K Line grows into new husky terminal at Port

With the “K” Line Verrazano Bridge and Port of Tacoma cranes towering overhead, officials of “K” Line, Husky Terminal and Stevedoring, Inc. and International Transportation Service, Inc. (ITS) joined Port of Tacoma Commissioners and employees Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Husky Terminal.

Husky Terminal recently relocated from Terminal 7 to its new location on the Blair Waterway, more than doubling terminal space for “K” Line, Husky’s primary customer. Also known as Terminal 4, the new terminal opens as a 74-acre (30-hectare) facility, and it will be expanded to 93 acres (37.6 hectares) by March 2006.

With four post-Panamax container cranes, the newly renovated facility offers two berths, totaling 1,900 feet (579 meters) – large enough for larger “K” Line vessels of the future.

In August 2004, International Transportation Service, Inc. (ITS), a major West Coast terminal operator reached agreement with the Port of Tacoma on a re-stated lease, re-positioning “K” Line’s Tacoma operations from Terminal 7 on the Sitcum Waterway to the new Terminal 4 location on the Blair Waterway.

The contract called for a comprehensive terminal renovation, which the Port began in January 2005 and was completed in just four months. “We waited a long time for an opportunity to expand our Pacific service in Tacoma,” said Mamoru Mori, Senior Vice President of “K” Line America. “The opening of Husky terminal is very timely. We introduced new ships to Tacoma earlier this year, and next year, we plan to bring in 5,500-TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent container Units) vessels to Tacoma. The new Husky Terminal gives us the capacity to do this.”

Port of Tacoma Commission President R. Ted Bottiger noted that growth at Husky Terminal also benefits the Tacoma-Pierce County community. “This terminal not only means growth for Husky Terminal, ITS and “K” Line, it also means jobs and business opportunities for our community – and enhanced access to international markets for regional exporters,” he said. “As our Port builds for the future, we will continue to focus on projects like this that bring more cargo, more jobs and more economic vitality to our community.”

Built on the 51-foot-deep Blair Waterway, with efficient highway and trans-continental rail connections, Husky Terminal is designed to efficiently move international containerized cargo to both regional markets by truck and throughout the United States by rail – a design Mori says is driving business to the Pacific Northwest.

“Tacoma has a very precious asset – seamless connections from their on-dock intermodal yards to mainline rail,” Mori said. “This allows the fastest service to the U.S. Midwest. The Port of Tacoma and Husky Terminal offer very good, very punctual service. For this reason, Tacoma is becoming very popular with our customers.”

Timothy J. Farrell, the Port’s Executive Director expressed his appreciation for the confidence that ITS showed in Tacoma when they signed their first Port of Tacoma lease in 1983. “We appreciate the vision that “K” Line demonstrated when they chose to call at the Port of Tacoma and position themselves for future growth in the Pacific Northwest. They shared our vision of the efficiency of on-dock intermodal rail, and were one of the first major shipping lines to use the Port’s North Intermodal Yard – the first such on-dock intermodal yard on the West Coast.”

Brendan Dugan, the Port’s Senior Director of Container Terminal Businesses, noted that Husky Terminal is another example of the Port of Tacoma striving to meet customer needs.

“This is a prime example of our commitment to helping our existing customers grow,” he said. “Husky has been in Tacoma since 1983, and each time they have needed to grow, we have been able to address their need.”

In addition to “K” Line cargo, Husky Terminal – through slot charter and vessel-sharing agreements – will also handle steamship lines COSCO, Hanjin, Yang Ming and Zim.

"K" Line Valencia Bridge berthed at Husky Terminal. The shipping company recently moved to a new location at the Port of Tacoma. (PHOTO COURTESY PORT OF TACOMA)