Members will work with international maritime industry consultant DNV GL on a statewide strategy.

The year-long, in-depth strategy development, “Washington Maritime Blue”, was made possible by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the state Department of Commerce.

“Blue economy” regards the development of maritime business, technology and practices that grow a sustainable future, contributing to ecological health, thriving communities and economic growth.

Maritime Blue has three key objectives:

  • The Washington Maritime Blue strategy is intended to ensure Washington state is home to the most sustainable maritime industry by 2050, aligned with Gov. Inslee’s plans for deep de-carbonization, innovation and workforce development.
  • Support strong blue technology cluster coordination, forming strategic alliances, growth in trade, and increased jobs.
  • Support development of the Washington Maritime Innovation Center at the Port of Seattle, in cooperation with the Port of Seattle and the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab.

Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, said: “Washington’s $37.8 billion maritime industry strengthens communities all over the state by employing a diverse workforce of nearly 70,000. Building on our strengths, our goal is to lead the world in creating a green, efficient, sustainable maritime sector that will serve as a model for the rest of the country.”

The so-called “blue economy” experiences an uptake around the world, from ships running with electric engines to port efficiency and ocean research.

Studies expects that in the coming years , scientific and technological advances will play an important role in addressing ocean-related environmental challenges and ocean-based economic activities.

David Walker, group chief development officer of the Norway-based consulting firm DNV GL, concluded: “Across the globe, maritime clusters are shaping developments that will set the future direction for a sustainable industry. The movement to de-carbonization and clean technology innovation is upon us, environmentally friendly fuels and electric propulsion are a reality, and digitalization is transforming the way we operate. Rather than view technology and innovation as simply tools to address the challenges we face in the maritime industry, we must instead work together to embrace the opportunities they offer for a sustainable and prosperous society.”