Washington State: Supporting Shipper Success

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Washington State is known for more than their apple production and abundant forests; the geography and talent within the area has equipped shippers with possibilities to better service their customers. Business within the state continues to grow and their economy continues to prosper, growing two and a half times the national average in 2016. Just last year, the state was recognized as America’s Top State for Business.1

Domestic and International Shipping Opportunities

Geographically, the Washington area is attractive for shippers looking to ship both domestic and international. Bordering Canada, Washington offers access to both United States and Canadian markets. Domestically, the area connecting to major rail lines and highways. The Puget Sound along the West Coast, also serves as a major gateway to Alaska. In fact, more than 80 percent of total trade volume between Alaska and the lower states move through the Washington area.2

Port Access

The Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle, also located on the Puget Sound, have come together to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance where the area is jointly managed to strengthen the service within the region. The gateway is big ship-ready and equipped with modern cargo equipment.3 This past year, the ports have handled more than $75/3 billion in international trade. The sound connects freight, both domestically and internationally, to the second largest concentration of distribution centers on the West Coast.4

Distribution Throughout the Area

Tightened capacity is impacting warehousing across the United States, and Washington has some of the lowest vacancy rates. The current industrial vacancy rate in the area is 2.7 percent, much less than the national average of 4.8 percent.5  Benefiting from the seaports, nearby airports, and proximity to the border, setting up distribution solutions in the area provides shippers with opportunities to better service their customers.

Access to Top Talent

With such a large distribution footprint and active port, it’s no surprise that 40 percent of jobs within the state is tied to trade.6 However, the workforce throughout the state has also been recognized as the nation’s largest concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers. Nearly one in ten people work within the STEM professions7. Seattle, also the largest city in the state, was recognized in the number two spot on CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard which ranks 50 U.S. and Canadian markets according to their ability to attract and grow tech talent.8

With top talent and proximity to numerous markets, shippers are utilizing the State of Washington to optimize their supply chain networks and provide better service to their customers. Although capacity is tight throughout the distribution market, shippers can utilize third party logistics providers to grow their network into the area.



  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/washington-is-americas-top-state-for-business-in-2017.html
  2. https://www.portoftacoma.com/
  3. https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/stats-stories/economic-impact
  4. https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/about
  5. http://www.us.jll.com/united-states/en-us/research/property/industrial-and-logistics/outlook
  6. https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/about
  7. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/11/washington-is-americas-top-state-for-business-in-2017.html
  8. https://www.cbre.us/about/media-center/seattle-retains-number-2-ranking-on-cbres-annual-scoring-tech-talent-report