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Commission President Hamdi Mohamed’s Q1 Updates

Posted on April 15, 2024

As we embark on what could be a transformative 2024, our goals are set high, with a focus on fostering economic opportunities for all in our community. We aim to invigorate our local economy by creating more jobs, supporting small businesses, and driving innovations that open new markets and possibilities. This year will be about turning challenges into opportunities and ensuring that economic growth benefits everyone.

As Commission President, my 2024 priorities focus on advancing our region through strategic investments and new approaches. Key initiatives include boosting cargo capacity for the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), especially at the north harbor and Terminal 46, to create new business opportunities and support the 58,000 jobs tied to our maritime cargo operations. Collaboration with Sound Transit and other local entities is vital to preserving regional freight mobility and ensuring the safe movement of goods. I am also focused on meeting the needs of our longshoremen and trucker community, who are currently impacted by market shifts and the U.S.–China trade war.

On the aviation front, I am committed to the customer experience at SEA Airport and am working to improve ground transportation safety and efficiency and foster new partnerships like direct routes connecting SEA to India, Taiwan, and the Philippines. To serve our airport communities, I have also sponsored and passed the Sound Insulation Repair and Replacement Pilot Program order.

My economic development efforts will focus on supporting emerging maritime companies, empowering women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBEs), and expanding small business assistance. I will emphasize environmental stewardship through initiatives like the Green Cruise and Green Shipping corridors.

We will work to enhance the Port’s government-to-government relationships with tribal communities to open up new commercial, cultural, and educational opportunities. Additionally, I am bringing some good governance initiatives to the Port, aiming to improve internal systems for better accessibility and service and to boost our ability to serve King County with excellence.

Commission president reception


This year began on a personal high note as I was sworn in as Commission President for 2024. I was so humbled as I received a touching benediction from the Rev. Kelle Brown, listened to a poem written for the occasion by Sharon Nyree Williams, and looked out at all the beautiful faces in the crowd. Also, it was a great honor to have Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson speak at the event and share his kind words. We had nearly 300 people join us, including my family, community members, and labor leaders, to celebrate my first day in the new role, and I was incredibly grateful for their presence. As the first woman of color and first immigrant to be elevated as Commission President, I left that night feeling a tremendous sense of dedication to serving the people of King County.

State of the Port address

Following my swearing in ceremony was my State of the Port address; watch the video below.

Sound Insulation Repair and Replacement Pilot Program order


As the only member of the Commission who lives near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), I know from first-hand experience the impact that aircraft noise can have on a community. This is why I brought forward a Sound Insulation Repair and Replacement Pilot Program order for the first time in the Port’s history. This initiative earmarks $6.5 million for the evaluation, repair, and replacement of FAA-funded sound insulation in homes located near SEA Airport. Understanding the importance of swift action for folks whose sound insulation may no longer be effective, this order also grants the Port’s executive director explicit authority to cut red tape and begin replacement as soon as possible.

While we anticipate being able to repair approximately 30 homes in this pilot program, this order also directs the Port to compile and deliver a comprehensive report to our state and federal partners. This report will detail the scope of any sound insulation problems in the community, providing valuable insights for potential future state and federal action. Reflecting on the feedback received during a recent listening session, we made several adjustments to the order, emphasizing that $5 million in allocated funds are designated exclusively for construction costs (the remaining $1.5 million is to be used for assessing need) and setting a clear goal to commence the construction or construction planning phase by 2025. This is a step forward in our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for all residents of King County, and I am eager to see the positive impact this program will have on our community.

Special thanks to U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Adam Smith for their congressional advocacy! Following the passage of my sponsored order, we received the good news that Senator Murray successfully included $3 million in additional funding that can be used to support sound assessments in near-airport homes in the federal transportation appropriations bill.

Both provided quotes to support my sponsored order, and I am so grateful for their partnership.

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month


On January 11 I was proud to announce a significant expansion of our anti-human trafficking initiative, as prominent Port maritime and cruise partners, including Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, and others, signed the Port Allies Against Human Trafficking (PAAHT) pledge. This significant move, building on the pledge program’s initial launch with airline and tenant partners at SEA in 2023, marks a shift as the Port works to combat human trafficking across all of our lines of business.

The initiative includes comprehensive awareness campaigns, staff training to recognize and report trafficking signs, and a new QR code tool for victims to report their situations and understand their rights. In my remarks at the announcement, I reinforced the Port’s commitment to serve as a regional and national leader in anti-trafficking efforts and public education.

Clean truck charging grant


Our near-Port communities shoulder a disproportionate share of the impacts of Port operations, something that I have personally experienced as a longtime resident of South King County. This is why I am committed to greening the Port’s operations to the maximum extent possible and am laser-focused on anything we can do to change a status quo that sees too many poor health outcomes in South King County. I was so excited to join U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (my former boss!) at a recent announcement of $12 million in funding for battery-powered electric truck charging hubs for the Northwest Seaport Alliance.

This federal funding, secured by Representative Jayapal from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will directly aid the ports of Seattle and Tacoma in reducing emissions and improving air quality. The funding will facilitate the creation of charging hubs to support about 300 of the 4,500 heavy-duty trucks operating in our ports. Please know that I am committed to doing everything in my power to transition all of these trucks to clean energy, in time to meet our climate goals.

