Message from NWSA CEO John Wolfe

CEO John Wolfe

Dear NWSA Customers,

Over the past week, port operations along the U.S. West Coast became strained as disagreements surrounding the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) labor contract spilled over into the day-to-day operations of terminals. The Northwest Seaport Alliance is experiencing operational challenges as production levels at terminals have been negatively impacted and vessels are beginning to anchor in our harbors. Even so, it is important for you to know that our gateway remains open, and cargo continues to move.

While we are not party to the ILWU-PMA contract, and do not have direct involvement in these negotiations, we are tracking operations across our gateway closely. Please be aware that each terminal operator is making individual decisions regarding operations based on their operational and financial needs.

As we navigate the uncertainty before us, The NWSA remains committed to you, our customers and supply chain stakeholders.   Our team is working hard to provide timely updates and address questions to help you manage your business while being mindful of the ongoing negotiations.  I encourage you to remain in contact with your NWSA representative and monitor our various information sources including our web site and weekly Gateway Performance and Outlook report.

As the CEO of the Seattle and Tacoma gateway, I recognize there are critical issues left to be negotiated between ILWU and PMA, however my hope is for an expedient conclusion of contract negotiations that maintains the health of our gateway and ensures the productive operations of the supply chain. It cannot be overstated that efficient flow of cargo is critical to our regional economy supporting local businesses, trade-related jobs, and Washington State exports to international markets. 

We value the long-standing and strong business relationships we have with our import and export customers, just as we take seriously our role as an economic engine that supports more than 58,000 jobs across our Pacific Northwest region.

Our team’s innovative problem-solving, focus on partnerships, and dedication to customer-service has enabled our gateway to overcome difficulties in the past. By continuing these efforts I am confident we will successfully navigate today’s challenges.

With several billion dollars in current and planned strategic investments across our two harbors, significant achievements on environmental initiatives, and service expansion into key emerging markets, The Northwest Seaport Alliance will remain a leading gateway to serve the needs of shippers and businesses today and long into the future. This is only possible with your ongoing partnership.

I remain optimistic that this temporary setback shall pass and that our gateway will continue to be part of your supply chain network. I appreciate your patience and thank you for your business.


Wolfe Signature

John Wolfe
CEO, The Northwest Seaport Alliance