Without ports, the general public would not have access to many of life’s basic necessities. Water is the safest, cheapest and most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Ships cause less air pollution than airplanes, trucks and trains and have the fewest accidental spills or collisions among all forms of transportation. Ports promote economic development within their respective districts and encourage commerce and trade.
The actions performed by ports reflect our trade dependent economy and provide a variety of low cost goods and services to consumers. Necessities such as fertilizer, wood, cement, petroleum, coal, chemicals and agricultural products would be impossible to export without our water highways.
The agriculture business relies heavily on water transportation to carry wheat, onions, apples, pears and other produce to other countries. Communities such as Everett pride themselves on their thriving waterfront activity and business.
Depending on the port, it may accommodate anything from recreational vessels, barges, ferries or even cruise ships. In addition to these maritime functions, ports may also expand their activities to include airports, bridges, tunnels, commuter rail systems, industrial parks, shipyards, marinas and other public recreational facilities. Commercial development also plays a vital role in port activities.
Ports may choose to develop land for economic purposes to benefit their community or to provide more public access opportunities. With economic development, ports must also find a balance with environmental regulation. Ports serve as environmental stewards to their coastlines by minimizing the impacts of their operations.
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