Port of Tacoma Deepens Sitcum Waterway

Thursday, September 19, 2002
Keeping an eye to its future, the Port of Tacoma has started a new waterway-deepening project that will assure that the Pacific Northwest's largest container port will continue to attract the world's largest container ships. "We already serve Maersk Sealand's S-Type container vessels -- the world's largest," said Jack Fabulich, President of the Port of Tacoma Commission, adding that these Maersk container ships, at 380 yards (347-meters) long, are expected to be eclipsed by even larger ships in the near future.

"We feel it is critical that the Port of Tacoma remain a step ahead of our competitors and be able to accommodate these large vessels -- fully loaded -- at both high and low tides." The Port of Tacoma has a naturally deep harbor that does not require maintenance dredging. At low tides, however, some of these very large ships cannot be fully laden; so Seattle-based Manson Construction is deepening the Sitcum Waterway, already at 46-48 ft., to a depth of 51 ft. The $1.024 million contract calls for approximately 170,000 cubic yards of material to be removed over a five- to six-week period. Manson will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week using a 24-cubic yard clamshell bucket to remove material, which is barged to and deposited at a Department of Natural Resources-approved site in Commencement Bay (approximately 500 ft. in depth). The Sitcum Waterway was dredged to its current depth during 1994 environmental remediation dredging. The sediments of this project allowed a 25-acre expansion of the Maersk-Sealand Terminal (APM Terminal) in 1996. Today, the Sitcum Waterway serves three significant terminal operations: Maersk Sealand Terminal (APM Terminal): Calling at this terminal is Denmark-based Maersk Sealand and vessels operated by CSX Lines, a domestic container carrier serving Alaska, Hawaii and Guam. The facility boasts 132 acres (53 hectares) and two berths totaling 2,200 ft. (484 meters). Four with 18-container-wide outreach and one crane with a 14-container outreach load and unload containers. This facility offers immediate access to the Port's South Intermodal Yard. Husky Terminal (Terminal 7, Berth D): Three cranes with 14-container-wide outreach on this 1,000-foot (305-meter) berth serve container ships operated by Japan-based "K" Line. The terminal is directly adjacent the Port's North Intermodal Yard; containers move between the terminal and the intermodal yard without leaving Port property.

Terminal 7 (Berths A, B and C): With 2,700 ft. (823 meters) of berth space, this Port-operated terminal is used for breakbulk shipments, RoRo cargoes and heavy lift/project cargoes. The facility features two cranes with 14-container wide outreach (Berth C) and a bulk materials crane (Berth B). With a rail spur on the dock, there is easy access to the Port's North Intermodal Yard.

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