Port of Tacoma

Tacoma Tideflats: Feasibility for Next Generation Connectivity

Published in January 2022, Washington Maritime Blue led a Tacoma Tideflats 5G Network Feasibility Study comprising 78 stakeholder interviews across 19 public and private entities. This comprehensive study uncovered essential use cases for next generation connectivity efficiency potential in the Tacoma Tideflats area. The study aimed to understand the challenges faced in the Tideflats, develop use cases related to current and future challenges, and create a blueprint for a cutting-edge private 5G network.

According to the full report published by Washington Maritime Blue, four key themes emerged from the study.

  • Orchestration and Efficiency: The study focuses on leveraging data and technology to create efficiency and transparency across the Tideflats, offering an end-to-end view of the supply chain and enabling collaborative working methods.
  • Infrastructure Modernization: The study underscores the importance of improving physical and virtual infrastructure, addressing equipment movement, traffic management, connectivity dead zones, siloed data, manual processes, and cybersecurity.
  • Improving Safety: Safety concerns for workers and the community drive the desire to explore new operational methods prioritizing safety in the Tideflats area.
  • Enabling a Sustainable Future: The study advocates putting ecological and community health at the forefront of Tacoma Tideflats operations, technologies, and processes, emphasizing the importance of sustainability.

The report also details important next steps and recommendations.

Washington Maritime Blue performed network capacity planning and traffic modeling to create a visual topography of the Tideflats.

Pilot a Private 5G Network: This involves establishing a network proof-of-concept (POC) zone and testing key use cases to demonstrate the potential benefits to a broader group.

Center for Urban Waters & 5G Open Innovation Lab for Ports [Opportunity 1]: Dense coverage and edge computing hardware should be deployed in Zone 1 of the network layout. This will enable innovators and startups to access a private network and apply IoT technology to blue economy sectors, positioning Tacoma as a leading region for tech development.

Husky Terminal [Opportunity 2]: Building dense coverage in Zone 4 allows for early adoption and pilot use cases for Husky Terminal. This will demonstrate the value of the network for their operations, generate valuable data sets, and create opportunities for current and future solution providers.

Other Interested Port Operator or Manufacturer [Opportunity 3]: If another early adopter is identified during the planning phase, the network can provide appropriate coverage based on the proposed use cases, expanding the network’s benefits to additional stakeholders.

Through knowledge sharing, collaborative project development, and fostering an ecosystem for innovation, the feasibility study shows that the Tacoma Tideflats can achieve a shared vision of a sustainable and equitable economy and port community. These recommendations and next steps lay the foundation for implementing a private 5G network and driving progress toward this vision.

At a Glance

Feasibility Study

Washington Maritime Blue and 5G Open Innovation Lab conducted a feasibility study for a private 5G network at the Tacoma Tideflats.

Private 5G Networks

The study identifies business benefits and enterprise scenarios that can be enabled by private 5G networks in port and maritime operations.


The Tacoma Tideflats aims to establish itself as an innovation and sustainability trailblazer in the maritime industry.

Key Themes

The study highlights four key themes: orchestration and efficiency, infrastructure modernization, improving safety, and enabling a sustainable future.

Cutting Edge Technology

Less than ten ports worldwide currently offer the speed, stability, security, and scalability of a private 5G network.


The study involved collaboration with partners such as Avanade, Amdocs, the City of Tacoma, and the Washington State Department of Commerce.

“The implementation of a private 5G network would establish the infrastructure for those working in the Tideflats today to utilize the technology they’re envisioning for the next decade and beyond.”

Joshua Berger, Founder and CEO of Washington Maritime Blue.

Project Partners