Why did the breakbulk operation cross the Port?

Simply because it was necessary.

At yesterday's Port of Tacoma Commission meeting, Larry St. Clair, the Port's director of non-container business development, made a request for approval of a $400,000 onetime project cost to move breakbulk from Terminal 7, on the east side of the Sitcum Waterway, to East Blair 1 Terminal on the Blair Waterway. The request was unanimously approved by the Commission.

The projected total cost of the move actually comes to $322,112, but the $400,000 figure allows for a 20 percent contingency. St. Clair cited revenue from ongoing breakbulk operations as the source of the moving cost.

“The reason the move from T7 to EB1 is necessary is that we need to retain our largest breakbulk customer, which is WWL (Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics),” said St. Clair to commissioners. 

WWL had made a number of requests of the port, including a load rating on the wharf of 1,000 pounds per square foot and a heavy lift pad with a load rating of 2,000 pounds per square foot, as well as additional land for expansion of WWL's existing businesses.

To accommodate WWL, the entire breakbulk operation will be relocated, including equipment, Vessel Operations Longshore and personnel — including Port of Tacoma customer service and a pair of superintendents' work stations, as well as stations for foremen, clerks and longshoremen. 

St. Clair projected that relocation of personnel could be accomplished at the end of this month; the relocation of equipment and cargo was already accomplished via barge by Sept. 6, and connections for electrical and IT at the new site were finished on Sept. 9.

As for the scope of the work, St. Clair said that “we're looking at total jobs varying between 15 and 50 FTEs (full time equivalent), based upon whether vessels are working at the time and the amount of cargo flowing through the facility.” 

St. Clair added that WWL is “very happy with” its new East Blair home. Two vessels have already been worked at the new location, with another slated for Sunday.