Port of Seattle expecting truck-traffic increase at Harbor Island’s Terminal 18


(Photo by Scott Sweeney, from WSB coverage of January 2015 truck-traffic backup on westbound bridge)

According to the port, its terminal operators say they are ready to handle it – but just in case, here’s what you might call an advance traffic alert, from a flyer sent this morning by the Port of Seattle, on behalf of its joint venture with the Port of Tacoma:

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) expects to see changes in truck volumes at several of its container terminals in the coming months. These changes may affect local traffic.

What is expected?

The NWSA expects a reduction in truck volumes at Washington United Terminals in Tacoma. At the same time, the NWSA is expecting a significant growth in truck volumes at Terminal 18 in Seattle and a modest increase at Husky Terminal in Tacoma. These shifts in truck volumes are expected to occur later this month and peak in early- to mid-May.

Why is this happening?

Over the last several years, ocean carriers have formed alliances to better utilize their collective
assets to manage costs in light of weak market conditions. In April, the members of these alliances are set to reshuffle, creating three major alliances engaged in the trans-Pacific trade instead of the previous four.

The new alliance configurations mean changes at which terminals the different carriers and their alliances call. This will likely mean corresponding changes in truck traffic at these various terminals.

What is the NWSA doing about this?

The NWSA is working closely with terminal operators to ensure they do everything practical to manage their operations to minimize truck backups at their gates. Terminal operators assure the NWSA that they are prepared to handle these changes.

NWSA staff continue to encourage our tenants to consider a variety of options at their disposal including, but not limited to, extended gate hours, appointment systems and other operational tools.

Over the long-term, the NWSA continues to explore opportunities for gate redesigns, expanded truck staging facilities and off-dock container yards that could help. These infrastructure investments are expensive and will take time to fund and develop.

Terminal 18 is on the east side of Harbor Island, as shown on this map of Port of Seattle terminals.

8 Replies to "Port of Seattle expecting truck-traffic increase at Harbor Island's Terminal 18"

  • GWS April 20, 2017 (11:54 am)

    Oh joy!  I hope the Port of Seattle and NWSA can start managing the truck traffic in this area to minimize backups.  They already do nothing with the Terminal 30 and 46 truck traffic where it seems that chaos reigns with the truckers trying to cut in line and blocking traffic on Marginal Way.  Truck traffic going to Terminal 18 has the habit of backing up all along Spokane St. as well as onto the viaduct.

    • Tsurly April 21, 2017 (8:22 am)

       “Oh joy!  I hope the Port of Seattle and NWSA can start managing the truck traffic in this area to minimize backups and keep CARS and TRUCKS out of the bike lane on East Marginal.  They already do nothing with the Terminal 30 and 46 truck traffic where it seems that chaos reigns with the truckers trying to cut in line and blocking traffic on Marginal Way.  Truck traffic going to Terminal 18 has the habit of backing up all along Spokane St. as well as onto the viaduct.”

      I fixed that for you. 

       

  • Dave April 20, 2017 (2:09 pm)

    SPD helped keep trucks from blocking intersections etc a few years ago when there was a work slowdown by the teamsters. There was also a line of semi trucks on the westbound bridge waiting to get off at Harbor Island that went back to I5. Probably what the photo shows. Anyone trying to get on the bridge at 1st Ave couldn’t merge over to get to WS.

  • Dale April 21, 2017 (4:24 am)

    The Port of Seattle flyer mentioned it’s because of an aggregation of carriers due to weak market conditions. Weak enough to quash the Port Expansion to accommodate ships that aren’t being built & are not needed in light of overcapacity?

    • WSB April 21, 2017 (7:35 am)

      I asked them that again recently and they restated that they’re still committed to the T-5 project and expecting to make the funding decision later this year.

      • Dale April 21, 2017 (7:37 pm)

        Ask them with the recently expanded Panama Canal how that diverts container traffic off West coast ports to East coast destination via the Canal. 

  • anonyme April 21, 2017 (8:49 am)

    I hope the port expansion is shut down.  It’s expensive and unnecessary, and the impact on the ecosystem of Puget Sound would be devastating.  I thought that funding had been previously approved by voters (not this one), but if not, let’s give taxpayers a chance to just.say.no.

  • We need them April 21, 2017 (5:45 pm)

    Watch this and listen to the part about 48,000 jobs and contributes 1/3 to the economy. Yes let’s create roadblocks for port development, who needs them?

    https://www.facebook.com/nwseaportalliance/videos/749968695165801/

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