The Port of Seattle boasts state-of-the-art cargo handling facilities, four public marinas, and real estate assets that made it the sixth busiest seaport in the United States in 2010. Twenty-two international shipping lines use the Port of Seattle and move over 2.1 million TEUs of containerized cargo. The Port of Seattle is a major player in the region's economy. The Port of Seattle contributes $416 million in annual business revenues, $18 million in annual taxes, and over 4300 jobs.
One hundred years ago, the natural harbor that would support the Port of Seattle was controlled by railroad companies. The area was a disorganized and unattractive collection of rail tracks, warehouses, and docks. When residents rebelled, the Washington State Legislature passed the Port District Act, giving independent government bodies the authority to run the ports in the State. The Port of Seattle quickly became one of the country's busiest ports.
The Port of Seattle is responsible for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) which hosted over 31 million passengers in 2010. The passenger cruise terminals at the Port of Seattle's Pier 66 and the Smith Cove terminal welcomed about 855 thousand passengers on 195 ship calls in 2011.
Today, the Port of Seattle Commission establishes policy for the port. The Commission is made up of five commissioners who are elected by King County voters to serve four-year terms. The vision for the Port of Seattle is that it will be the Nation's main energy-efficient green port. The Port of Seattle is a public agency tasked with creating jobs in the area by supporting commerce and trade, promoting the growth of industry, and accelerating economic development. The Commission's main goals include creating economic opportunity, protecting the environment, working with surrounding communities, and promoting social accountability and transparency.
In 2008, the Port of Seattle Commission started formulating a "Century Agenda" focused on the next 25 years of operations and involving port employees, the public, and major businesses. The Port of Seattle attracts international trade to the region and supports an industrial community that ranges from commercial fishing to tourism. The Port of Seattle is also a major contributor to the construction and maintenance of regional rail and road infrastructure.
The Port of Seattle Commission adopted the preliminary Century Agenda in early 2012. The agenda outlines four major goals for the next 25 years: positioning the region as a premiere international logistics hub, advancing tourism and business, promoting small business growth and workforce development, and making the Port of Seattle the greenest and most energy-efficient port in North America.
To make it a leading international logistics hub, the Port of Seattle will grow annual container volume to over 3.5 million TEUs, optimize investments in infrastructure and financial returns, triple air cargo volume, and double the economic importance of the maritime and fishing cluster. In addition to increasing international air traffic and cargo, the Port of Seattle will double the economic value of cruise traffic and tourism.
To promote small business and workforce development, the Port of Seattle will increase spending with small business on construction, goods, and services. It will also increase workforce training and job opportunities in travel, trade, and logistics. To assure it is the greenest port in North America, the Port of Seattle will meet increasing needs for energy by conservation and renewable energy sources, carefully manage stormwater leaving port facilities, reduce carbon emissions, focus on preventing sprawl in less developed areas by anchoring Puget Sound industrial land use, and enhance 40 more acres of habitat in Elliott Bay and the Green/Dumwamish watershed.
In 2011, the Port of Seattle was the United States' sixth busiest port in handling TEUs of containerized cargo and the seventh busiest in North America. The Port of Seattle was visited by 1521 vessels in 2011, including 816 container vessels, 196 cruise vessels, 421 barges, and 88 grain vessels. The Port of Seattle handled almost 16.8 million metric tons of containerized cargo and 63.3 thousand metric tons of non-container breakbulk cargo. The Port of Seattle handled over two million TEUs of containerized cargo, including 1.7 million TEUs of international cargo. Bulk cargoes handled by the Port of Seattle in 2011 included over five million tons of grain, 862.8 thousand tons of petroleum, and 48.3 thousand tons of molasses. Almost 886 thousand cruise passengers visited the Port of Seattle in 2011.
