The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the new cooperative shipping operations between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, is hosting the Benjamin Franklin on a test call to see how well the region’s port infrastructure can handle the new larger container ships.
The Benjamin Franklin is 18,000 TEUs, the largest ship to ever come to the U.S.
Container ships are getting bigger, generally up to 10,000 TEUs from 6,000 ten years ago.
The visit is designed to show the future competitiveness of the ports as ship sizes increase.
To date, Terminal 18 is the only facility of the Seaport Alliance’s that can handle an 18,000 TEU container ship. Plans to upsize Terminal 15 are in the works.
The Benjamin Franklin will be unloading electronic goods from China and loading agricultural products from eastern Washington.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance ports are the third-largest container gateway in North America and its marine cargo operations support more than 48,000 jobs.