Washington State law enables the port district to develop many types of facilities to provide a variety of services. Most easily identified are the various transportation related amenities, such as marine terminals, storage sites, airports and other direct transportation. We also deal directly with economic development and on-water recreation. Below is an overview of a port’s role in each of these areas. For specific information on our facilities, please refer to our industrial real estate or recreation pages.
Marine Terminals Terminals, a major part of many ports’ operation, provide for the movement of ships, boats and barges in hauling goods and people in domestic and foreign commerce. These include piers, wharves, jetties, boat landings and equipment such as cranes for loading and unloading vessels and barges. Ports with marine terminals generally provide extensive storage and processing facilities related to the transfer of goods on water and land.
Airports Many ports in Washington operate airports, both large and small. Some deal only with general aviation, such as smaller, privately owned aircrafts. Others are major complexes with air passenger service and terminal facilities.
Other Direct Transportation Subject to the limitations by law, ports may operate certain railway facilities. They may provide toll bridges, tunnels, highway approaches, canals, locks, utility lines, telecommunications infrastructure, tramways, ferry service and passenger watercraft.
Law empowers Washington’s ports with broad economic development authority to bring business and jobs to their communities. Almost every Washington port pursues an aggressive program of industrial and economic development to promote employment and otherwise enhance the economy of the state and district. Ports may:
- Develop lands for industrial and commercial needs
- Provide general economic development programs
- Buy, lease and sell property
- Provide air and water pollution control works
- Operate trade centers and export trading companies
- Establish and operate foreign trade zones
- Promote tourism
- Build telecommunications infrastructure and provide wholesale telecommunications services