It was a courageous band of populists in the early 1900s who realized Seattle’s natural deep-water port was an asset and resource that should belong to the people.
The Port owns and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – the nation’s 17th busiest – handling more than 31.5 million passengers in 2010. The Port’s passenger cruise terminals at Pier 66 and Smith Cove Terminal will handle 195 ship calls and an estimated 800,000 passengers during the 2011 season.
State-of-the-art cargo handling facilities helped rank Seattle as the nation’s 6th busiest U.S. seaport in 2010, serving 22 international steamship lines moving more than 2.1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers). The Port also operates four public marinas, and manages a number of real estate assets for financial return and broad economic advantage.
The Port’s vision is to be the nation's leading green and energy-efficient port. Our tagline, “Where a sustainable world is headed” to communicate that goal. The Puget Sound region is already in attainment of federal air quality standards, and the Port’s many environmental programs are designed for real benefits to the community and a competitive edge for our customers.
The Port of Seattle’s economic impact is strong. Seattle’s Seaport and Airport generate nearly 200,000 jobs throughout the region with payroll in excess of $6.8 billion. Five commissioners, elected at large by the voters of King County, Washington, serve four-year terms and establish Port of Seattle policy. The chief executive officer, in carrying out these policies, leads 1,700 employees and oversees Port programs.
Rising Tides & Tailwinds: The Story of the Port of Seattle, 1911–2011
A century ago Seattle’s great natural harbor was held hostage by competing railroad companies that had built a chaotic sprawl of rail lines, docks, and warehouses, creating “a blot on the city and a menace to the lives of its people.” Washington residents revolted until the state legislature passed the Port District Act, allowing independent government bodies to run the state’s ports — a controversial, even radical, concept. The Port of Seattle quickly proved its worth and became one of the busiest ports in the country. Now entering its second century, the Port is a recognized leader in environmental practices and a major driver of the regional economy.
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Published by the Port of Seattle in association with History Ink / HistoryLink and the University of Washington Press.