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Century Agenda Sets a Course towards the Future

August 17, 2020

Ancient mariners in the middle of the ocean used the North Star to navigate and to get home safely. The North Star sits directly over the North Pole and stays fixed in the same position, with all other stars rotating around it. It’s a constant amidst change, and a reliable beacon that will keep you on the right course despite heavy weather and following seas. 

Like the North Star, the Century Agenda is the directional compass for the Port of Seattle, and a constant amidst change. Introduced in 2012 to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Port, the Commission adopted the Century Agenda to establish the Port’s ambitious vision for the next 25 years. It contains six goals that set the course for the organization and a sound structural framework that helps operating divisions set tactical objectives to keep the Port on track to its destination.

The Port Commission is soliciting feedback to help inform the final strategic plan and guide operating divisions as they set their annual work plans and programs.

The Port last updated its Century Agenda on December 19, 2017 when it added Scope 2 carbon reduction goals to supplement the previous addition of Scope 1 and Scope 3 goals. Since this document update, Commission and Port priorities and strategies have evolved to address urgent needs and opportunities in our community.   

In Commission President Peter Steinbrueck’s blog post “Century Agenda Is the Roadmap for Change,” he explains why we must update the Century Agenda again:

With the rapidly changing environment we find ourselves in today — from a global pandemic; to protests against police brutality in the wake of tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery; to families and businesses trying to stay afloat with a looming economic crisis — it is imperative for the Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda to be updated to remain relevant as an enduring vision statement and responsive to our current policies and strategies as well as the changing landscape.

What’s changing?

These revisions will help the document catch up with the Port’s current priorities and actions.  


Three of the Century Agenda Goals will stay the same:

Goal 1: Position the Puget Sound region as a premier international logistics hub 

Goal 2: Advance this region as a leading tourism destination and business gateway 

Goal 4: Be the greenest and most energy-efficient port in North America


One goal will be modified

Goal 3: Responsibly invest in the economic growth of the region and all its communities

This goal includes the following initiatives:

  • Recovering from COVID-19 
  • Supporting women- and minority- owned business enterprises, small business enterprises, and workforce development
  • Promoting industrial land use 
  • Career-connected learning
  • Developing partnerships across the region 
  • Supporting family-wage jobs

Two new goals will be added:

Goal 5: Become a model for equity, diversity, and inclusion    

The Port’s focus on equity is not reflected in the current Century Agenda so this will:

  • Re-emphasize the Port’s dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion 
  • Keep the Port accountable for the great work we are already undertaking 
  • Create alignment between the Equity Director’s strategic plan and the Port’s long-term vision

Goal 6: Be a highly effective public agency 

Through this goal we can elevate our commitment to: 

  • Safety, security, and innovation 
  • On-time, on-budget delivery of capital improvement 
  • Attracting and retaining the region’s top talent 
  • Providing great customer experiences at Port facilities
  • Engaging the community in the Port’s work 

Pyramid diagram of the components of the Century Agenda
Three new strategies fill a gap in the previous document

How will this help?

The updated Century Agenda will:    

1.    Provide more flexibility to respond to a changing environment
The new format for the Century Agenda sets the road map and tells us where we are going, but gives Port division more agility in defining how we will get there in their annual planning. In short, there’s more flexibility to adjust actions and operating plans while responding to rapid changes in society like COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. 

2.    Set measurable and actionable Key Performance Indicators 
Management guru Peter Drucker said “you can't manage what you can't measure,” so this process will establish clear and actionable tactics, set tangible metrics for each goal, define performance standards, and assess and report on the effectiveness of every action.

3.    Facilitate consistent alignment between strategy and operations 
A clear and documented strategy brings effectiveness and efficiency in operations and alignment across every planning and execution stage at the Port. This plan will make setting a course and reaching it easier than in the past. 

What’s next? 

  1. Public feedback through September 18
  2. Final report of feedback produced
  3. Incorporate changes to the Century Agenda
  4. Approval and adoption at a Commission meeting 
  5. Publication of the final goals and objectives

How can I participate?

  1. Review the current and proposed Century Agenda
  2. Submit your feedback to by September 18
  3. Subscribe to email updates about the Century Agenda

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