Based on the value of cargoes handled in the Port of Seattle in 2011, the Port of Seattle was ranked 12th among United States ports, importing $30.4 million and exporting $12.9 million in cargo. The major commodities exported from the Port of Seattle in 2011 included miscellaneous grain, seed, and fruit; machinery, cereals, fish and seafood; inorganic chemicals and rare earth metals; edible fruit and nuts; paper and paperboard; mineral fuels and oil; and preserved foods. Based on value, the main import commodities in the Port of Seattle were machinery, electrical machinery, toys and sports equipment, knit apparel, non-railway vehicles, woven apparel, furniture and bedding, footwear, and plastics. Based on value, international trade with the Port of Seattle was dominated by trade with China ($20.6 million). Other leading international trade partners included Japan ($6.6 million), South Korea ($2.5 million), Taiwan ($2.0 million), Vietnam ($1.2 million), and Indonesia (over $1.0 million).
Facilities owned and operated by the Port of Seattle range from a half-acre park to huge airports and container terminals. The Port of Seattle is one of King County's largest land holders, and its properties include parks, public access areas, container and cargo terminals, Sea-Tac airport, conference facilities, recreational marinas, office space, warehouses and storage, and piers for cruise ships and working boats.
The Port of Seattle owns two cruise terminals at the waterfront Smith Cove and the Bell Street Pier. These terminals serve almost 900 thousand passengers on cruises to Alaska every year. The terminals serve seven cruise lines.
Port of Seattle conference centers include the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, a UN-approved center with six translation booths, state-of-the-art audio-visual and communications service, and wonderful waterfront views. Located in the downtown waterfront, the Port of Seattle's World Trade Center houses several non-governmental organizations, trade organizations, meeting spaces, and dining rooms. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Conference Center in Sea-Tac Airport supports the business and aviation communities.
The Port of Seattle owns and operates three public marinas: Shilshole Bay Marina, Bell Harbor Marina, and Harbor Island Marina. Shilshole Bay Marina is the Pacific Northwest's sailing center and, as the largest Port of Seattle marina, offers moorage for 1400 boats on-site amenities. Bell Harbor Marina is conveniently located at downtown Seattle within walking distance of the theater district and Pike Place Market. Harbor Island Marina in West Seattle is just minutes from Elliott Bay and saltwater boating.
The Port of Seattle also owns and operates industrial properties that include Fishermen's Terminal, the Grain Facility, Terminal 90/91, and the Maritime Industrial Center. With 365.8 meters (1200 feet) of dock space, Fishermen's Terminal is the historic homeport for the commercial fishing fleet. The fully-automated Grain Facility has capacity for four million bushels and can accommodate trucks and railcars in addition to sea-going vessels. Terminal 90/91 offers both short- and long-term moorage for fishing vessels and commercial workboats. The Maritime Industrial Center near Fishermen's Terminal, offers 463 meters (1518 feet) of dock space for loading and repairs.
The Port of Seattle covers over 624 hectares of waterfront and nearby property that supports container and general purpose cargo terminals, a foreign trade zone, and storage for breakbulk and refrigerated cargo. The natural deep-water Port of Seattle has more than 500 acres of terminal facilities, 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) of moorage, and a 40-acre grain facility.
Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle is operated by Eagle Marine Services and is served by on-dock rail that helps move cargo quickly and efficiently. The Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 covers 133.5 hectares, 63.9 of which are leased and 69.6 of which are available. Terminal 5 has three berths with a total length of 884 meters (2900 feet) with alongside depth of 14 and 15 meters (45 and 50 feet).
The Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 has 600 reefer plugs and is equipped with six post-Panamax container-handling cranes. The 30-acre on-dock intermodal yard has six working rail tracks, loading capacity for the equivalent of two full trains, and an equal amount of storage in the adjacent storage facility. The on-dock rail has direct access to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. The gates, with 12 lanes, are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 11:45am and 1pm to 5pm.
Terminal 5 in the Port of Seattle has a 1.8-acre covered transit shed with access for trucks and a 1.1-acre on-site maintenance and repair facility. The Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 is served by an integrated real-time computer system to efficiently manage rail and gate operations and terminal operations. It is equipped with automated equipment identification and global positioning systems.
