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Terminal 5 Improvements

Visit the Northwest Seaport Alliance Terminal 5 project page for the latest updates.

Master Use Permit published

The City of Seattle in early April published the Master Use Permit Analysis and Decision with Draft Conditions for the Terminal 5 Improvements Project proposed by the Port of Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance. Publication of the MUP Analysis and Decision is an important but routine step for large, public capital projects like Terminal 5.

Final EIS issued

The Port of Seattle, the lead agency, released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in October 2016. Learn more about the environmental review at the online open house.

Project overview

The Northwest Seaport Alliance plans to modernize Terminal 5 to make it “big ship ready” to grow cargo volumes and maritime jobs in the Puget Sound region.

The introduction of ever-larger container vessels has triggered dramatic changes in the container shipping in the last five years. Vessels with capacity for more than 10,000 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) are currently calling at West Coast ports, and 18,000-TEU (EEE) vessels are expected in the near future.

To remain competitive and meet industry needs, NWSA terminals must be ready to handle the larger ships entering the trans-Pacific trades. These vessels require terminals with deeper berths and bigger cranes.

The planned improvements at Terminal 5 will accommodate heavier cranes with a longer outreach and provide deeper drafts to simultaneously handle two 18,000-TEU vessels. Design and permitting began last year.

Project history

April 2017

City of Seattle in early April published the Master Use Permit Analysis and Decision with Draft Conditions.

October 2016

Port of Seattle releases the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

May 2016

Port of Seattle releases the Draft Environmental Impact Statement available for review and comment.

October 2015

Based on information from potential partners interested in the terminal, the NWSA and Port of Seattle determined additional environmental review is required. See news release.

August 2015

Request for Information responses from potential tenants indicates that a long-term lease commitment would require the ability to handle more than 1 million TEUs, higher volumes than previously permitted. The NWSA continues to gather information about how a new tenant might operate the terminal, which will further inform the environmental review.

May 2015

Commissioners reviewed scenarios for terminal improvements in the North and South harbors to enhance container trade through the Puget Sound gateway.

March 2015

The Port of Seattle issued a SEPA notice of determination of non-significance for dock construction and a Request for Information began the search for a new tenant. Both the RFI and SEPA notice indicated that further environmental review would be conducted if the proposed use changed significantly or volumes were expected to exceed the 650,000 TEUs in the existing EIS.

July 2014

Container operations suspended at Terminal 5 to allow for the strategic investments necessary to handle two 18,000-TEU ships simultaneously.

June 2014

Commissioners authorized planning and design work to modernize Terminal 5. The terminal can only handle ships with a maximum capacity of 6,000 TEUs.


The Port of Seattle completed terminal cleanup, redevelopment, and enlargement to accommodate additional container services to meet demand.

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