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Terminal Traffic Shifts

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) expects to see changes in truck volumes at several of its container terminals in the coming months. These changes may affect local traffic.

What is expected?

The NWSA expects a reduction in truck volumes at Washington United Terminals in Tacoma. At the same time, the NWSA is expecting a significant growth in truck volumes at Terminal 18 in Seattle and a modest increase at Husky Terminal in Tacoma. These shifts in trucks volumes are expected to occur later this month and peak in early- to mid-May.

Why is this happening?

Over the last several years, ocean carriers have formed alliances to better utilize their collective assets to manage costs in light of weak market conditions. In April, the members of these alliances are set to reshuffle, creating three major alliances engaged in the trans-Pacific trade instead of the previous four. The new alliance configurations mean changes at which terminals the different carriers and their alliances call. This will likely mean corresponding changes in truck traffic at these various terminals.

What is the NWSA doing about this?

The NWSA is working closely with terminal operators to ensure they do everything practical to manage their operations to minimize truckĀ backups at their gates. Terminal operators assure the NWSA that they are prepared to handle these changes.
NWSA staff continue to encourage our tenants to consider a variety of options at their disposal including, but not limited to, extended gate hours, appointment systems and other operational tools. Over the long-term, the NWSA continues to explore opportunities for gate redesigns, expanded truck staging facilities and off-dock container yards that could help. These infrastructure investments are expensive and will take time to fund and develop.

Who can I talk to?

For more information on this situation in the South Harbor, please contact Tim Ebner, NWSA Operations Department, at (253) 592-6719 or at
For more information on this situation in the North harbor, please contact Steve Queen, NWSA Operations Department, at (253) 888-4412 or at

Additional key contacts of note:

Tacoma Rail dispatch (253) 396- 3161
Port of Tacoma Security hotline (253) 592-6789
Port of Seattle Police Department dispatch (206) 787- 5401