Other resources on this topic:
Corps of Engineers, Port of Seattle sign harbor deepening cost-sharing agreement (Sept 2014)
Oil trains called hazard in old Seattle tunnel (Sept 2014)
More Explosive Oil Trains Are Headed to Seattle (Feb 2014)
Seattle harbor project and oil train safety at Freight Roundtable
The Port of Seattle is working with the Army Corps of Engineers on a 3-year feasibility study to determine if there are port deepening options in Elliot Bay.
This diagram explains the differences in container ship sizes and how that impacts the harbor.
The feasibility study for the will reveal details about whether the Port’s East and West Waterways will need to be deepened to accommodate newer and larger container ships capable of carrying up to 18,000 containers.
Ocean carriers are increasingly using these new ships, increasing capacity from a previous capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 containers, saving costs and improving shipping efficiency. The ability for west coast ports, including the Port of Seattle to handle this equipment will help to keep the central Puget Sound region competitive in international trade.
The Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable also heard from Barb Graff, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Seattle regarding a of the city’s emergency management plans in the context of increased crude oil by rail shipments moving through the region.
The assessment finds that the railroads are meeting their requirements, but that more could be done to communicate with local emergency response planners. One recent example is the agreement between Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and BNSF CEO Matt Rose was to not run unit-trains with crude oil through Seattle’s “Great Northern Tunnel” at the same time as passenger rail.