On October 20, I tuned into the Port of Seattle’s 2022 Maritime and Economic Development Budget Community Briefing.
Founded in 1911, the Port of Seattle is a public agency that oversees the region’s airport and seaport. The maritime division includes its recreational boating, fishing, marine environment and cruise operations. It’s a major landholder as well.
My younger self would be shocked by my current interest in budgets but they tell you a lot and shape an organization’s short and long term impact.
I’m still spending time with the proposed budget, but here’s what stood out to me at the briefing:
- The Port, like many, took a hit in 2020. It’s now riding out the other pandemic-triggered trends from supply chain disruption to workforce uncertainty. The theme of the proposed 2022 budget is “Connecting to recovery” and the idea persisted throughout the presentation. It also signaled future inequity: ”Recovery looks promising but uneven.”
- The graph depicting the number of cruise sailings took a literal nose dive in 2020. Another graphic lists “Increased concerns on impact of Cruise” as a threat. However, the Port is counting on revenue provided by the cruise business to fund capital projects, maintaining infrastructure and offsetting less profitable businesses. The proposed budget projects 2022 sailings, and associated revenue, returning to almost 2019 levels. The budget does not include funds for a 4th cruise berth which was a possibility.
- Almost $45 million budgeted for major maritime capital projects including these which are in the design phase:
- Pier 66 Shore Power — involving a sizable submarine cable!
- Terminal 91 Berths 6 and 8 Redevelopment — “Not as sexy as a cruise terminal…but will really make a difference for our fishing fleet,” said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director of the Maritime Division. 🎣
- Terminal 91 Uplands Development — adding light industrial space to lease
- Fishermen’s Terminal Maritime Innovation Center — the physical manifestation of the Port’s maritime innovation initiatives
Photo: Shilshole Bay Marina, one of Port of Seattle’s five marinas. (Cara Kuhlman Photo)