aerial of breakbulk terminal

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma joined forces to unify management of our marine cargo facilities and business to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more marine cargo and jobs for the region.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance is the first of its kind in North America.

Located in the Pacific Northwest in Washington state, The Northwest Seaport Alliance offers shorter U.S.-to-Asia transits, as well as a deep connection to Alaska.

The alliance is a port development authority governed by the two ports as equal members, with each port acting through its elected commissioners. Each port is governed by five commissioners elected at large by the citizens of their respective counties. They serve four-year terms and establish policy.

The chief executive officer, in carrying out the policies, leads employees and oversees alliance programs.

The boundaries of the alliance include King and Pierce counties.

Marine cargo operations in the Tacoma and Seattle harbors supported more than 58,400 jobs in 2017, generating nearly $5.9 billion in economic activity.

That same year, maritime cargo activity generated $135.9 million in state taxes, which support education, roads and police and fire protection in our communities.

Competitive advantages

International trade

We are the fourth-largest container gateway for containerized cargo shipping between Asia and major distribution points in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and the East Coast.

We are also a major center for bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles and trucks. We connect to the second-largest concentration of distribution centers on the West Coast.

Top international trading partners include:

  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Australia
  • India

The value of this two-way international trade totaled more than $74.9 billion in 2019. Imports were $59.4 billion and exports were $15.4 billion of that total. See more cargo stats.

Domestic trade

The Puget Sound is also a major gateway to Alaska. More than 80 percent of the total trade volume between Alaska and the lower 48 states moves through our North and South harbors. Trade with Alaska was estimated at $5.4 billion in 2015. If it were ranked with our international trading partners, Alaska would be fourth.

We also provide connections to Hawaii. 

Connect with us

Our Business Development team draws on diverse expertise and backgrounds to deliver best-in-class service to our customers.

Meet the team

Our communities

We know that our competitive difference and the value we create does not end with our customers.

We recognize our responsibility to the region, and we proactively create programs that enhance our community by creating jobs, reducing our environmental footprint and boosting our state’s economy.

Learn more about our environmental stewardship and economic impact