Terminal 5’s last cargo-ship call for now, after half a century

Moored on this murky day at the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the Westwood Olympia is the last ship scheduled for a T-5 call TFN. After 50 years as a cargo terminal, T-5 will be idle once this ship departs. We reported last month on the port’s plan to close T-5 while spending $5 million planning a modernization project, so that it can handle new mega-sized ships – but there’s no plan yet for where the port will get the up to one-quarter-billion dollars the project will cost. Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB that “during the multi-year design and permitting phase of Terminal 5 Modernization, we will be working to attract interim maritime uses to this industrial facility.” Meantime, while other shipping lines that used it are moving to other Seattle terminals, Westwood ships are going back to Tacoma after 31 years, with its first call there scheduled for one week from today.

ADDED FRIDAY: For the record, here’s a Port memo about some of the terms related to the T-5 shutdown, as Eagle Marine Service moves on to sublease space on Harbor Island.

23 Replies to "Terminal 5's last cargo-ship call for now, after half a century"

  • Diane July 23, 2014 (4:55 pm)

    good news for Tacoma; bad news for Seattle

  • smitty July 23, 2014 (5:24 pm)

    I guess the only upside is that fewer slow trucks merging means slightly better traffic!

  • School Booster July 23, 2014 (7:37 pm)

    Tacoma needs some good news. The last good news they had was when the “Tacoma Aroma” took a trip to China. And never came back. But the USA his hell-bent on feeding China’s habit with coal, and more coal…

  • pam f July 23, 2014 (7:56 pm)

    Seems a bit pointless closing the terminal when they don’t even have the money or the permits to start the upgrades

  • I Wonder July 23, 2014 (9:38 pm)

    Have you seen the size of these mega-ships? 50% larger than the ships already coming through the port.

  • Mike July 23, 2014 (10:20 pm)

    So how deep are they going to dredge the Duwamish end of the sound to support those mega cargo ships?

  • dsa July 23, 2014 (10:23 pm)

    Maybe they are secretly clearing the dock to run the coal train/barges out of pier five instead of passing through town.

  • Vanessa July 23, 2014 (10:27 pm)

    Is that why the big lots where the containers are parked, looked so empty?

  • Robert July 24, 2014 (8:05 am)

    It seems that the port commission is busting their butt to run all of the business out of seattle on to tacoma..first sealand , major loss of business, now once again after 35 years one more big loss. are they trying to turn seattle into the back-water port that tacoma used to be????????

  • Pigeon pointer July 24, 2014 (8:36 am)

    Mega ships mean more cargo–which means more trains honking at every used and unused intersection at the base of Pigeon Point in the early am. It is going to get even louder if they increase the amount going through that terminal.

  • Jim July 24, 2014 (10:46 am)

    Pigeon pointer – You are spot on! They will be running trains 24/7 to get the cargo off the giant ships and on it’s way. The train noise will be far worse than what you have already experienced over the past years.
    And if we wait to mitigate the noise until T-5 is operational again, it’ll be too late.
    The Port only does what is clearly written in the permit issued by the City.

  • wetone July 24, 2014 (11:46 am)

    Another only in Seattle well thought out plan that follows many other of our projects in this town. 1st problem I see is funding oh wait they have unlimited funding, just raise the taxes once more since we already have one of the highest subsidized ports in the nation. 2nd is it’s location. Could not pick a worse location from the standpoint of egress/ingress. How about all the increased traffic activity’s onto Seattle Sodo area surface streets, W/S fwy, I-5 ? from big rigs, more road closures from increased port trains and don’t forget they want to run a lot more coal trains through this area. Between the trains and increased surface street usage that will be coming from the hwy99 2 lanes (both n/s) toll tunnel once it’s done Sodo area traffic and access in/out of W/S will be flat out terrible. I also see no mention in the Port’s plan for a new railroad bridge being built for crossing the Duwamish river ? as the old one is well very old, who will pay for that ? along with all the environmental studies/clean up cost ? Just one more thing that will impact W/S traffic is any increased marine traffic in that area will most likely cause more lower bridge openings.

  • Thomas M. July 24, 2014 (3:23 pm)

    How about a light rail and bus system park and ride? Maybe even run bigger water taxis from there to downtown? It is one heck of a big parking lot.

  • SteveM July 24, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    Robert: yup, I think they are

  • PortSpeak July 25, 2014 (1:43 pm)

    Has anyone given much thought into the expansion of Terminal 5 and the effects on WS?

    Automation is on the table, which would essentially increase the efficiency of T5 to a point where this ONE facility could handle the current container traffic flow of the ENTIRE Port! The current environmental permits, however, do not allow this type of volume to be transferred through the terminal without extensive reviews…but the expansion has started anyway…

    All of this reminds me of the condo developer currently turning California Ave into a s–thole…

  • brandon July 25, 2014 (8:08 pm)

    Permits?? PERMITS?? We don’t need no stinking permits!

  • Steven July 28, 2014 (11:41 am)

    I really hope that we can get this project completed and get another steamship line to move in! I am afraid it won’t get completed.

  • Jim July 28, 2014 (3:54 pm)

    Steven – Why? Why do you hope we spend 400 million dollars to expand Port facilities when the existing terminals aren’t anywhere near capacity?

  • Mykscott August 2, 2014 (6:34 am)

    Have the neighbors of WS considered the impact of their views looking east with the replacement of the smaller cranes (orange) to the much larger super post-panamax (white) cranes? If you don’t own a home directly west of T5 you will still be impacted by the noise from the increased train traffic the Port proposes anyway. The environmental impact of the T5 modernization proposal and your concerns need to be addressed to the Port Commissioner (Bill Bryant) early in the planning process. You can’t stop this development but we shouldn’t make it easy for them to pursue this plan that will be a negative impact to our quality of life.

  • Paula August 4, 2014 (8:26 am)

    The City and Developers, their partners in stupidity, are building up the density in West Seattle only to allow the Port to turn it into a place no one wants to live. I hope my property taxes go down as quickly as my real estate’s value. Hey West Seattle political representatives! – are you watching and listening? There is time to mitigate effects. PLEASE HELP US!!

  • dawsonct August 6, 2014 (11:29 am)

    If one purchases a propert overlooking an industrial zone (or a farm or whatever) shouldn’t that person expect to be impacted in one way or another by the sights, sounds, and odors of the industrial area they are overlooking? Why complain about the inevitable.
    Don’t like the sounds of industry? Take advantage of the next few months of down-time and sell your house to someone who doesn’t care or is too naive to realize what they are getting into, and leave the area. A fairly simple solution.
    —-
    A quarter-billion dollar upgrade to the terminal will create far more living-wage jobs than do most of the other expenditures we take on as a community. This is an obvious and necessary infrastructural upgrade that we Seattleites need to take on.

  • Jim August 6, 2014 (5:25 pm)

    The jobs argument is a very weak one. Automation is in the plan. (It’ll cost far more than a quarter billion dollars when it’s done.) Divide the cost by the new jobs created and it doesn’t jump out as a good investment. It’s not even clear that enough shipping will come here to feed it.

    Your first sentence misses the point. There are many ways to mitigate the damages done to the community. (Ideally, the Port would compensate homeowners who were there long before the Port “Eminent Domain’ed” the land for Terminal 5.)

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