Securing $60+ million in Port upgrades


It was an incredible honor to welcome Senator Murray and provide her with a tour of our Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA). We extend our heartfelt thanks to her for championing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is bringing significant federal funding to upgrade and green our ports!

Senator Murray’s leadership and unwavering support have been instrumental in securing vital funding for our port infrastructure. Thanks to her efforts, the Port of Tacoma’s Husky Terminal expansion project received a $54 million grant from the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $12 million from the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program to develop electric truck charging hubs at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

The NWSA deeply appreciates Senator Murray’s dedication to increasing federal investment in our ports. This additional funding is not only enhancing our competitive infrastructure but also bolstering our workforce and facilitating the equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

Senator Murray’s support is driving positive change and progress in our region’s maritime industry. We look forward to continued collaboration and advancements as we work together toward a sustainable and prosperous future for our ports and communities. When you see Senator Murray, please join me in saying, “Thank you, Senator Murray, for your ongoing commitment to our Northwest ports and clean energy initiatives!”

Welcoming U.S. Deputy Secretary Don Graves


I had the opportunity to join ILWU Local 23 in supporting a tour of Terminal 7 (South Harbor) with Deputy Secretary Don Graves of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce plays a crucial role in promoting economic growth and job creation in the United States. It fosters a competitive business environment, supports technological innovation, and ensures fair trade practices.

During the tour, we emphasized the significance of our ports’ cargo operation, which supports 58,000 jobs directly and tens of thousands more indirectly through farms and other businesses that utilize our ports. I also shared insights about our gateway as one of the Commissioners responsible for its oversight. We discussed the importance of advancing and improving U.S. trade policy, advocating for policies that preserve and enhance the benefits of trade. In 2022, the value of the NWSA’s two-way international trade exceeded $70 billion, with imports totaling $55.4 billion and exports at $14.9 billion. Seattle-Tacoma’s role as “The Gateway to Alaska” is pivotal, handling over 80% of trade between Alaska and the Lower 48 states.

While the Department of Commerce isn’t the lead agency for trade policy, it holds significant responsibilities in this area, which we discussed during our tour. Some of its key roles include helping U.S. businesses develop overseas markets for exports, promoting foreign investment, and managing trade enforcement. Overall, there have been notable positive strides at the federal level in recent years, including the infrastructure bill and successful grants supporting our supply chain infrastructure. These developments are encouraging for ports like ours, and we remain hopeful for further progress toward fair trade practices.

India drops tariffs: A win for Washington agriculture


I had the honor of extending a warm welcome to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, esteemed representatives from Washington’s vibrant agricultural industry, and India Consul General Prakash Gupta at Terminal 46 as we celebrated the end of India’s tariffs on U.S. apples. In my roles as the Port of Seattle Commission President and the Co-Chair of the NWSA, I take immense pride in being part of pivotal moments that underscore the critical role the Port plays in supporting agricultural exports.

During our gathering, I emphasized the NWSA’s status as one of the nation’s top-ranked ports for agricultural trade tonnage. Our Port’s distinction as the second-ranked hub for refrigerated exports and the primary gateway for apple and potato exports highlights its vital contributions to Washington’s economy.

As a Commissioner, I am aware of the challenges faced by our agricultural community due to trade tariffs, which significantly impacted growers in our state and had negative repercussions for our national economy. With 40% of Washington jobs dependent on trade, it is imperative that we maintain competitive ports. As Commissioner, I am committed to making strategic investments in infrastructure, preserving the capacity of freight corridors and industrial lands near our port facilities, and providing best-in-class service to sustain and grow maritime jobs now and in the future.

However, despite our investments and excellent service, the absence of a strategic trade policy can undermine our successes in these areas. The impact of India’s tariffs on Washington’s apple growers serves as a stark reminder of this reality. Last year, only 363 containers bound for India crossed our docks, a marked contrast to the 11,000 TEUs in 2018.

Due to the actions of our delegation, this year marks a new beginning and hopefully a return to those pre-pandemic numbers! We are immensely grateful to Senator Cantwell for her leadership in helping to eliminate these harmful tariffs. As we navigate these evolving trade landscapes, I am confident that our collaborative efforts will pave the way for a prosperous future for our port and the communities it serves.

SEA 75th Anniversary


In a year of firsts, I enjoyed also taking a look back at the heritage of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) as I helped to kick off SEA’s 75th Anniversary celebrations. We are commemorating this milestone in regional aviation history by unveiling a special anniversary logo and entering into a yearlong partnership with the Museum of Flight.

Throughout the year, passengers will be treated to a variety of in-terminal events including music, entertainment, and art, celebrating SEA’s pivotal role in the community since its inception in 1949. The anniversary activities aim to honor SEA’s longstanding commitment to promoting economic opportunities and enhancing quality of life in the region.

First quarter wrap-up: It’s been special

From ribbon-cutting events to community meetings to speaking at the 96th Annual Blessing of the Fleet and enjoying a sweet cupcake from my little constituent Holden, to spending time with community volunteers pulling ivy from a near-airport forest site, this first quarter has been fun, insightful, and proactive! I am passionate about my role as a Commissioner, and my commitment is to keep you updated on what I am up to on your behalf.



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