In 2015, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma joined to form the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), a marine cargo operating partnership. A partner of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the NWSA is the fourth-largest container gateway for containerized cargo shipping between Asia and major distribution points in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and the East Coast. The first of its kind in North America, the NWSA is also a major center for bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles, and trucks. Since its formation, the NWSA’s cargo operations are seeing positive results.
In February of this year, total container volume rose 6%, compared with last year for a total of 279,488 equivalent container units (TEUs). Total February international container volume was up 7.4% to 233,643 TEUs.
This year, the NWSA also received four new ZPNC super post-Panamax cranes for its Pier 4 Husky Terminal that’s being reconfigured to align with an adjacent pier, creating one contiguous berth capable of working two 18,000 TEU container ships simultaneously. It already handles 13,000 TEU vessels. The project is a strategic commitment to modernize the terminals to handle the bigger ships of the future.
One of them, the Zhen Hua 28, a 761-foot-long heavy lift ship, carried four of the West Coast’s largest container cranes to the Port of Tacoma in February. Last week, Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC Laurence arrived and is the largest container ship to enter the NWSA’s Terminal 46. The MSC Laurence has capacity for almost 13,000 20-foot TEUs. If laid end-to-end, the 13,000 TEUs would stretch to the top of Mount Rainier 18 times, a distance of almost 50 miles according to the NWSA.
This cruise season also saw the biggest cruise ship on the West Coast arrive at the Port of Seattle. The 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss arrived in Seattle in May. For the second year in a row, the Port expects to handle more than a million revenue passengers.
For more information, visit the NWSA’s website.