Category Archives: Shipping

Widened Panama Canal benefits Northwest Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance reports that a new high efficiency vessel designed specifically to take advantage of the widened Panama Canal and reduce its carbon footprint arrived at The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s East Blair One terminal in Tacoma on August 10th.

The first-call visit by the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) MV Thalatta indicates the larger locks in Panama open new opportunities for both roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) and container cargoes moving through the Pacific Northwest. The new locks opened in June and allow transit of much larger vessels.

“The wider Panama Canal provides our gateway with expanded capacity to global markets, particularly in Europe, the Mediterranean and South America,” said Bari Bookout, the NWSA’s chief commercial officer for non-container. “The new locks allow carriers like Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics to develop larger, more efficient vessels to meet customer demand and regulatory requirements.”

The Thalatta is the second in WWL’s High Efficiency Ro/Ro (HERO) fleet, designed to increase capacity and cargo flexibility while reducing emissions. Its sister ship, the MV Themis, is expected to visit the NWSA this fall.

At 650 feet long (200 meters) and 120 feet wide (36.5 meters), the Thalatta has capacity to transport up to 8,000 vehicles. The vessel features five liftable decks to allow for multiple configurations and a wide variety of cargoes. A shallower draft gives these ships access to a wider range of ports globally.

WWL has environmental ambitions for a zero emissions future, and the Thalatta includes several innovations to reduce fuel consumption and its environmental impact. Most notable is the new Exhaust Gas Cleaning System that ensures sulphur emissions comply with the Emissions Control Area (ECA) regulations. The system also reduces particulate emissions by 70 percent, and significantly reduces Sox, CO2 and NOx emissions.

Additionally, the vessel is significantly wider that other Ro/Ro vessels, so it requires less ballast water to maintain vessel stability. That improves vessel efficiency and reduces the environmental risk of invasive species.

WWL expects to deploy a total of eight HERO vessels before the end of 2017.

Learn more about the HERO fleet. Find additional information on the MV Thalatta.
About the East Blair One terminal

The East Blair One terminal located in The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s South Harbor is dedicated to breakbulk and Ro/Ro cargoes.

Built in 2008, the 20-acre (8.1-hectacre) terminal offers a 1,200-foot (366-meter) deep-water berth and heavy-lift pad rated at 2,000 PSF, as well as on-dock rail and excellent highway connections.

The terminal is operated by the NWSA.
About The Northwest Seaport Alliance

The Northwest Seaport Alliance is a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Combined, the ports are the fourth-largest container gateway in North America. Regional marine cargo facilities also are a major center for bulk, breakbulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes, automobiles and trucks.


Port of Seattle Prepares for Megaships – Design Phase Test Pile Driving

Seattle is making preparations to allow megaships to pull into Seattle as another west-coast shipping option at Terminal 5.  This terminal is currently the only one with direct rail access, greatly reducing the short-haul trucking required on Seattle’s crowded surface streets between the dock and the rail yards.

Contractors will begin driving test piles at Terminal 5 in Seattle the first week of January. The installation will last through March.  The pile driving and testing is part of the design phase of the terminal’s improvements.
Planned dock improvements will make the terminal capable of accommodating heavier cranes and provide deeper drafts to handle the megaships cascading into the trans-Pacific trade. These terminal improvements are aimed at helping us compete in a changing marketplace to support the jobs we have and create new ones, while continuing to drive economic benefits for our communities and customers.
Test results could help reduce the final number of piles required and refine the depth of installation during berth construction. This could help save money and reduce construction-related noise.
About 27 piles will be installed at the edge of the Terminal 5 wharf. Installation and testing will take place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays in compliance with the City of Seattle’s noise ordinance.
Once installed, some of the piles will be tested using a method known as rapid-load testing. The testing sounds like a half-second cannon shot. The sound can be as loud as 145 decibels at a distance of 50 feet. Nine tests are planned, with no more than one test per day.

Questions about the pile driving and testing may be directed to 206-787-6886 or

Photo credit – Hanjin megaship passes under the Golden Gate Bridge –