The governing commissions of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma will meet again privately Tuesday to discuss their planned operating alliance.
The 8:30 a.m. meeting at the Fabulich Center in Tacoma is one of a long series of confidential meetings the two publicly elected commissions have held over the past 18 months to discuss forming an alliance to market and operate the two ports’ marine terminals as a single entity.
An Olympia public interest watchdog has sued the two ports contending the private meetings violated the state’s Open Public Meetings Act, but a King County Superior Court judge ruled the meetings, conducted under authority of the Federal Maritime Commission, were legal. Arthur West, the plaintiff in the open meetings suit, has appealed the judge’s ruling.
The two ports are forming an alliance to better compete against rival ports for a share of the import and export traffic coming to and going from the United States. Puget Sound has been losing market share in that trade to Canadian and Southern California ports and faces further challenges from East and Gulf coast ports that expect more business to and from Asia will use their ports once the Panama Canal opens a wider passage for larger ships next year.