The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) hailed the delivery of four super-post-Panamax cranes to the Port of Seattle as a “significant milestone” in the Terminal 5 modernization project.

SSA Marine, the world’s largest privately held marine terminal operator, is the owner and future operator of the ZPMC-built cranes, each standing 316 feet tall with a 240-foot outreach boom and ability to lift 100 tons of cargo. 

The NWSA said the cranes will be among the largest in service on the West Coast and will enable the largest ships in the trans-Pacific trade to call.

The cranes were transported from Shanghai and arrived in Seattle Harbor on Sunday. They will start moving cargo at the beginning of 2022, when the first phase of a two-part construction projection at Terminal 5 is completed. 

“Farmers, manufacturers and other exporters from Washington state to the Midwest depend on the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to quickly move their products to buyers in Asia and beyond,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., in a statement. “Expanding capacity at Seattle’s Terminal 5 to handle the largest, newest cargo ships is critical to keeping our ports competitive in the global economy.”

SSA Terminals President Ed DeNike said the cranes illustrate the company’s commitment to the Pacific Northwest market and its customers. 

“We know larger ships carrying increased volumes are coming. We want to be out in front of that curve and are preparing our terminal to serve our customers’ needs,” DeNike said. 

The NWSA said at full completion Terminal 5 will offer “185 acres of additional capacity and on-dock rail to handle discretionary cargo and shorepower, which are essential to the sustainable growth of the NWSA gateway. Beyond import cargo, Terminal 5 will increase opportunities for exporters from the Midwest and eastern Washington to move their goods to market.”

Increasing capacity in the Pacific Northwest also is a priority for Maersk Warehousing & Distribution, which is scheduled to open a 117,000-square-foot, 103-door cross-dock facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sept. 1. 

“The facility is a key pivot point in supply chain management,” Maersk said in a statement. 

Maersk used a typical transit from Busan, South Korea, to the Port of Vancouver of 16 days as an example. Container loading at origin can add seven to 10 days and unloading at destination can take one to four days, bringing total transit up to as much as 30 days. 

“During that time window, customer orders change all the time,” Maersk said. “With a cross-dock option, customers have much better response capabilities to demand fluctuations while reducing inventory costs of storage.”

The warehouse is designed to leverage the use of Canadian Pacific rail service directly from the port as a lower carbon emission choice than multiple trucks in the port complex and on local roads, Maersk said. 

Maersk Canada President Omar Shamsie said the facility will open at a time “when customers are looking to find new ways to keep pace with consumer demand and be more sustainable with their carbon emissions. The logistics goal of this facility is to allow customers more time and flexibility in decision-making. They can now easily make destination routing decisions upon arrival at the discharge port instead of at origin.” 

Maersk Warehousing & Distribution operates 46 locations in North America. 

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