The recently formed North West Seaport Alliance (NWSA), comprising the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, needs an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars to make its facilities competitive with rivals, according to members of the ports’ two commissions.
Discussion of the NWSA’s long-term capital needs came up at Tuesday’s budget meeting in which $174.5m was approved in the alliance’s first five-year capital budget.
Some of the NWSA’s 10 commissioners (five from each port) asserted that it needs far more investment – as much as $1bn – to make it match competitors in Canada, in California, on the US East Coast and elsewhere in being able to handle the coming wave of supersized container ships.
The NWSA is a two-month-old marriage of resources – neither party would call it a merger – between the geographically close cargo ports of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state.
The Seattle-Tacoma collaboration amounts to the third largest cargo gateway in North America behind Los Angeles-Long Beach and New York-New Jersey.
Last Wednesday the NWSA announced it would undertake an additional environmental review regarding plans to modernize its Terminal 5 to make it suitable for bigger cargo ships.