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NWSA Breaks Ground on $500M Terminal 5 Modernization

Modernized 185-acre NWSA facility to handle big ships, international container cargo in 2021
July 10, 2019

Managing Members of The Northwest Seaport Alliance—port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma (NWSA)—along with the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers of Local 19, and president of local terminal operator SSA Terminals, broke ground today at Terminal 5, taking the first concrete steps in making the facility ‘big ship ready’ and adding capability to handle simultaneously two of the shipping industry’s largest container vessels.

“Four years ago this August, our two ports announced the joining of our operations in order to better compete on a global scale. Today is proof that we made the right decision as our efforts here at Terminal 5 provide us new opportunities for cooperation and the creation of family-wage jobs,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

“Today we begin the modernization of Terminal 5, the best container handling terminal in the Pacific Northwest. When complete, it will be a cornerstone of our region’s economic activity for decades to come,” said Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

Modernizing Terminal 5 will allow the NWSA to handle some of the largest container vessels calling at West Coast ports today. As container vessels in the 14,000 TEU size regularly call at terminals in the North and South harbors, modernization of Terminal 5 will allow for vessels up to 18,000 TEU.

Empty container Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle stands ready for modernization to stay competitive

“ILWU Local 19 understands the importance of keeping container operations thriving in this region—thousands of families depend on these maritime and industrial assets—and how critical it is to work together to ensure these assets continue to provide for our region. We must maintain these finite resources for industrial use,” said Rich Austin, president of Local 19 Longshore Union.

It is estimated that Terminal 5 activity will result in 6,600 new direct jobs and more than $2 billion in business activity. Managing Members of the NWSA voted to fund the project in April, pledging $340 million in construction funds, with private partner SSA Terminals contributing up to $160 million toward the project. The 185-acre terminal is expected to open in two phases, with one major berth ready to handle international container cargo in spring of 2021, and the other berth ready in 2023.

“As a local terminal operator in Seattle for the past 50 years, SSA Terminals is proud to be part of making Terminal 5 a modern asset in this harbor. We see this investment as part of a long-term growth strategy and look forward to its development,” said Ed DeNike of SSA Terminals.

“As an exporter and importer utilizing both ports, it is critical that we have access to efficient first-class infrastructure to move goods through these ports,” said Jan Koslosky, vice president of supply chain management for Ocean Beauty Seafoods. “We applaud The Northwest Seaport Alliance as they invest in the future with Terminal 5.”

Detailed information from the lease package and construction plan is available in prior agenda materials posted online. Learn more about the Terminal 5 modernization program.

About The Northwest Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance is a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Combined, the ports are the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. Regional marine cargo facilities also are a major center for bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles and trucks.


Nick Demerice | Northwest Seaport Alliance
(253) 428-8674 |

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