NWSA establishes cargo and service incentive programme

NWSA establishes cargo and service incentive programme

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has established a comprehensive cargo and service incentive programme to increase international container rail freight volumes and improve service delivery in the Seattle and Tacoma harbours.

The programme’s $11 million in incentives aims to enhance intermodal cargo volumes, improve vessel schedule reliability and expand marine terminal operations.

On 2 April, the Managing Members approved the incentives, which were carefully crafted in response to market demand and distributed to assist certain locations in the supply chain.

Starting 1 May, the incentives will comprise the Voyage Consistency & On-Time Arrival Award Programme, the International Container Rail Cargo Incentive, and a Gate Operations Incentive.

READ: NWSA secures $12 million for truck charging stations

The NWSA offers various incentives to ocean carriers, including:

  • Voyage Consistency & On-Time Arrival Award Program. This programme aims to compensate carriers for keeping up with dependable trip schedules effectively promoting consistency and punctuality. With a total award fund of $1 million, the top three ocean carriers that meet the programme’s consistency requirements will be publicly recognised and may be eligible for cash incentives ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.
  • International Container Rail Cargo Incentive. This $8 million incentive intends to increase intermodal rail cargo traffic to and from interior US markets. The NWSA will pay $100 per lift for extra year-over-year (YoY) rail traffic at our gateway. Intermodal freight on both the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads is eligible, as is cargo transported via inland rail terminals connected to the NWSA gateway.
  • Gate Operation Incentive. Recognising the vital role of gate operations in maintaining efficient cargo movement, improved trucker experience and less effect on nearby communities, the NWSA will invest $2 million to simplify terminal operations with five-day gates and extended gate hours. Marine terminals that adhere to consistent gate hours and provide extended gate services will be eligible for financing.

READ: NWSA volumes show small jump in February

Kristin Ang, Port of Tacoma Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair, emphasized the collaborative nature of the initiative: “The Northwest Seaport Alliance is committed to providing best-in-class service for shippers, which requires partnership across multiple supply chain stakeholders.

“By incentivising increased rail cargo, on-time vessel performance, and marine terminal gate consistency, we can better serve our import and export customers and the local trucking community who utilise our gateway.”

Hamdi Mohamed, Port of Seattle Commission President and NWSA Co-Chair, added: “By targeting the incentives toward three key parts of the supply chain, we can drive increased cargo volumes, schedule reliability, and operational efficiency.”

This programme builds on the 2023 Rail Incentive Program, which produced over 54,000 lifts and accounted for 15 per cent of international intermodal train cargo in 2023.

When administering the incentive programme, the NWSA will regularly assess its success and consider its potential continuance in 2025.

In February, NWSA Terminal 46 welcomed the Glovis vessel Silver Sky, which transports autos to Canada.

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