Port of Seattle cancels plan for cruise terminal at Terminal 46

(Port of Seattle image. 2019: Yellow-shaded area is where a new cruise terminal was envisioned)

Thanks for the tips! The Port of Seattle announced today that it’s officially canceling its plan to seek a partner to build out a new cruise-ship terminal at T-46 on the downtown waterfrpnt. As the announcement notes, the plan already was on hold:

In April 2020, the Port of Seattle suspended its planning for a new cruise terminal to serve the Alaska market, citing a need to better understand the short and long-term cruise industry market impacts from COVID-19 before continuing its project investment in additional cruise facilities. As a result of this current analysis, the Port will cancel its request for industry proposals for a joint investment to build and operate a proposed new cruise terminal at the preferred location of Terminal 46. …

Cruise has become an integral leading business line for the Port of Seattle and an important part of the region’s maritime and regional economies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Seattle was forecasting a record year for 2020 with 233 cruise vessels scheduled to sail from Seattle. With an estimated 1.3 million revenue passengers expected to travel to and from our terminals this season, cruise supports 5,500 jobs, and provides nearly $900 million in economic activity for the region. …

Prior analysis of the cruise market and cruise ship deployment supported the need for a fourth berth to meet the demand for Port of Seattle cruise services. A cruise terminal requires a deep-water berth, a building to process passengers, a ground transportation area, long-term parking for cruise passengers, associated utilities, and connection to the local transportation system.

The Port of Seattle and Northwest Seaport Alliance will continue with prior projects to make Terminal 46 more sustainable and durable for long-term general maritime use, including installing stormwater treatment infrastructure and rehabilitating the dock. Vessel berthing and maritime support will continue on the terminal. The Port will prepare a recommendation for the Cruise Terminal Project when there is greater certainty about demand for Port of Seattle cruise services.

Read the full announcement here. Last fall, the port had projected the now-canceled project for completion in 2023.

The Terminal 5 modernization project in West Seattle, meantime, continues full-speed ahead, confirms port spokesperson Peter McGraw, with its north cargo berth expected to be ready next spring,

18 Replies to "Port of Seattle cancels plan for cruise terminal at Terminal 46"

  • Joe Z July 28, 2020 (4:43 pm)

    Thank goodness. This would have been a huge mess both for downtown access from West Seattle and for the environment. Seattle tourism will be survive without another cruise terminal. 

    • Colby July 28, 2020 (9:57 pm)

      Granted it was 11 years ago, but before the cruise terminal at T-90 was built, it was located at T-30. At the time it didn’t cause great impacts. It actually was nice because shuttles and taxis from the airport were direct. They did not have to go through downtown to busy up the roads, like they do now to T-90 and P66. Also, everything was self contained in the terminal. 

  • anonyme July 28, 2020 (5:38 pm)

    Good news.

  • KM July 28, 2020 (6:37 pm)


  • Lisa July 28, 2020 (7:28 pm)

    So glad this isn’t moving forward. It’s a win for the environment!

  • Stevie J July 28, 2020 (7:29 pm)

    Excellent news. Cruises are one of the most useless, wasteful industries. The ships are usually flagged in countries with no labor/environmental regulations, so they hire workers for very low wages to cater to every whim of the most glutenous country’s citizens. Cruise ships are powered by bunker fuel, which contains thousands of times more sulfur than gasoline. Many tons of human waste are dumped overboard while in international waters. Cities like Seattle can at least handle the surge of tourists, since this is the port of departure, many tourists live here or came here a few days before the ship leaves. Many European cities where cruise ships stop for a few hours become inundated with tourists who quickly outnumber locals. Venice recently banned cruise ships from docking there for these and many other reasons.

  • Question Authority July 28, 2020 (7:33 pm)

    T5 is the biggest concern for WS, all of it’s cargo whether by truck or train will only add to the Low Bridge misery.  T46 was far enough away to be diluted by more routes and ease of access.

    • Elizabeth Fairbanks July 29, 2020 (2:33 pm)

      I don’t know how long you have lived West Seattle, but it’s always been, until recently, a blue collar, industrial based area. Until the upper West Seattle bridge opened, no one wanted to live in West Seattle. I know this, because I grew up there. And my Dad was a longshoreman. Do you even know how much of the economy depends on what comes in and out of the port?

  • 22blades July 28, 2020 (7:55 pm)

    Great news. Now if POS can get it back to speed, maybe they relieve the Low Span of traffic, wear & tear by actually using T-46.

  • KBear July 28, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    The cruise industry was an environmental and public health nightmare even before COVID-19. Let them fix their problems first before we waste valuable waterfront property accommodating them.

  • KB July 28, 2020 (9:57 pm)

    Anyone saying this is “good news” is clueless. This would have been (and hopefully will be again) an amazing new terminal bringing tens of thousands of people into Seattle, Pioneer Sq and spending millions. Huge loss. But I guess some of you can only see the negative in any business news.  

    • Also John July 29, 2020 (12:53 pm)

      Many of us consider the environment above the economy.

  • c peterson July 28, 2020 (10:19 pm)

    A bit of bright news here. Visually, the cruise ships always seemed out of place, like a floating building tipped over. They also contradict what Seattle purports to stand for: protecting our land, our environment, and most notably, our wildlife (including vulnerable marine mammals). Had no idea the ships were in the hundreds yearly- can’t help but consider the impact that has on other species. Happy to hear they pumped the breaks on this one. 

  • Matt P July 29, 2020 (12:09 am)

    Why does every press release for a business mention the jobs and money it supposedly brings in but always fails to mention the externalities?  In this case, the damage to the environment far outweighs the pittance that cruise customers spend in Seattle.  And the 5k jobs are mostly workers who are not from here.  

    • WSB July 29, 2020 (1:19 am)

      If you follow the link to the full announcement, there’s a paragraph about the environment. Different spin, though.

  • Sillygoose July 29, 2020 (8:19 am)

    YES!!! The orcas are thrilled by the absence of the Cruise Ships as you can see from the more frequent visit to out bay this year!!  Cruise ships bad……

  • Christine July 29, 2020 (8:54 am)

    I agree. That’s great news! Thanks for the info. 

  • Jordan July 29, 2020 (9:28 am)

    Difficult to say if the project is actually cancelled once and for all, or if the Port is merely adding another layer of pause.  And as another commenter mentioned, the mainstream press (and the Port) ignore a key issue by focusing on COVID-19 alone, and lamenting the economic impact while failing to acknowledge that our house (the climate of Planet Earth) is burning down and that cruise ships and the industry in general are huge sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Follow our Facebook page: Seattle Cruise Control and our website: http://www.seattlecruisecontrol.org

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