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Northwest Seaport Alliance – Berth of a Mega Port

Posted on July 25, 2016

With the creation of the NWSA in August of 2015 the ports of Seattle and Tacoma integrated their operations forming a mega complex spanning 25 miles of Puget Sound. So what’s happened in the year that followed?

New Leadership for the Alliance: Last week the alliance announced the addition of Zachary Thomas and Bob Meyers to their operating team. Mr. Thomas has been named to head the Operations Service Center. He brings to the table over 20 years of service in the marine industry most recently serving as General Manager of the Port of Tacoma since 2014. The Operations Service Center will spearhead a program bringing together regional stakeholders to make the SEATAC gateways more competitive. Bob Meyers also an alumnus of the Port of Tacoma ran their non-containerized operations until the merger last year. Under the Alliance he will now oversee operation at all NWSA terminals and rail yards as well as directing their safety program.

Building Mega Berths

The Seaport Alliance plans to spend 1 billion dollars on facility and infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.

Husky Terminal Tacoma – Reconstruction is in full swing, where dredging completed last year brought the uniform depth down to 51 feet in anticipation of larger ships to come. The Alliance will commit $170 million on improvements to Husky Terminal and the Blair Waterway with $118 million to be spent on infrastructure projects, which will reface the wharf to accommodate 18,000 TEU vessels up from the 6,500 TEU ships being discharged at the quay. $22 million will be spent for cranes needed to handle larger vessels in the most efficient manner. Berths 3 and 4 will be straightened and reinforced to accommodate four Super Panamax Cranes and a new gate complex will be added. With an efficient cross dock rail yard and upgraded shore side cranes the terminal plans to increase cargo capacity from 767,000 TEU to over 1 million TEU. Scheduled completion of the upgrades to Husky Terminal is set for September of 2018.

Terminal 5 Seattle – July 8th was the deadline for public comment on the Environmental Impact Statement to accompany planned reconstruction of Terminal 5 in Seattle. With naturally deep water (50’) alongside most of the facility, it would be a prime location for the coming influx of mega ships. But in 2014 when Eagle Marine suspended operations, about 900 of the 2,900 feet of wharf face was only at 45’ MLW (mean-low-water). At that time the facility could only handle vessels up to 6,000 TEU and not, as was envisioned, two 18,000 TEU ships end to end. In addition to uniform dredging, the wharf will also need to be strengthened to accommodate newer and larger shore side cranes. Structural repairs will include replacement of the fender system for ships docking along the quay and an upgrade to the power supply terminal wide. Terminal 5 has direct access to intermodal rail with a 30 acre “On Dock’ facility and the Seattle Intermodal Gateway less than 4 miles from its main gate. The NWSA is currently reviewing possible tenants to operate the facility after reconstruction.

Turning the Tide on Pollution – Initially launched in May of 2014 the original “Seaport Truck Scrappage and Replacements for Air in Puget Sound “program (ScRAPS) was upgraded last month and redubbed “ScRAPS2”. The program, a joint venture between the Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency encourages truckers to replace vehicles older than 2006 with newer more eco-friendly engines. Owners who purchase truck with a model year of 2010 or newer can receive as much as $27,000 in reimbursements. The program is funded by the D.O.T, Washington State Department of Transportation, the E.P.A, the State Department of Ecology, and the NWSA.

For the first six months of this year export volumes through the Northwest Seaport Alliance rose 12% to 468,634 TEUs while imports added 1 percent to last year’s totals standing at 649,183 TEUs

The Alliance is fulfilling its vision as a Mega Port and preparing for the birth of a new age in container shipping.

Source: AJOT

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