Port of Seattle Deepening Study Halfway Through

Port of Seattle and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are halfway through a deepening feasibility study that will evaluate alternatives for deepening the navigation channels in the East & West Waterways up to 55 feet.

Port of Seattle is one of the first ports in the nation to participate in the Corps’ new, streamlined process for deepening studies. The study is on track to be completed on time in the fall of 2017.

This was highlighted on Monday when one of the largest cargo ships in the world, the CMA CMG Benjamin Franklin, arrived at the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s Terminal 18 in Seattle.

The entire cargo industry is upsizing to big ships. To keep the Puget Sound gateway competitive, we must invest in our terminal facilities and road and rail networks to efficiently handle these larger vessels and additional cargo,” said John Creighton, president of the Port of Seattle Commission.

The larger vessels require terminals with deeper berths, stronger piers and bigger container cranes.

NWSA’s 10-year strategic business plan outlines how the company will address the competitive challenges to grow cargo volumes, create jobs and improve financial performance, including planned upgrades in the North Harbor’s Terminal 5 and South Harbor’s Terminal 4.

The plan defines opportunities to develop strategic terminals that are equipped to handle ultra-large container ships and the increased cargo volumes these ships bring.

It proposes a phased build-out of the strategic terminals based on market demand, opportunities to optimize existing facilities and using excess container acreage for alternative cargo to further diversity the NWSA’s cargo portfolio.

Terminal investments currently underway include:

  • Terminal 5 berth modernization;
  • Terminal 4 pier modernization.


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