The Ports of Tacoma and Seattle generate significant economic impact — and trade is good business

A new report looking at the combined economic impact of marine cargo operations at the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle finds that

In 2013, $138.1 billion of total economic activity in the state of Washington was associated with marine cargo activity at the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle. Of the $138.1 billion, $4.3 billion is the direct business revenue received by the firms directly dependent upon the Ports and providing maritime services and inland transportation services to the cargo handled at the marine terminals and the vessels calling the port. The remaining $133.8 billion represents the value of the output to the state of Washington that is created due to the cargo moving via the Ports of Tacoma and Seattle marine terminals.

International containerized cargo drives the activity, accounting for 61 percent of direct business revenue and 59 percent of the 36.1 million short tons of cargo moved through the ports.

The Ports’ activity results in 48,134 direct, indirect and induced jobs and produces state and local tax revenues totaling $378.7 million (of which $231.0 million goes to the state).

Meanwhile, the economist Matthew Slaughter writes,

Exporters and importers are more capital-intensive, more productive, and pay higher wages – about 15-20 percent higher for companies that trade, and about 25-30 percent higher for multinational companies.

Further,

International trade has boosted annual US income by at least 10 percentage points of GDP relative to what it would have been absent this global engagement. This translates into an immense aggregate gain in 2013 of at least $1.7 trillion, an average gain of over $13,600 per US household per year.

Finally,

Success in international trade is essential for a vibrant American economy. The jobs, companies, and communities involved in US trade are among the country’s best performers on all the key measures that shape the well-being of American workers and their families.

We wrote about the importance of trade and transportation to Washington’s economy in a four-part series last year: See here, here, here and here.

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