Port of Tacoma will build 168-acre container terminal

The Port of Tacoma yesterday announced plans to build a $300 million, 168-acre (68-hectare) container terminal on the industrial east side of Tacoma’s Blair Waterway. The terminal will be leased to a container terminal operator, Yusen Terminal Tacoma Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of NYK Line.

The plan was approved by NYK Line at its Board of Directors July 26 meeting in Tokyo, Japan. The Port of Tacoma Commission will hold a special meeting in Tacoma tonight to consider and approve the final lease.

The lease agreement will introduce Yusen Terminal Tacoma Inc. (YTTI) to the Pacific Northwest. Another subsidiary of NYK Line, Yusen Terminals, Inc. (YTI), is currently operating a terminal in the Port of Los Angeles and now the NYK Group is expanding into the Puget Sound.

“This agreement introduces a new employer that will have significant and long-term positive economic impacts for our region,” said Port Commission President Dick Marzano. “Construction will create jobs in Pierce County and throughout Puget Sound. And when completed, this terminal will support Washington state’s growing trade-based economy.”
Peter Keller, President of Tokyo-based NYK Line North America Inc., says YTTI’s move to Tacoma preserves and expands the positive economic impacts of NYK Line’s business in the Puget Sound region.

“It was important for us to make a long-term decision about our growth,” Keller explained. “As we looked up and down the U.S. West Coast, Canada and Mexico and considered our options for the future, it became clear that our greatest opportunity was here in the Pacific Northwest. The Port of Tacoma offers growth capacity, a robust road and rail system and strong community support.

“We have long sought to operate our own terminal in the Pacific Northwest,” Keller continued. “This facility features on-dock intermodal rail, which fits our operational preferences. Moreover, it provides NYK Line capacity for long-term success while providing Washington state with another strong export shipping option.”

The $300 million project is projected to generate about 3,000 construction jobs during the two-year construction timeframe. The construction work will also generate about $19.5 million in taxes ($14.7 million at the state level, and $4.8 million at the local level).

Based on the capacity of the new terminal, it is expected that it will create about 3,200 new jobs throughout Washington state (1,800 new jobs in Pierce County, and 1,400 new jobs outside of Pierce County). These jobs are family-wage jobs, with an average annual salary of about $48,500.

In terms of the total economic “ripple effect” of the new terminal, is expected to impact about 5,800 jobs throughout Washington state (3,500 jobs in Pierce County, and 2,300 jobs outside of Pierce County).

The YTTI terminal is expected to open in 2012. Designed for an annual throughput capacity of 1.4 million to 1.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot container units), the terminal will include a 24-acre intermodal rail yard and a 2,400-foot (731.5-meter) berth on the 51-foot (15.5-meter) deep Blair Waterway. The facility will feature up to eight super post-Panamax container cranes and initial design concepts favor rubber tire gantry (RTG) operations.

“NYK Line and Yusen Terminals, Inc. share the Port of Tacoma’s environmental values,” said Port of Tacoma Executive Director Timothy J. Farrell. “That commitment is reflected not only in the lease agreement, it will also play a key role in the design and operation of the terminal.”

Keller said NYK Line and YTI have a strong record of environmental leadership in the maritime industry. “We have and will continue to set aggressive environmental targets for this new terminal development project. Our objective is to build a facility that will be a model of environmental consciousness,” he said.

Farrell noted that – like all other Port of Tacoma container terminals – the YTTI terminal will feature on-dock intermodal rail. “This is an important benefit for our community, because it eliminates the need for most truck traffic on and off the terminal,” he explained. “Every three-locomotive train that leaves the Port area represents 250 to 300 trucks that are not on our roads, reducing roadway congestion and diesel emissions.”

In addition to building the YTTI terminal, the Port will develop a redesigned terminal with expansion capabilities for Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE), a major domestic shipping line serving the Alaska market. TOTE has called at the Port of Tacoma since 1976.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha is one of the world’s leading transportation companies. The NYK Group operates approximately 740 major ocean vessels, as well as fleets of planes, trains, and trucks.

The company’s shipping fleet includes around 140 containerships, 270 bulk carriers, 50 wood-chip carriers, 110 car carriers, 25 reefer carriers, 70 tankers, 20 LNG carriers, and three cruise ships. NYK’s revenue in fiscal 2006 was $18 billion, and as a group, NYK employs about 48,000 people worldwide. The company has offices in 240 locations in 27 countries, warehouses in every continent, and harbor operations in Asia, North America, and Europe. NYK is based in Tokyo, and has regional headquarters in London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo.