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Frequently Asked Questions 

The following questions can be answered in our First Time Shipper Resource file.  Download the PDF to the right.
  • How do I import or export merchandise?
  • Where can I find a list of custom house brokers or freight forwarders?
  • Which companies offer transload services?
  • How do I ship goods to/from Alaska or Hawaii?
  • Where can I buy or lease a container? 
Q: What are the firm codes for Port of Seattle terminals?
  • Terminal 5: Y400
  • Terminal 18: X117
  • Terminal 30: Y197
  • Terminal 46: X127
Q: What truck firms serve the Port of Seattle?
A: Download our Trucking Resources PDF here for some options.
Q: What warehouse and distribution centers are in the Seattle area?
A: Download our Warehouse and Distribution Resources PDF here for some options.
Q: What regions does the Port of Seattle have services to?
A: The Port of Seattle has direct services to Asia, Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, Oceania, and Africa. Please download our Sailing Schedule. 
Q: Where can I find information about ship arrivals and departures?
A: Visit our Ship Schedule page for arrival information. Please contact the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound at (206) 443-3830 or for detailed vessel activity in our Harbor.
Q: Why are the Port's container cranes painted orange?
A: The paint on the cranes is highly specialized to withstand salt air, wind, rain, sun and exposure to petroleum products and by-products (e.g., greases, oils, ship smoke). The Port chose the highly visible orange from among few other colors available in this special paint, which lasts about 20 years. Painting cranes is expensive, and we paint about one crane each year to keep on the 20-year cycle. To maintain consistency, minimize cost and add brightness to our harbor, we keep the color orange.
Q: Which ocean carrier lines call in Seattle?
A: View our Ocean Carrier page.
Q: What kinds of vessels do you track?
A: The Port of Seattle tracks container, bulk and breakbulk vessels that call at our facilities. We do not track fishing vessels or the boats that dock at our marinas.
Q: How many vessels have called the Port of Seattle during the past few years?
A: Find the yearly breakdown here.
Q: Can I travel on a container ship?
A: Please contact the individual ocean carriers for this information. View our ocean carriers page.
Q: How many crew members are on a container vessel?
A: Generally 13-25 crew members.
Q: Where can I obtain Seaport cargo statistics?
A: Please visit our Seaport Statistics page.
Q: What kinds of cargo does the Port of Seattle handle?
A: Cargo can be classified into four main categories:
  • Containerized
  • Breakbulk (non-containerized items such as factory components, palletized goods and roll-on/roll-off cargoes)
  • Dry bulk (grain)
  • Liquid bulk (molasses and petroleum)
Q: What is container cargo?
A: Anything the shipper can put in a sea-going container. The containers are 8 feet wide, by 8 or more feet high, by 20 or more feet long. Toys, clothing, electronic goods, frozen french fries, fresh apples, and motorcycles are among the commodities shipped in containers.
Q: Then what is non-container cargo?
A: Anything not loaded into a container, either because it is too large or because the shipper wants to handle it differently. Boxes of apples that go directly into the cargo hold, steel beams, large machinery and railroad engines are examples of non-container cargo that have crossed the port's docks. Dry bulk and liquid bulk are also non-container cargo.
Q: Where can I find more information?
A: Read and download The Foreign Waterborne Trade Summary report produced by the Seaport.
Q: What is a TEU?
A: TEU stands for Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit - an international container measurement.
Containers, no matter how long, are measured in 20-foot lengths. For example, a 20 foot-long container is 1 TEU; a 40 foot-long container is 2 TEUs.
Q: How can I contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Agriculture?
A: U.S. Customs and Border Protection at (206) 553-1581 or

U.S.D.A. at (206) 553-4460 or
Q: How do I recover merchandise that has been seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection?
A: Please contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at (206) 553-1581

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