Seattle Gets Ready for Massive Terminal Expansion


The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NSA) has announced it is considering recommendations to expand the Terminal 5 container terminal at the Port of Seattle.

According to a statement, the commissions of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, the two ports which comprise the NSA, met on February 5, 2019, and discussed the US$300 million ‘Terminal 5 Modernization Project’.

Part of the discussions centered around a potential new tenant at Terminal 5, but the two commissions also directed staff to bring forward environmental investments to enhance water and air quality for the surrounding region.

These will also include technological innovations to improve truck flow around the terminal and updating stormwater treatment systems and installing “shore power” infrastructure, which allows a vessel to plug into electricity while at berth.

A recent Port Technology technical paper looked at the 10 pre-requisites for smart terminals

The NSA has said the modernization is in response to the rising competition for the trans-Pacific between west coast US ports.

The trend towards larger vessels has meant fewer port calls, and the Terminal 5 expansion is critical to the state of Washington’s fortunes in the Asia market.

The first phase of the project will begin in Spring 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2021. An NSA statement on the project read: “Terminal 5 in Seattle has long been considered a premier container cargo on the West Coast because of its naturally deep berth, wide footprint (185 acres), and the availability of an on-dock rail yard, which allows containers to be directly loaded from the ship onto rail lines.

“The new ultra-large container ships, however, require larger, heavier cranes with a longer reach, which in turn requires strengthening the dock and upgrading utilities.”    

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