WORLD BANK WILL STUDY TACOMA PORT OPERATIONS FINDINGS TO AID AREAS IN NEED

WORLD BANK WILL STUDY TACOMA PORT OPERATIONS FINDINGS TO AID AREAS IN NEED

The World Bank, which each year loans hundreds of millions of dollars to ports in developing countries, says it will be sending a team of its port executives to study the Port of Tacoma.

John R. Lethbridge, the bank's adviser on seaport and airport projects, said 15 financial analysts, transportation economists and engineers from the bank's staff in Washington, D.C., will spend the week of June 11 taking a firsthand look at the rapidly growing port.Each year, the global bank seeks to have a selected group of its specialists spend a week at a major port somewhere in the world, Mr. Lethbridge said. The experts use their findings to help develop ports in more needy areas.

In the last few years, the World Bank has studied operations at ports in Baltimore; Rouen and Le Havre, France; Hamburg, West Germany, and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Tacoma, which handled 109,000 20-foot containers or their equivalent in 1980 and is expected to handle about 965,000 TEUs this year, was chosen

because it moves several different types of cargo - containers, breakbulk, logs, auto, grain and other dry bulk, Mr. Lethbridge said.

"Tacoma has the right mix of activities, a mix of port-operated and leased facilities, and a reputation for being a port that's well-run," he said.

The World Bank port staff expects to learn from Tacoma more about the latest developments in container terminal construction and intermodal handling of cargo, Mr. Lethbridge said.

Between a quarter and a third of the $2 billion that the World Bank lends each year goes into port construction and multimodal transportation projects, he said. Some of the bank's biggests loans are for port development in China, which still has a shortage of port capacity, he said.

That contrasts with the situation in much of the rest of the world. Many ports in Latin America, for example, have a surplus of port capacity, but most of that capacity is designed for the handling of general cargo, he said.

The World Bank is actively involved in helping such ports convert their capacity to handle containers or bulk materials, Mr. Lethbridge said.

Pat O'Malley, president of the Tacoma port commission, said the Puget Sound port is pleased to be chosen to show the World Bank its operations, noting that the Tacoma port also hopes to learn more about the bank.

"Education is a two-way street," he said.

In the past, experts at ports visited by the World Bank were sometimes asked to become consultants on international projects, Mr. Lethbridge said. The bank also has adapted techniques and programs from ports in industrialized nations for use at less-developed ports that are borrowing World Bank funds.

Managers at developed ports sometimes also have learned from the World Bank staff how to design projects to make better financial sense, he said.

The World Bank not only provides financing to its agencies in less- developed countries, but the bank's port staff often provides advise on planning, infrastructure development, management and operations.