The Terminal 5 Modernization Program was initially launched in 2016 and aimed to expand gateway cargo capacity and enable both the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to handle the largest vessels in Transpacific trade.
The MSC Monterey has now become the first vessel to call at the terminal since phase one of the program allowed cargo ships to call at the gateway. Four new Super Post-Panamax cranes were ready to work the ship upon its arrival.
The new facility was launched in July 2019 after managing members of the NWSA and SSA Marine invested approximately half a billion dollars. This investment is set to increase cargo capacity and job opportunities in the Puget Sound region through renovating two reconfigured berths to support larger cranes, on-dock rail, 1,500 refrigerated plugins, and shore power capabilities.
“The opening of Terminal 5 will add an additional berth to our gateway at a time when the supply chain is under increased pressure. We are the only gateway bringing additional berth capacity to our harbours on the West Coast at this critical time,” said Don Meyer, President of the Port of Tacoma Commission and NWSA Co-Chair. “By adding additional deep-water terminal space, we can serve the largest vessels in the industry and increase cargo volumes that benefit our local, state, and regional economy for years to come.”
Ed DeNike, President of SSA Terminals, added “We are proud to have invested alongside and worked with the Northwest Seaport Alliance to bring on this much needed additional T5 terminal capacity. Larger ships and increased volume are coming, and we want to be ahead of the curve in meeting customers’ needs.”
Ryan Calkins, President of the Port of Seattle Commission and NWSA Co-Chair, also commented “The modernisation of Terminal 5 was a strategic decision made by managing members at the establishment of the NWSA. The opening phase of Terminal 5 is a significant milestone for our gateway. This investment will increase our ports’ competitiveness, support additional maritime jobs, and reduce our environmental impact by enabling ships to use shore power rather than running their generators while at berth.”
Phase two of the Modernization Program is underway with operations in the south berth expected to start in mid-2023. At full completion, Terminal 5 will boast 185-acres of additional capacity and will help increase opportunities for agriculture exporters from the mid-west and eastern Washington to move their goods to overseas markets.
The NWSA has also recently adopted near-term implementation plans that guide emission reduction efforts for seaport related activities.
Announced in December 2021, the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy covers six sectors of port activity: oceangoing vessels, cargo-handling equipment, trucks, harbour vessels, rail and port administration, and tenancy facilities.
The plans include direct changes in equipment, fuels, and infrastructure to fulfil both of the ports’ commitment to clean air and the overall phasing out of sea-port emissions by 2050.