mountains, forests, meadows and, more than anything, a lot of water are the main features of Seattle, our port of the month. In fact, the lush greenness of the area helped the largest city in the Northwest of the United States earn the nickname “the Emerald City.”

Seattle benefits immensely from its proximity to the water of the island-filled Puget Sound inlet. In recent years, its container handling has grown at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. The seaport of Seattle – together with its sister port of Tacoma, about 50 kilometers due south – holds the 41st spot on the ranking of the world’s largest ports. Both ports work in close cooperation and are operated by the same port authority, the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

The Port of Seattle is full of potential: Thanks to its ideal location on the US West Coast, it is one of the most important hubs for trade between Asia and North America. In 2016, its biggest trading partners were accordingly China and Japan.

Seattle is also a central location for the IT sector as well as home to the headquarters of several international companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. Some 48,000 jobs are directly or indirectly tied to the port. Both imports and exports are geared toward the local industries. Thus, the top import goods are electronics, industrial machines and computers.

In 2016, The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled 3.6 million TEU. And this figure continues to rise as the port is regularly modernized and modified. Since very recently, two 18,000 TEU ships can be handled at the same time at its new terminals. What’s more, the railway connection to the port is being expanded. Since larger and larger ships are sailing into Seattle, some terminals are being equipped with new post-Panamax cranes.

Seattle has already been voted the most livable city in the United States several times. “You have to love this city, if only for its unique location on the water and surrounded by mountains,” says Maureen Hubbard, who works in Hapag-Lloyd’s Seattle office. She recommends that visitors to the city go to the Space Needle, the biggest tower in the city, which was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. From the observation deck at the top, visitors can get a one-of-a-kind view over both land and sea.

In addition, Hubbard also recommends a visit to the well-known Pike Place Market, one of the oldest continuously operated public markets in the US. Some 10 million people visit the market every year, which offers a wide range of local foods and specialties.  

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