One month after its first modernized berth opened for cargo shipping, Terminal 5 has ‘already had a huge win,” Northwest Seaport Alliance managing members were told at their February meeting.
The NWSA says the West Seattle terminal is benefiting from port and railroad congestion in Canada – two of the first three ships to call were sent here instead of Vancouver, B.C., and sent thousands of containers via rail to Montreal and Toronto. Terminal 5’s rail capability was a key selling point for the modernization project.
This was announced in the “operational update” during the meeting of the Seattle and Tacoma port commissioners (the NWSA is the two ports’ joint cargo-operations authority). They were told that the initial startup of T-5’s north berth “is going very well.” All four of the giant new cranes have operated with no downtime – something of a rarity, NWSA staff said – and unions have filled all the terminal operators’ orders for workers.
Next milestones for the north berth, as we’ve reported, will be the arrival of the first big ships later this month (the dates change frequently). These also tend to be newer as well as shore-power-capable, meaning they can use on-dock electricity rather than running their engines and burning fuel while docked.
The NWSA meeting this past Tuesday (here’s the video) also included a construction update on the overall T-5 project, which includes modernization of the south berth, on which work is well under way. Project manager Emma Del Vento said they’re seeing some effects of the concrete strike and supply-chain issues, but nothing affecting the “critical path” schedule overall. Here’s the slide deck she presented:
The total cost of the T-5 project is now projected at $368 million. That’s double the low end of the early projections back in 2015.
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