This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
The Port of Tacoma faces some tough challenges, the biggest of which – the global economy – is beyond anyone’s control.
But one of its problems could be fixed relatively easily by Congress. A perverse federal harbor fee puts both Seattle and Tacoma at a disadvantage compared to the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert in British Columbia. U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, has been looking at a legislative solution; we hope he’ll act soon.
The fee in question is the Harbor Maintenance Tax, .125 percent of the value of cargo imported through U.S. ports. Port of Tacoma officials estimate that it adds an average of at least $150 to the cost of every container unloaded in Puget Sound. Canada imposes no such tax, and the $150 or more that shippers save by going through British Columbia amounts to a big penalty against Tacoma and Seattle. Read more »