The Port of Tacoma Commission Thursday set high goals for business development over the next decade as it approved the framework of a new long-range strategic plan.
The plan, more than a year in its development, tasks the port with fulfilling several major measurable tasks:
• Double its principal business, container shipping, by 2022.
• Pump up breakbulk shipping by 30 percent in the next 10 years.
• Increase auto imports by 20 percent in the next decade.
• Double dry bulk import and exports to 12 million metric tons. Dry bulk goods are such commodities as grain and gypsum.
While the plan calls for significant increases in port traffic, it sets parallel goals for financial performance and job creation:
• Bolster its operating margin by 30 percent.
• Increase its net income by 50 percent.
• Improve return on assets by 35 percent.
• Increase direct port-related jobs by 4,700 and indirect port-related jobs by 2,000.
Part of the plan also sets targets for environmental achievements, including reducing diesel emissions tied to cargo operations by 85 percent from 2005 levels and cleaning up 200 more acres of port-owned land contaminated with industrial wastes.
The plan approved unanimously in a 32-minute special meeting Thursday calls for quarterly and annual reports to track how the port is progressing in achieving those goals.
The goals and others not as easily numerically measurable will be tied to non-union port workers’ individual raises under a new scheme recently initiated by Port of Tacoma Chief Executive John Wolfe and approved by the elected commission. That pay-for-performance plan will roll out in its full detail later this summer.
The skeleton of the strategic plan presented for commission approval Thursday by port Senior Director of Facilities Development Sue Mauermann is designed to be what Mauermann said is a “roadmap for the future.” The plan’s creation took more than a year of staff work, consultant help and public hearings to create. It still lacks a full-blown specific implementation plan. That plan is being completed and will be rolled out later this month at a port breakfast and in early May in printed form. The port said it created the plan because changing economic conditions and competitive concerns required it to take a fresh look at its strategy of moving forward.
The port has lost about 25 percent of its bread-and-butter container business since the middle of the last decade. Commissioner Don Meyer said he wants subsequent versions of the plan and its implementing documents to emphasize even more clearly the role that labor will play in meeting the port’s goals.
Meyer said the commission is dedicated to seeing that the plan doesn’t become what he called “shelf art,” a glossy plan that looks good on the shelf but is seldom consulted.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663