A ground breaking ceremony was recently held by the managing members of the Northwest Seaport Alliance, along with the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Workers of Local 19, and president of the local terminal operator SSA Terminals and port commissioners of Seattle and Tacoma (NWSA) at Terminal 5.

The ceremony marks the first stage of the development of terminal 5 to make it ‘big ship ready’ with additional capabilities to manage and handle two of the shipping industry’s largest container vessels at the same time.

Co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Port of Tacoma Commission President, Clare Petrich explains, “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 with new opportunities for cooperation and the creation of family-wage jobs.”

Stephanie Bowman, who is also Co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, added, “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.”

When the modernization of Terminal 5 is complete, NWSA will be able to handle many of the largest container vessels that currently call at the West Coast ports. 14,000 TEU container vessels are regular visitors to the North and South harbors, however with the modernization of Terminal 5 vessels up to 18,000 TEU we be able to call.

President of Local 19 Longshore Union, Rich Austin said, “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.”

With the Terminal 5 development, it is estimated that 6,600 new direct jobs will be created along with more than $2 billion in business activity. NWSA managing members carried out a successful vote in April 2019 and pledged $340 million in construction funds, with private partner SSA Terminals contributing up to $160 million toward the project. The 185-acre terminal development will be in two phases; phase one is set to be completed in 2021 with one major berth ready to handle international container cargo while phase two and the second berth expected to be open in 2023.

Ed DeNike of SSA Terminals said, “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.”