The Northwest Seaport Alliance takes another step toward modernizing Terminal 5 to “big ship readiness” capable of meeting growing marine cargo industry needs.
After receiving additional information from potential partners interested in the terminal, the NWSA determined that additional environmental review is required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
The NWSA will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to ensure that the upgrades will meet industry needs as a key strategic marine cargo terminal in the Pacific Northwest, while engaging with stakeholders to identify potential project-related impacts and ways to manage them.
Terminal 5 could only handle ships with a capacity of 6,000 20-foot-equivalent units (TEU) when container operations were suspended in July 2014 to allow for the strategic investments necessary to handle two 18,000-TEU ships simultaneously.
“Upgrading Terminal 5 to handle larger vessels is critical to creating new maritime and industrial jobs for the region,” said Stephanie Bowman, co-president of the Port of Seattle, a partner in the alliance with the Port of Tacoma. “As part of our commitment to the community, we will carefully study the environmental impacts of the terminal improvements.”
The planned dock improvements will accommodate heavier cranes and provide deeper drafts to handle the larger ships cascading into the trans-Pacific trade.
Design and permitting began last year.
A thorough communications and outreach program is planned to keep stakeholders informed and solicit input throughout the environmental review process.
A public scoping meeting is scheduled for November 12, at The Hall at Fauntleroy, Seattle.