SSA Terminals operates the Port of Seattle's 79-hectare Terminal 18. The terminal has four berths totaling 1353 meters (4440 feet). The container berths have alongside depth of 15 meters (50 feet), and the breakbulk berths at Terminal 18 in the Port of Seattle have alongside depth of 12 meters (40 feet). This Port of Seattle terminal has 1227 reefer plugs. It is equipped with ten container-handling cranes, six super-post-Panamax cranes and three post-Panamax cranes.
The on-dock intermodal yard at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 18 has loading capacity equivalent to two full trains and an equal capacity in the adjacent storage facility. There is a 2.2-acre covered transit shed at Terminal 18 in the Port of Seattle and a 2782 square meter (30 thousand square foot) container and chassis repair facility. The terminal has an integrated real-time computer system that monitors vessel, gate, and rail operations and supports efficient terminal operations.
The Port of Seattle's Terminal 30 is operated by SSA Terminals. Offering quick access to the BNSF and UP near-dock rail facilities located less than two miles away, the 70-acre terminal has two non-contiguous berths with a total length of 823 meters (2700 feet) and alongside depth of 15 meters (50 feet). Terminal 30 in the Port of Seattle has 451 reefer plugs. It is equipped with super-post-Panamax cranes and three 40-long-ton Panamax cranes.
Terminal 30 in the Port of Seattle offers reefer and chassis maintenance and repair services and reefer washing and steam-cleaning services. The terminal has an integrated real-time computer system that monitors vessel, gate, and rail operations and facilitates efficient terminal management. Terminal 30 in the Port of Seattle is located near Interstate Highways 90, 5, and 509 as well as the regional distribution centers.
Operated by Total Terminals International (TTI), Terminal 46 in the Port of Seattle is located near downtown Seattle and has easy access to Interstate Highways 5 and 90. The 88-acre terminal has two working berths and a third available berth. Berths total 701 meters (2300 feet) in length with alongside depth of 15 meters (50 feet). The Port of Seattle's Terminal 46 has 426 reefer plugs.
Terminal 46 in the Port of Seattle is equipped with five container-handling cranes including three super-post-Panamax and two post-Panamax cranes. The on-dock intermodal yard at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46 has loading capacity for two full trains and an equal capacity at the adjacent storage facilities. The terminal gates have 17 lanes and dedicated in-gate and out-gate lanes for intermodal connections to the near-dock BNSF and UP rail yards. Terminal 46 in the Port of Seattle has a 1468 square meter (34 thousand square foot) on-site maintenance and repair facility.
The Port of Seattle has two terminals dedicated to breakbulk cargoes and a grain facility.
The Port of Seattle's Terminal 115 is the port's main breakbulk/container terminal. Terminal 115 is used to ship and receive both international and domestic import and export cargo. It supports barge operations and special projects. The 70-acre Terminal 115 facility in the Port of Seattle has 366 meters (1200 feet) of in three berths at the main pier (with alongside depth of 9 meters (30 feet)) and 121 meters (400 feet) of berthing space in one berth at the finger pier with alongside depth of 15 meters (50 feet). The Port of Seattle's Terminal 115 is equipped with top-lift trucks, heavy and smaller forklifts, and crawler cranes.
Terminal 91 in the Port of Seattle offers short- and long-term moorage breakbulk reefer vessels, roll-on/roll-off vessels, commercial workboats, fishing vessels, tugs, barges, ferries, and factory trawlers. The Port of Seattle's 62-hectare Terminal 91 has 2438 meters (8000 feet) of moorage wit new concrete aprons, large staging areas, and on-dock rail service. Terminal 91 is equipped with heavy-lift float cranes, forklifts, and other equipment. On-site facilities at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 91 offer bunker fuel, fish processing, and cold storage. The terminal has rail access to the adjacent BNSF mainline and classification yard and direct access to Union Pacific. It also has easy access to Interstate Highways 5 and 90.
