NOVEMBER 28, 2016


Second Mitsubishi Regional Jet arrives at the Grant County International Airport

Joe Utter, November 18, 2016,

The second of four Mitsubishi Regional Jet prototypes to be flight tested in Moses Lake arrived Friday at the Grant County International Airport.

The second aircraft departed Japan earlier this week and left San Jose, Calif. Friday afternoon. The first MRJ, Japan’s first new passenger plane in 50 years, touched down at the Grant County airport in September, according to Port of Moses Lake officials.

Mitsubishi officials said the planes have to undergo about 2,500 hours of testing to gain certification with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Construction at Tri-Cities Airport taxis toward completion

Cameron Probert, November 18, 2016, Tri-City Herald

Air travelers checking in for their flights this week were some of the first to get a chance to see the new ticket counter at the Tri-Cities Airport.

The counter opened to the public Tuesday, and is the latest change as a $41.9 million construction project moves toward completion.

When it finishes at the end of January, the airport terminal will have expanded from 60,000 to 110,000 square feet. Ron Foraker, the port’s director of airport services, said the project is on time and on budget.

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Agriculture powers US West Coast export recovery

Bill Mongelluzzo, November 17, 2016,

Vessels leaving Oakland and the Pacific Northwest are beginning to fill up with agricultural commodities and forest product exports, as demand in overseas markets is negating the impact of the strong dollar and less-than-robust growth in Asian economies.

One example of this growth is soybean exports, which are up 20 percent from last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. “The record production we’ve witnessed, along with strong production in South America, our main competitors, and the strengthening of the US dollar are providing headwinds to our industry. However, we still are experiencing strong international demand, which is helping to fortify commodity prices,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soybean Transportation Coalition.

“You can characterize capacity for exports as ‘tight,’” said Larry Kvidera, the manager of marketing and international trade at the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma. Exports to the port complex’s traditional markets of China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan during the first nine months of the year are up 13 percent, and exports to newer markets in Southeast Asia are up 50 percent. Kvidera said that at present there is sufficient vessel capacity to handle the growing westbound volumes, “but vessels have been pretty full,” he said.

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Rare red tide on the coast for Republicans – how will Democrats respond?

Jonathan Martin, November 17, 2016, The Seattle Times

John Hughes has lived in the most reliably Democratic county in Washington for seven decades and could sense this election year was different.

“I felt it coming. I could feel it in the tips of my toes,” said Hughes.

Hughes’ consistently blue county may surprise you. It’s not King County, where the majority of voters cast ballots for a Republican governor as recently as 1980 and voted for President Reagan in 1984.

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‘Criminalize economic terrorism’ bill gets cool response from Port of Olympia commissioners

Rolf Boone, November 19, 2016, The Olympian

Two Port of Olympia commissioners say that a proposed bill to “criminalize economic terrorism” — partly inspired by an anti-fracking protest downtown — is unnecessary and that there are better ways to resolve the blockade.

The Olympian asked Commissioners Joe Downing and E.J. Zita what they thought of the bill state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, proposed Wednesday that would increase the penalty for those “protests that block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk.”

Commissioner Bill McGregor could not be reached.

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Pacific Northwest seaports prepared for wind energy shipments

Robert L. Wallack, November 20, 2016, American Journal of Transportation

The Pacific Northwest seaports are vying for new project cargo business from their specialized labor, new heavy lift equipment and seamless transport connections. Imported wind energy components are a growing opportunity for the Port of Vancouver USA and Port of Longview on the Columbia River and for Port of Olympia on the Salish Sea. The United States Congress extended the Production Tax Credit, which will propel the wind farm industry for years.  Transportation and logistics companies will find new business from the construction of new wind farms and by refurbishing capacity of existing sites across the United States.

Port of Vancouver USA is located 106 river miles from the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia River and stretches across 2,100 acres of marine and industrial development. Through the first six months of this year, windmill project cargo was a top category accounting for 11 million metric tons after steel, 290 tons and automobiles, 66.5 tons according from industry reports.  The port has over fifteen years experience handling wind energy project cargo and each project is unique.  “The port has maintained our status as one of the highest volume and most productive deep water ports on the United States West Coast for wind energy handling,” said Alistair Smith, chief marketing/sales officer, for the Port of Vancouver USA in a recent interview with the American Journal of Transportation.

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NWSA honored with WPPA’s Port of the Year award

November 19, 2016, American Journal of Transportation

The Washington Public Ports Association recognized The Northwest Seaport Alliance with its annual Port of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes a WPPA member port that demonstrates exceptional success in the industry. The selection committee cited the NWSA’s first-year accomplishments, including General Central Peninsula and Terminal 5 improvements, the Operations Service Center and returning cargo volumes.

“We are honored by WPPA’s recognition of our work to create jobs for our state and provide more efficient ways for exporters and manufacturers to get their products to overseas markets,” said Connie Bacon, co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “We are also grateful for the association’s continued advocacy to keep our state competitive.”

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After Tacoma Rail Line purchase, Port of Chehalis doesn’t expect big changes

Justyna Tomtas, November 18, 2016, The Chronicle

The Port of Chehalis is not expected to see significant changes after a stretch of rail it utilizes was sold to a new owner earlier this year.

In October, Western Washington Railroad purchased a 35-mile stretch of railroad from Tacoma Rail. It stretches from Rainier to Chehalis.

“The port has an obvious concern in the future of the line as it provides connection between our Curtis line to the main line at Chehalis township,” Rick Rouse, senior director of operations at the port, said.

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Kitsap County, other locals not satisfied with Gorst traffic study

Ed Friedrich, November 17, 2016, Kitsap Sun

Local leaders have numerous complaints about the direction of the latest study of traffic in Gorst, including that it doesn’t seem to be making much headway.

“It just seemed like they were taking quite a long time,” Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said. “We wanted a little more progress, to step up the pace a little.”

The Department of Transportation launched a Highway 3-Highway 16 Gorst feasibility study in January. The state ($13,500), Kitsap County ($10,000), Port of Bremerton ($10,000), Kitsap Transit ($6,000) and Port Orchard ($4,500) pitched in matching funds for a $346,000 federal grant.

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