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Washington, May 23, 1938. To: Alfred H. Haag, Director, Division of Research. From: E. P. Cotter, Port Survey Project, Division of Research. Subject: Port Series No. 28, the ports of Everett, Bellingham, and

Grays Harbor, Wash. Section 8 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 requires the United States Maritime Commission, in cooperation with the Secretary of War, to investigate port facilities and the flow of commerce through ports in order to encourage their use by vessels engaged in the domestic and foreign trades of the United States.

Under the cooperative arrangement with the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, the second revision of this volume on the ports of Everett, Bellingham, and Grays Harbor, Wash., which is Port Series No. 28, has been completed. In accordance with the arrangements between the War Department and the Maritime Commission the material on port customs and regulations, port labor and procedure employed in handling cargo, port and terminal services and charges, steamship services, rates and rate conferences, and territory tributary, was prepared in the port survey project of this division by Roderick S. O'Connor, examiner.

Recommendation is made that this material, the manuscript of which is transmitted herewith, be approved for publication.


Port Survey Project, Division of Research. Approved:

ALFRED H. HAAG, Director, Division of Research.

INTRODUCTION This is a second revision of the report on the ports of Everett, Bellingham, and Grays Harbor, Wash., which was last published in 1931 as part 3 of Port Series No. 7 and is now issued as Port Series No. 28. It is one of a series of reports on the principal ports of the United States, prepared to meet the needs of the War Department and the United States Maritime Commission in the development of harbors and the encouragement and betterment of port facilities, with a view to the promotion of water transportation and the American merchant marine, and to assist commercial and shipping interests in the upbuilding of American trade.

The War Department is charged by law with the planning and improvement of our harbors and navigable channels, and jointly with the Maritime Commission is required to undertake investigations of ports and terminals and of the territory tributary to ports, and to advise with communities regarding the appropriate location and plan of construction of wharves, piers, and water terminals; to investigate the practicability and advantages of harbor, river, and port improvements; and to investigate any other matter that may tend to promote and encourage the use by vessels of ports adequate to care for the freight which would naturally pass through such ports.

Before establishing shipping agencies the manufacturer must consider every factor influencing the prompt and economical movement of his products. Traffic does not always follow the shortest route, nor that having the lowest line-haul rate, but it will usually be found that there are sound reasons for this seeming disregard of economy. Frequently the principal of these reasons is to be found at the port. In order to attract business, a port must first provide the facilities essential for handling the particular commodities which it is likely to be offered, and this requires a detailed study of production and consumption within the territory naturally tributary to the port and the provision of equipment especially designed to meet the several requirements of this traffic. The ships calling, or likely to call, at the port must be studied in the endeavor to provide the facilities and render the service which will permit their more rapid turn around. The railroad situation is frequently a controlling element in port

There should be ample trackage serving the terminal or terminals, with the most economical interchange both between the several railroads entering the port and between these railroads and the ship. Not only should the physical characteristics of the terminal with regard to the coordination between railroad and ship be examined, but the railroad rates should be scrutinized, as in various instances a commensurate utilization of a port has been rendered impracticable by unfavorable rate conditions.


The absence of any one essential may prevent what should be an economical route or port from securing its tributary business. The trouble may be lack of adequate terminals, the absence of inaccessibility of storage facilities, the imposition of excessive switching or terminal charges, the absence of repair or docking facilities, the lack of well-balanced cargoes and frequent sailings, or other conditions affecting the movement of goods through the port and ability of vessels to earn a fair revenue. Port coordination and management are apt to play a considerable part in the success or failure of the port community to attract and hold business. Where possible the control of all deep-water frontage by the public, as represented by the State or municipality, including the ownership and operation of a beltline railroad connecting all rail lines and all terminals, is a practical solution of the coordination problem and is an effective remedy for many

of the ills that now exist. Ports should not have to depend upon the good will or selfish interests of either railroads or steamship lines to develop business. The railroads may prefer to have the business go elsewhere, and the water carriers could scarcely be expected to undertake extensive operations designed to bring goods to a particular port. In other words, the development of traffic should be regarded as one of the permanent functions of the port itself. Among the important objects, therefore, which it is hoped to attain from this series of reports is a more general appreciation of the benefits to be derived from the adoption of a comprehensive plan and policy for the development and utilization of the port.

Acknowledgment is made of the cooperation and assistance rendered by various port organizations, shipping interests, facility owners, city officials, and other local interests in the work of compiling data for inclusion in this report.







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