Port of Seattle boosts box traffic, plans more growth
The port of Seattle said it increased its container traffic 20 percent to 1.8 million container TEUs in 2004, confirming its higher volume growth when compared to the heavily congested ports of Southern California.
The port of Seattle said the strong surge in container volumes last year was due to three primary factors: growth in trade with China, now Seattle’s top trading partner; an increase in the number of import distribution centers in the Puget Sound area; and the shipping-terminal expansion projects the port initiated in the 1990s.
“More cargo also is being directed to the region as major importers such as Home Depot, Target and others open import distribution centers in the Puget Sound area,” the port said.
The Pacific Northwest port mentioned plans to raise cargo handling capacity to “at least 3 million container TEUs annually” and mentioned facility expansion plans.
“We plan to invest $20 million to upgrade Terminal 25 and re-open that facility in mid-2005,” said Mic Dinsmore, chief executive officer of the port of Seattle.
Seattle-based terminal operator SSAT will lease Terminal 25 to serve Matson. Matson’s move to Terminal 25, from its current location at Terminal 18, will allow the latter facility to continue to grow.
SSAT plans to bring in new cargo-handling equipment this year, and will add four new container cranes to Terminal 18 in 2006.
“The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will make improvements to its major rail yard south of downtown that will provide increased container storage and benefit all of the port’s carriers and shippers,” the port said.
Seattle’s longshore workforce, International Longshore Workers Union Local 19, will add more than 200 members by the end of the year and by mid-year will open a second dispatch hall. “The moves will ensure that Seattle has ample qualified longshore labor when and where it is needed,” the port promised.
The neighboring port of Tacoma reported a more modest 3 percent increase in its box traffic for 2004, to 1.8 million TEUs in 2004, including domestic cargo to and from Alaska and Hawaii.