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International cargo vessels are expected to arrive at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal on a regular basis as the result of a new service contract between the Port of Bellingham and Ports America.
Ports America entered negotiations with the port after several of its shipping customers requested use of the Bellingham Shipping Terminal. Ports America is the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the United States.
“This is a major turning point for the Bellingham Shipping Terminal,” said Port Commission President Ken Bell. “As the last Pacific Northwest seaport between the United States and Canada, it was only a matter of time before cargo operators recognized the Bellingham Shipping Terminal as a congestion-free alternative to the docks and terminals serving Vancouver and Seattle. Increased cargo activity at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal will create jobs and stimulate economic activity throughout Whatcom County.”
Under the terms of the contract, Ports America will have exclusive stevedoring rights for certain types of steel as well as inbound international forest products, metal/aluminum ingots, modules, oversized and project cargoes. Much of the inbound cargo will be stored temporarily at the shipping terminal before it is trucked to Canada as its final destination. The port is in the process of designating the shipping terminal and surrounding areas as a Foreign Trade Zone, where customers can store goods without having to pay United States import duties and taxes.
“There is a great deal favoring the Bellingham Shipping Terminal,” said Ports America Director of Breakbulk and Project Cargo Bart Goedhard. “In addition to abundant berth space, warehouse and laydown space, the terminal is near major cities, has a dedicated truck corridor to I-5 and has close proximity to rail.”
“Ports America is a great stevedoring company that will bring work to Bellingham,” said Daren Williams, a spokesman for Local 7 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). “There are many suppliers in Whatcom County who will benefit from increased cargo activity at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal, and the ILWU will create more full-time jobs as a result of this contract.”
The port’s three-year service contract with Ports America has options for two additional three-year terms.
The Bellingham Shipping Terminal is a full-service marine terminal with the flexibility to meet a diverse range of business needs. Terminal assets include 1,250 feet of dock space on a deep-water pier, a 550-foot barge pier, 85,000 square feet of covered storage, 40 acres of available land, and access to resources via rail, barge, rafts, trucks, containers and ocean-going vessels.
Ports America, headquartered in Jersey City, N.J., is the largest independent marine terminal operator in North America, providing terminal management and a full suite of stevedoring and related services. Ports America, including its predecessor companies, has more than 86 years of experience operating American seaports. Its current business includes more than 80 terminals in 42 ports in North America, handling containers, roll on/roll off cargo, general cargo and cruise line passengers. As one of the largest employers of maritime labor in North America, Ports America employs more than 12,000 people each day at its operations, including full-time equivalent employees. www.portsamerica.com.