Port of Seattle to Receive $17 Million Boost to Maritime Economy, Cantwell Announces

Funds will be used to construct new container storage yard and truck gate complex at Terminal 5

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced that the Port of Seattle will receive a $17,035,900 federal grant for its ongoing expansion and emissions reduction project. The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).

According to the Northwest Seaport Alliance, this PIDP grant will be used to fund improvements to Terminal 5. The improvement project will consist of two major components:

  1. Construction of a new truck gate complex by relocating the existing gate lanes and expanding the number of lanes equipped with truck scales.
  2. Construction of a cargo container storage yard by demolishing an unused warehouse and repurposing the land for container sorting and storage. 

“Terminal 5 expansion is central to our strategy to reduce port congestion, strengthen the supply chain, and create more good-paying maritime jobs in Seattle. This $17 million grant will fund new cargo storage space needed to reduce backlogs and improve export efficiency so our famers and exporters can get their products on ships and delivered to markets around the world. This grant will also fund the construction of additional truck lanes and scales to improve movement of freight at the port, reduce delays, and lower costs facing shippers and consumers,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Sen. Cantwell wrote a letter of support for the Port of Seattle to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in May 2022. The award was one of five PIDP grants awarded to ports in the State of Washington totaling $71.4 million.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Sen. Cantwell worked to include a record $2.25 billion for the program in the Biden-Harris Infrastructure Law. In September 2021, Sen. Cantwell led a letter calling to boost funding for the PIDP program to help address the ongoing issues with port congestion.

Sen. Cantwell has consistently championed and coauthored the 2019 legislation that reauthorized MARAD and the PIDP grant program. Sen. Cantwell is currently fighting to reauthorize MARAD and the PIDP grant program in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Most recently, the MARAD and PIDP were reauthorized in the 2021 National Defense Reauthorization Act, a provision authored by Sen. Cantwell.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, port congestion significantly impacted Washington state residents. Ships carrying perishables have been held up, sometimes for weeks, causing produce to rot in their containers, resulting in huge losses and reduced food supply. Along with securing more PIDP funding, Sen. Cantwell was instrumental in passing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to strengthen maritime supply chains and protect Washington farmers and exporters from shipping companies’ unfair practices.