(Terminal 5, photographed today from SE Admiral area)
Three weeks after the last cargo ship called at now-closed Port of Seattle Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the resulting stretch of empty space continues to catch attention, and we’re still getting questions about why it’s empty. In short, if you missed previous stories: The port closed it and plans to “modernize” it to handle the huge new ships that are coming on line in the cargo industry, though it has not finalized plans for how to fund the full nine-digit price tag that project will cost.
Today, a new development – the Port Commission will be asked for approval next Tuesday to sell Terminal 5’s six cranes, which it says would have to be replaced anyway. The item on the agenda for next week’s commission meeting includes a memo that also surfaces a timeline for the modernization project, saying, “The objective of this effort is to design and build a facility capable of handling two EEE class vessels by mid-2018.” The cranes that Port management wants to sell were purchased in the 1980s, and appraised as worth up to $3.75 million, according to the memo, which adds, “With the direction to modernize Terminal 5, and as there are no other open Port terminals where the cranes could be utilized, it is desirable to sell the cranes while they are fully functional and have current certifications.” It also warns that the market for used cranes is “slow” and that if they don’t sell within six months, staff will come back to the commission to “obtain authorization to dispose of them in accordance with Port procedures, including paying to have the cranes dismantled and scrapped.”
The commission’s Tuesday meeting is at noon at Port headquarters (2711 Alaskan Way) and includes one other item related in part to modernization – authorization of $1.5 million to cover half the cost of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on possibly deepening its west and east waterways to accommodate larger ships.