Strong Support for Terminals Expansion Plans
As Governor Jay Inslee begins a nine-day trip to South Korea and Japan, the Alliance for NW Jobs & Exports urged him to make increased export capacity – particularly the pending construction of terminals in Bellingham and Longview – a vital part of the trip’s itinerary.
“In his own words announcing the trip, the governor said that thriving economies in South Korea and Japan will open up ‘new demand and markets for the quality products from Washington,’” said Alliance spokeswoman Kathryn Stenger.
“We couldn’t agree more. But unless we want to see port competition to our north and south step up and meet the new demand, we need to expand Washington state’s export capacity, and that starts with the terminals in Bellingham and Longview.”
Bob Gregory, the former city manager for Longview, home of the 3rd largest Washington State bulk terminal operations at the Port of Longview and the Millennium Bulk Terminal, called port expansion critical to ensuring the state’s long-term viability as a trade partner.
“Washington state needs additional export capacity, jobs, freight mobility and economic growth,” Gregory said. “We applaud the governor for recognizing these facts and encourage him to help us get there.”
One of the state’s largest labor unions, the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, has also been one of the main proponents of building the two terminals citing the economic impact on the state and the middle class jobs that would result. Representing 70,000 members throughout the state, the union passed a resolution June 5th, 2015 urging swift approval of the terminals.
“We can’t talk about expanding and supporting trade without also talking about supporting the export terminals,” said Lee Newgent, executive secretary of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council. “Private investors are looking to locate here in Washington because they know the value of our trade relationships. This means real jobs for working families, particularly in rural areas of the state that don’t have other employment options.”
Newgent continued: “Trade is about developing opportunities for all of Washington state, not just the Puget Sound corridor.”
Opportunity is especially top of mind in communities such as Whatcom County, home of the other proposed port project, the Gateway Pacific Terminal.