Warehousing is Key to Port’s Success, Says Commissioner John Creighton


When discussing the Port of Seattle, it’s common for writers to focus on issues pertaining to the seaport terminals themselves and issues that surround them, such as increasing traffic and gentrification. It’s natural, according to Port Commissioner John Creighton, as traffic flow is often the most visible issue that impacts the port, and it’s also the thing that has the deepest impact on the average commuter. After all, when port traffic is backed up, commute times can often suffer due to traffic congestion moving into and out of the port. But, there are other aspects of the business model that also bear mention, and warehousing is just one of those important topics the port needs to consider.

In a perfect world, a shipper would send an item and a buyer would take that item right away. It would be a bit like a trade, with one company taking an item from the waiting arms of another. However, most companies simply don’t function like this. They ship items early, ensuring that they’ll be available when the other party wants to make a pickup, or the buying party experiences delays and needs to push back the date of product transfer. It’s an imprecise science, and as a result, most companies need to use warehouses.

That said, in the Information Age warehousing has become a science, particularly with management concepts such as just-in-time delivery being in vogue.  The Green River Valley is home to the second largest warehousing district on the west coast, and ensuring that local governments pursue policies that keep warehousing businesses competitive means that more companies can use the port, says John Creighton Port of Seattle. They’ll know they have the storage capacity, should they need it, and they know they can make pickups easily. Warehousing also means good jobs for local residents, as someone will need to be available to log those items as they move both in and out. It could be an excellent driver for the economy, and a vital part of the jobs the port plans to add as part of its Century Agenda.

Commissioner Creighton says more research should be done regarding how policymakers can ensure warehousing and logistics companies thrive locally, and he stresses that this will be a vital part of a successful roadmap for the port.


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