VIDEO: Terminal 5 project discussed @ Seattle City Council

(Terminal 5, photographed recently from the bridge)

11:57 AM: Just wrapped up at the still-underway Seattle Council morning-briefing meeting, a Q/A with John Wolfe, CEO of the Northwest Seaport Alliance (the joint enterprise of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma). The planned modernization of Terminal 5 in West Seattle came up several times. First, after Wolfe talked about the shipping industry currently being in a “crisis mode,” he was asked why the port/NWSA is proceeding with a nine-digit investment in T-5 when its prospective customers are in so much trouble. He replied that the shipping industry is cyclical and they’re expecting it to recover. He also mentioned the current predominance of alliances, and how what are currently four industry alliances are morphing to three. Questions included when the T-5 project is expected to be done – “mid-2020.” What about shore power? “The good news is that the industry is wanting to do the right thing – cleaner fuels and the ability to plug into shore power,” Wolfe replied. He added that they believe allowing shippers to voluntarily pursue such initiatives is better than “requirements.” Monitoring environmental factors is crucial, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold interjected at that point.

Eventually, Wolfe said, they expect container traffic to be split 50-50 between Seattle and Tacoma. And in discussing competition with British Columbia ports, he talked about the federal Harbor Maintenance Tax adding $125 to each container’s cost for shippers here, and how the absence of that is an advantage for north-of-the-border shippers.

1:17 PM: Just added the meeting video from Seattle Channel, above this line. The NWSA briefing starts at 1 hour, 38 minutes into the meeting.

8 Replies to "VIDEO: Terminal 5 project discussed @ Seattle City Council"

  • WestCake January 30, 2017 (12:23 pm)

    Who would monitor “environmental factors”? At what cost? To whom? What factors are we monitoring?

    And Lisa, right now, there’s a bunch of people living right outside Pier 5 surrounding by their own garbage. I understand we don’t want to evict them, they’re homeless, but what about the garbage? Surely that’s an environmental factor? What can we do about that?

    • WSB January 30, 2017 (12:50 pm)

      Air pollution, for starters. Search for Duwamish Valley air quality and choose your information source.

      As for trash, Seattle Public Utilities is supposed to be tasked with that, but I don’t know the status of the area you mention. Call them at 206-684-3000 and ask.

  • Jim January 30, 2017 (2:33 pm)

    The Port of Long Beach started mandating the use of Shore Power at their terminals a few years ago.  They state that having one of those large container ships plugged-in while in port is the air pollution equivalent of removing 42,000 from the roadways.

    We shouldn’t be asked to breath in that Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) because a Shore Power capable shipping line doesn’t “feel like” plugging in.  Using “incentives” just means that some will and some won’t.   Just mandate it.

  • Neighbor January 30, 2017 (3:57 pm)

    We are tired of lip service! For the past months numerous neighbors have been complaining about the unbreatheable air already coming from the Port and yet NOTHING is being done. Why would you trust the shippers, whose only desire is for profit,  to have concern for our neighborhood, our children’s health? Why are we not making it law that these ships have to be on shore power? Stop putting some shippers profit ahead of my family’s health.

    If Herbold can’t do her job and protect our neighborhoods she needs to be voted out. This has gone on long enough.

  • William January 30, 2017 (9:18 pm)

    First of all, these ships have the dirtiest engines on the planet.  Ships were always very dirty, as can be seen at their smoke stack when they run their engines – especially when they start up.  Ships have not had to comply with modern air pollution requirements like Metro’s buses have.  

    To make matters worse, the Europeans have passed strict regulations requiring ships entering European ports to get much, much cleaner.  Every international shipping company is moving their old, out-of-compliance ships to non-European shipping routes – where ports of entry do not have strict air pollution requirements.  The Port of Seattle needs to make sure West Seattle does not have to choke on the smoke from old, dirty ships.  

  • Jeannie January 30, 2017 (10:12 pm)

    How sad that our City Council is acting like Trump: No regard for the environment or for public health. Is there a petition I can sign? Or an email address that includes all City Council members?


  • Jim January 31, 2017 (7:53 am)

    Careful now.  Councilmembers Herbold and O’Brien have been supportive of environmental improvements at Terminal 5.  It would be great if the other Councilmembers would join them.  Their email addresses are at

    The real villain here is the Northwest Seaport Alliance and then the Port of Seattle for pushing back against the use of Shore Power.  They want the freedom to invite any dirty ship into Terminal 5 that will pay them.  The only reason they are even thinking of putting in a plug at the Terminal is because citizens decided to speak up for everybody’s health.

  • Neighbor January 31, 2017 (8:22 am)

    Do our neighbors know that this isn’t going to be just a terminal for one ship but two! And they want to run tne terminal so that two ships can be there at once!? So it won’t just be 42,000 cars at times we can look forever to the pollution of 84,000 cars right outside our front doors…if we live long enough maybe then we can complain about the noise too.

    HBSC, the world’s third largest bank released an internal report last year predicting a huge, extended recession in 2018 due to peak energy fuels across the board, we have entered into the descent. Why are spending millions of dollars on T5 when the forecast does not support the need for this? These huge ships will not be in demand due to a very different economy.  Stop this gross fleecing of our tax dollars.

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