At a special dual meeting on Tuesday (Nov 13), the Managing Members of The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NSWA) adopted a budget for 2019 as well as a five-year capital investment plan. The budget and investment plan allow for terminal modernization to accommodate larger vessels and retain a competitive position in the global marketplace. The budget also includes environmental and business development investments.
“With the adoption of this budget, we are sending a clear message to the industry and our communities that The Northwest Seaport Alliance is working,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA. “It allows us to make transformative investments in our harbors so we are competitive in the global marketplace, attracting jobs and retaining the economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest.”
“Now in its third year, The Northwest Seaport Alliance remains strong,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission vice president and co-chair of the NWSA. “Our partnership with the Port of Seattle is good not only for our local communities but for manufacturers and farmers across the nation. This budget ensures the alliance will continue to benefit our region well into the future.”
Planned capital improvements take the NWSA one step closer to transforming Seattle’s Terminal 5 into a premier international container facility on the West Coast. The Managing Members passed a motion authorizing CEO John Wolfe to prepare a lease, bidding documents and a request for construction funds for the necessary upgrades. Final negotiations with a potential tenant are currently underway.
Improvements to T-5 will include dock and power upgrades and berth deepening to handle the world’s largest cargo ships. Currently, T-5 can handle vessels with a capacity of up to 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), but shipping lines are now investing in vessels with 18,000 TEU capacity or greater.
Modernizations at T-5 bring environmental benefits as well, allowing creosote-treated wooden piles to be replaced with a panelized fender system and increasing the electrical capacity of the terminal for quieter, cleaner operations.
A negotiated lease and a request to initiate construction are expected to come to the Managing Members for approval in the first quarter of 2019.