The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has voted to approve lease agreements and authorise construction on the Terminal 5 modernisation programme to remain competitive in the shipping industry and expand cargo-handling capabilities.
Once phase one of construction is complete in 2021, LLC, a joint venture entity owned by Seattle Terminals (SSA Terminals) and Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) will begin operating at Terminal 5.
Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA, said: “The modernisation of Terminal 5 represents a transformative investment in our region to support our state’s economy.
“These actions will ensure robust and competitive marine cargo and maritime industrial activities in our harbour for the next 30 years, sustaining and creating family-wage jobs and economic opportunity for the region.”
The deal, including the future Phase II, represents approximately a half-billion dollars in private and public investment in the region’s economy.
The size of vessels that call at the facility have grown over the years from 4,800 teu ships in 1997 to 14,000 teu in 2019 and, through the modernisation project, Terminal 5 will be able handle Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs).
This will help to provide a critical link for Washington state exports to Asian markets, both for agricultural products and containerised cargo for customers such as Paccar and Starbucks.
CEO and president of Anderson Hay & Grain Co. Inc. Mark Anderson said: “The exporter community in Washington state relies on the NWSA to get our goods to foreign markets.
“Without a robust import trade, our export trade becomes much more difficult. Investments like the Terminal 5 modernisation end up supporting well-paying jobs across the state.”
To optimise marine cargo efficiency across the Seattle harbour, international cargo will be realigned as the new facility takes shape.
Matson’s Hawaii service will relocate to the south berth at Terminal 5 while the north berth is under construction, which will create additional room at Terminal 30 for international container cargo.
The managing members also approved the amendment to the current lease at Terminal 18, which will now introduce conditional consent for the lease to be assigned to the new joint venture and waive a yard fee.
To allow for international container cargo to be realigned to Terminal 18, the current Terminal 46 lease with TTI will terminate early.
This presents the opportunity for the Port of Seattle to operate a cruise berth on the property, while the remaining, large section of the property will be utilised for breakbulk or project cargo.
ZIM Ningbo has joined the 2M trans-Pacific service calling at Terminal 46 and will have four of its own vessels in the weekly ZP9 service with increased capacity to serve the NSWA.
The ZP9 service marks the first regular call of ZIM vessels at the NSWA since the spring of 2017.
Vice president of Zim USA’s west coast branch, Elise Ha, said: “ZIM is looking forward to bringing our vessels back to the NWSA’s harbour, enabling us to expand our service capability in this important market.”
The new weekly rotation will consist of the following ports: Kaoshuing, Xiamen, Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, Vancouver, Seattle, Yokohama, Pusan and Kaohsiung.