The Port of Seattle's Terminal 86 grain facility is operated by Louis Dreyfus Corporation. This fully-automated grain facility has a wide range of electronic controls and mechanical devices that assure the efficient movement of grain from railcars and trucks through silos to ships' hold. Both the BNSF and UP have access to this Port of Seattle terminal on a common-user basis. The 40-acre Terminal 86 in the Port of Seattle has two berths with alongside depth of 24 meters (80 feet). One is 130 meters (425 feet) long, and the second is 427 meters (1400 feet) long with dolphins. The Terminal 86 grain facility in the Port of Seattle has 16 acres of paved fence storage and an almost four-million bushel capacity grain elevator. The grain gallery runs the full length of the wharf, and the terminal is equipped with two electric-belt conveyor systems with five loading spouts and two direct-transfer drag conveyor systems for direct rail-to-sip transfers. Expandable beyond the current four-million-bushel capacity, the Port of Seattle's Terminal 86 has 68 silos with capacity for 13.5 thousand bushels each and 39 interstices with capacity for 13.5 thousand bushels each.
The Bell Street Pier is the location of the Port of Seattle's premier cruise ship terminal. It also serves large fishing vessels and some workboats. The Bell Street Pier in the Port of Seattle has 594 meters (1950 feet) of berthing space and offers all types of services and equipment used by the marine industry. This Port of Seattle cruise facility is gated and lighted for security. With covered heated storage on-site, the Bell Street Pier also offers ample parking for visitors. Cruise Terminals of America operates the Bell Street Pier on behalf of the Port of Seattle. Both cruise terminals in the Port of Seattle are operated by Cruise Terminals of America.
The Port of Seattle's newest cruise terminal is the Smith Cove Terminal at Pier 91 is located at the waterfront only ten minutes from the city's retail center and the famous Space Needle. The Port of Seattle Smith Cove Terminal is home to Disney Wonder, Carnival, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Royal Caribbean International. The Port of Seattle's Smith Cove Terminal offers on-board check-in and luggage-handling for air passengers. The terminal concierge can store luggage before and after cruises.
Fishermen's Terminal serves commercial fishing vessels and workboats in the Port of Seattle. The Port of Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal has 853 meters (2800 feet) of dock space and can accommodate vessels to 91 meters (300 feet) in length. Terminal users can rent on-site equipment that includes 1.5- and 2.5-ton forklifts, 1.5-ton and 1700-pound capacity cranes, and a 1.5-ton electric hoist. A 15-ton forklift is available, but terminal staff must operate it. Lockers with electricity are available for long-term storage, and there is also secure uncovered storage available.
The Port of Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal also offers moorage to recreational boats to 18.3 meters (60 feet) and linear dockage to 61 meters (200 feet). Protected by 24-hour security, the facility has power and water, free sewage and pump-out, restrooms and showers, and docks for repairs and on-site haul-out. The Port of Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal also has on-site retailers that include three restaurants, a pub, an art gallery, a barber shop, a tobacco shop, a mini-mart, and mail service. Monthly summer moorage at this Port of Seattle facility is available from June through September. Guest moorage is available on a first-come first-served basis, and no reservations are accepted. Moorage rates include shore power. There is also limited monthly year-round moorage available.
The Port of Seattle's Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #5 offers tax and processing fee advantages. Processing and entry fees may be reduced by as much as 85% with the Weekly Entry Process that allows goods to be shipped 24 hours a day. For goods assembled or processed within the FTZ in the Port of Seattle, reduced customs duties are available. Harbor Maintenance Taxes can be deferred. Goods imported and held in the FTZ for sale, storage, assembly, repackaging, display, sorting and grading, mixing, or processing may be exempt from state and local ad valorem taxes.
The Port of Seattle's Maritime Industrial Center is located on the ship canal near the Fishermen's Terminal. The center has concrete dock space of 463 meters (1518 feet) for loading and repair work. Short-term and daily moorage is also available at the center for large vessels to 107 meters (350 feet) in length. Water and electricity are available, as are phone lines. On-site equipment at the Port of Seattle's Maritime Industrial Center includes 2.5-ton forklifts for rent and a 15-ton forklift that must be operated by Port of Seattle staff. Other equipment includes pallet jacks and electrical adapters. The Industrial Center also has 253 meters (830 feet) of concrete dock space for loading and repairs. There are ample storage and staging areas for reefer trucks, pallets, fiber, gear, and equipment.