Seattle, WA — The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has moved a step closer to welcoming containership giants as it authorized Terminal 5 construction and lease agreements on April 2.
The deal, including future Phase II commitment, represents approximately US$500 in private and public investment in the region’s economy, according to NWSA.
In addition, an interlocal agreement was approved, allowing the Port of Seattle to use a portion of Terminal 46 for a cruise berth.
The modernization of Terminal 5 “will ensure robust and competitive marine cargo and maritime industrial activities in our harbor for the next 30 years, sustaining and creating family-wage jobs and economic opportunity for the region,” said Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA.
The ports have faced stiff competition for shipping routes, especially from Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The latter just topped the 1 million container mark, with a plan to do 1.8 million standard containers by 2022.
“Terminal 5 will be able to handle the largest marine cargo vessels now being deployed in the Asia-Pacific trade route quickly and efficiently, providing a critical link for Washington state exports to Asian markets,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of the NWSA.
Vessels regularly visiting the gateway have grown in capacity from 4,800 TEUs in 1997 to 14,000 TEUs today.
The lease package approved by NWSA would see SSA Terminals (Seattle Terminals) start operating the Terminal 5 once phase one construction is complete in 2021. The current lease at Terminal 18 would be amended to introduce conditional consent for the lease to be assigned to the new joint venture (SSA Terminals and TIL) and waive a rail yard fee.
The current Terminal 46 lease with TTI will terminate early, allowing international container cargo to be realigned to Terminal 18. This presents the opportunity for Port of Seattle to operate a cruise berth on a portion of the property with breakbulk or project cargo on the remaining, larger section of property.