Yesterday at the Port’s Bell Harbor Conference Center, I welcomed attendees to Governor Inslee’s rollout of the Maritime Blue strategy for the “blue economy.” I share the governor’s commitment to a sustainable maritime economy and welcome the competitive advantage this shift would provide our region. Below are my opening remarks:
Hello and welcome to the Port of Seattle’s Pier 66.
Thank you, Governor Inslee, guests, and my fellow members of the Governor’s Maritime Innovation Advisory Council, for helping us launch the Maritime Blue Strategy today.
We’re truly fortunate to have a Governor who’s been at the forefront of demonstrating how we can increase jobs while reducing our GHG emissions.
It’s great to have his leadership directed towards the maritime economy.
I’m Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. It’s my honor to be able to represent the Port amongst this tremendous gathering of talent in the room today.
I’d like to extend my sincere appreciation to Joshua Berger, the co-chairs and DNVGL for bringing together such a diverse group of stakeholders to be part of this visionary work.
It’s fitting we launch the Maritime Blue strategy at this facility.
The Port’s Pier 66 complex serves as a mini-maritime cluster of its own. Not only does it include the Bell Harbor Conference Center to host such gatherings of maritime interests, but it also serves as a cruise terminal homeport and recreational marina.
But its location is what affords us a view of the rich array of assets we have to work with.
Sandwiched between our world class ship designers, engineers and architects land side — with the leading ship yards, marine terminals, and outfitters marine side — Bell Harbor is truly a strategic asset we continue to invest in.
It’s these surroundings that support a diverse workforce and inclusive economic engine demonstrating maritime is not just our heritage but also our future.
We have a unique opportunity to reconnect more Seattleites to the maritime environment by working with neighboring facilities like the Aquarium as the waterfront is transformed.
Washington State has benefited from natural advantages afforded us by glacially carved, deep and protected harbors, as well as proximity to Alaska and the Asian continent.
But these advantages and the associated economic benefits cannot be taken for granted.
Our share of the ocean economy is not guaranteed.
Countries and states to our north and south are investing to expand their gateways, entice more global businesses, and support local maritime industrial growth.
For Washington state to compete nationally and globally we need to be sustainable, innovative, and inclusive.
We need to step out of the status quo.
That’s why the vision for Maritime Blue is so urgently needed and why all of our participation is so critical.
Cross-sector planning and collaboration is key to keeping and growing the maritime jobs of the future. It requires significant partnerships:
- In education, to develop a skilled workforce;
- Among employers, to fund sponsorships, internships, and training programs;
- In collaboration with the trades, who provide a pathway for living wage jobs in maritime;
- With our top universities and colleges, through innovative research;
- At our public agencies, for infrastructure investments and identification of pressing societal needs;
- Among the technology and trade related industries, whose innovative spirit are part of our cultural fabric; and finally
- Amongst community and environmental organizations, whose increased awareness of these efforts are needed to broaden partnerships.
That’s the playbook.
We’ve observed the benefits of such collaborations firsthand when some of us visited Norway last year to see the progress their maritime industries have made by focusing on workforce, sustainability, and innovation.
We rode on all-electric ferries and even their offshore rig-tenders were powered by hybrid engines.
So, we’re here to do our part.
Late last year the Port of Seattle Commission approved the largest package of maritime industrial investments that this Port has considered in a generation. This includes the exploration of constructing an innovation center at Fishermen’s Terminal.
You’ll be hearing more details about these historic investments by the Port from our maritime director later in the program.
The Port’s Century Agenda has called for us to be the greenest, most energy-efficient Port in the Nation. A goal I’m personally committed to help it achieve.
We have made deep investments in sustainability, including a major expansion of waterfront electrification to better serve our businesses, reduce GHG emissions, and improve our region’s air quality.
The continued decline of our endangered orca has elevated public awareness of the importance to address underwater noise which is the subject of discussion before the IMO this month and is pertinent to proposed expansions of ferry service around the Sound.
Clearly, the Governor’s call for the development of the Maritime Blue Strategy did not just come out of the blue.
The Port of Seattle, and me personally, welcome the opportunity to participate in the development of the Maritime Blue Strategy and to serve as today’s host as we take this historic step forward.