To emphasize the Alaska connection, members of the Chamber's Alaska Committee invited Pierce County's state legislators and members and support staff of the transportation committees for an Alaska-Port-Industry Tour.
Some 12 legislators and support staff accepted the opportunity to learn more about the Alaska connection and the vital role transportation performs in the delivery of goods and services through our community. Although a full afternoon was set aside, only a small representative sample - three local companies and the Port of Tacoma - could be featured.
Still the mix was there. The Port of Tacoma provided an overall perspective both because of its complex operations and hosting of tenants which market Alaska. Still the Port (with a capital "P") is just an (integral) part of the mosaic of firms in the port-industrial area.
Legislators view operations in the Schnitzer yard.
Schnitzer is representative of firms which own their plant site and terminal. An "importer" of scrap from various parts of Alaska, including their own yard in Anchorage, Schnitzer is a green industry solely involved in recycling of ferrous metals. And their message to the legislators: legislative action like the proviso for the heavy haul corridor in the recent transportation capital budget allows the company to expand its transportation options for more efficient operations.
Carlile Transportation, the site of the luncheon briefing, also presented a plant tour - on "moving day." That Friday, trucks were bringing loads for shipment on the TOTE vessel in port for a turn-around to Alaska. Carlile estimated their docks would cycle three times before loading of the TOTE vessel was completed that night.
Of course, a tour through the TOTE yard and offices at their Port of Tacoma terminal gave graphic testimony to the volumes staged for the loading and unloading of the TOTE vessel. It was a wonder to all on the tour, and yet access was only possible because the actual movements were taking place later that evening.
With the visit to the three various companies came the opportunity to see other Alaska and transportation links with the patch-work of public (Port of Tacoma and its tenants) and privately-owned business. Included in the tour were the Lincoln Ave. grade separation, the Husky, WUT and Horizon Lines terminals.