2000 - 2009
As the 21st century and a new millennium began, Seattle and the rest of the nation breathed a giant sigh of relief as “Y2K” came and went without any technical firestorms. But that good outcome was followed by the dot.com bust, a 6.8 Richter Scale earthquake in the Northwest and the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. that left the nation shattered emotionally and financially. The Airport was faced with both rigorous new security requirements and a dramatic downturn in passenger traffic, but expansion at Sea-Tac continued.
The Seaport also saw a dramatic decline in cargo tonnage, but state-of-the-art facilities, partnerships with customers and a nationwide recovery, brought about a rise in business by 2003, and all-time records by 2004. Seattle’s cruise business was given a boost as cruise lines repositioned from the Mediterranean to the Northwest, and passengers chose to vacation near home in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The environmental movement continued to grow and the Port positioned itself as the Green Gateway for trade and transportation.
The ambitious expansion and renovation program aimed at making Sea-Tac “the region’s front door,” kicks off with the demolition of Concourse A, the oldest and smallest of the airport’s gate areas.
Thirty-six cruise ships call on the new Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal, bringing 120,000 visitors, 500 new jobs for the community, and $29 million in business revenue.
A portion of the Port’s tax levy is invested in the Fast Action Strategy for the Seattle-Tacoma (FAST) Corridor program, a regional freight mobility initiative that helps keep freight moving quickly via truck and rail by separating commercial traffic from commuter-clogged streets.
Port launches e-business strategy to position Seattle as one of the world’s foremost ports in providing e-business solutions. The strategy involves the evaluation and purchasing of equipment and software, as well as partnering with businesses and customers to implement web-based technology.
At approximately 10:55 a.m. on February 28, a 6.8 Richter Scale earthquake shakes the region. Damage is in the millions at Sea-Tac, but there are no serious injuries and the airport is back operating within hours. The Air Traffic Control tower is severely damaged, but its staff calmly continue to direct pilots. A temporary tower is constructed until the existing one is repaired.
The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, shut down air traffic across the nation for two and a halfdays and usher in a new era of airport security. The impact this event has on the nation is like none other. The tragedy and loss of lives seen this day will forever be remembered.
After clean up of the EPA Superfund site at Terminal 5 is complete, the Public Access Park opens. It is later renamed for Port Commissioner, Jack Block.
Security takes on new meanings as the Port works with the newly-formed Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard to implement safety and security measures for passengers and facilities.
Terminal 107 Public Access. Photo Don Wilson.
Habitat: 9,000 tons of fill are removed from Terminal 107 and the Port restores an aquatic habitat and builds a seven-acre park with pathways, interpretive information, benches, and a hand-carried boat launch.
The Port completes its second largest mega terminal, doubling its size and adding substantial on-dock rail facilities and upgraded amenities. The project also included environmental cleanup, as it was deemed an EPA Superfund site.
The Port opens the state’s first public natural gas station just south of the airport.
Sea-Tac’s Central Terminal is demolished to make way for a new, expanded terminal.
The Fireboat “Alki”, operated by Seattle Fire Department, moves its home base from Elliott Bay to Fishermen’s Terminal. Docking at a former fuel dock used by Rainier Petroleum, the fireboat reduces response times to Lake Union boat fires. Built in 1927, the Alki is a 125-foot steel-hulled vessel capable of pumping 16,200 gallons of water per minute.
Cruise passengers increase from 7,000 in 1999 to 250,000 this year.
The Port’s long-time successful Terminal 106 warehousing operation shuts down after the primary customer, Hasbro, consolidates its import distribution in Ontario, California.
Cruise is booming in Seattle. An additional cruise terminal opens at Terminal 30, with two berths, parking, and nearby access to Sea-Tac.
New contracts require taxis serving Sea-Tac, as well as Shuttle Express, to convert their fleets to cleaner-burning natural gas.
Improvements: Terminal 46 undergoes expansion, adding 18 acres, a new truck gate, terminal buildings, and three new cranes.
City, county and Port officials dedicate the West Galer Street flyover, stretching more than 815 feet over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks and Elliott Avenue West near Terminal 91. The bridge includes a concrete nautical-themed braided rope in a helix pattern and light fixtures meant to resemble sails and marine mammals.
: The communities that fought the third runway drop their opposition and construction begins again.
An economic impact study ranks the Port among the top 10 organizations affecting the region’s economic vitality.
Air traffic control moves from the old tower at the Main Terminal to the new sky-high one on Air Cargo Road.
The airport opens Concourse A – its first new terminal in 30 years.
Record Containers: 1.8 million containers move through the Port’s terminals, a 21% increase over 2003.
The total renovation of the airport subway systems is completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
The airport’s free cell-phone waiting lot opens for drivers picking up arriving passengers.
Fishermen’s Memorial moves to a new spot at the center of Fishermen’s Terminal while the fleet’s home undergoes upgrades. The memorial, sponsored by Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial Committee, is where families can find closure and pay tribute to fishermen and women lost at sea.
The Port holds training sessions for its Labor Relations Department, aimed at building better relationships with and creating opportunities for the 17 labor unions it works with.
Passengers once again have a dramatic view of the airfield from this new 240,000 square-foot “heart of the airport.” The new post-security gathering place has seating and tables for 500 travelers and is encircled by more than 40,000 square feet of concessions.
Real-time flight information is displayed throughout the terminal and is available online on the Port of Seattle’s website.
At both the Seaport and Airport, cargo and passenger volumes are skyrocketing and breaking records again. This time, it’s over two million containers, 29 million airport passengers and 686,000 cruise passengers that make an impact.
After nearly a century of operations, Rainier Cold Storage at Terminal 25 is demolished. The earthquake-damaged building gives way to a new cold storage facility operated by SCS Refrigerated Services, that will support 70 local jobs.
The airport and its neighboring cities form the “Highline Forum” to discuss airport and community topics.
Both the Seaport and the Airport receive praise from the EPA for environmental efforts. Contributing programs are: cruise ship shore power, working with cruise lines to switch to cleaner-burning fuels, a fleet of natural gas vehicles, direct fueling system at the airport – which eliminates the need for fueling trucks, and making biodiesel available for recreational boaters.
Through a series of simulated emergency scenarios, the Port works with local, state and federal agencies to prepare in case of a terrorist attack. Ferry boats, containerships, cruise ships and recreational boats are all put to the test.
New fueling system delivers fuel directly from storage tanks to aircraft gates, eliminating the need for diesel-powered trucks.
Pint-sized travelers have a new place to have fun and burn up some pre-flight energy: an air travel-themed children’s play area.
The Seaport partners with tenants to install emission-reducing catalysts on cargo handling equipment.
In cooperation with Puget Sound Clean Air, the Port completes a first-ever inventory of maritime air emissions, in order to find ways to improve air quality.
The Commission selects a new C.E.O., Tay Yoshitani, who will lead the Port into a new era of sustainability and environmental efforts. Yoshitani replaces Mic R. Dinsmore, the Port’s longest-serving CEO.
A major milestone for the airport’s third runway – the embankment needed to support the new all-weather runway is completed.
The former FAA control tower is reborn as a ramp tower to control aircraft traffic on the ground.
A new airline and new international route for Sea-Tac – on June 11, Air France begins daily flights to Paris.
On December 19, Sea-Tac welcomes its 30 millionth passenger for the year.
The country’s real estate bubble bursts, causing values to drop nationwide. Unemployment is up, and business revenues are down.
The Port publishes its first dedicated Environmental Annual Report.
Marina Upgrade: Shilshole Bay Marina’s $80 million renovation is complete, offering upgraded amenities, including a new marina building, public plaza, and landscaping. And nearly two dozen docks and piers were replaced.
The Washington State Auditor's Office releases a performance audit that is critical of the Port's third runway construction program. The Port responds with a 37-point action plan to improve reporting and contracting procedures.
The Port establishes the Office of Social Responsibility to, among other efforts, improve opportunity for small businesses to compete for Port contracts.
Sea-Tac Airfield. Air France celebrates daily flights fron Seattle to Paris.
On November 20, 16 years after the Port first launched the project, the airport’s third runway opens.
On June 9, Hainan Airlines inaugurates nonstop service to Beijing.
The “Century Agenda” begins taking shape, three years shy of the Port ‘s centennial. The agenda will focus on building a comprehensive vision and strategic plan, focusing on the next 25 years at the Port.
C.E.O. Tay Yoshitani announces the Port’s newest goal: to be the “cleanest, greenest, most energy efficient” port in the nation. Seattle will be the “Green Gateway.”
Lufthansa arrives at Sea-Tac on March to begin daily service to Frankfurt and beyond.
ABC Fuels: “At Berth Clean Fuels” program launches, encouraging vessel operators to use cleaner fuels while in Seattle.
The Port launches its Veteran’s Fellowship Program, offering six-month employment opportunities for up to six veterans per year, who have recently completed active duty service. The program earns national recognition and assists veterans transitioning to civilian life.
The Port invests $17.2 million in the East Marginal Way grade separation. One of the many transportation projects aimed at easing freight congestion and speeding delivery of goods.
Sea-Tac celebrates Icelandair’s inaugural flight To Reykjavik on June 23.
Link Light Rail arrives at Sea-Tac on December 19.
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Terminal 91 opens, and the 2009 cruise season jumps off with the arrival of Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam. The interim cruise terminal at Terminal 30 returns to container handling operations, operated by SSA Terminals, and is the Northwest home to China Shipping.
A report analyzes the carbon footprints of maritime shipping routes from Asia and puts Seattle at the top of the list for lowest emissions.
A new truck program aims to eliminate older polluting trucks that call on the cargo terminals. An incentive of $5,000 or Blue Book value helps truckers with pre-1994 trucks buy newer, cleaner vehicles in the Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound (ScRAPS) program.
All four marinas including Bell Harbor, Fishermen’s Terminal, Harbor Island and Shilshole Bay receive Envirostar awards for innovative recycling and waste reduction practices.