At a special series of events held in Tacoma June 26, more than 100 shipping line and Port officials, elected officials, customers and vendors gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Washington United Terminals (WUT) and Hyundai Merchant Marine at the Port of Tacoma.
WUT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korean-based Hyundai Merchant Marine, opened at the Port of Tacoma in 1999 operating an 80-acre terminal. Located on the 51-foot-deep Blair Waterway, the WUT terminal was the first major new container terminal development on the upper Blair since the removal of the Blair Bridge in 1997.
“Over 10 years ago, Hyundai expressed confidence in our Port,” said Port of Tacoma Commission President Clare Petrich. “They shared our vision for the development potential of the upper Blair Waterway, and they have been very successful in doing so.”
At the time, it was the largest new terminal construction project in Port of Tacoma history. Hyundai and the Port partnered to invest a total of $100 million in the new terminal. The Port invested in the construction of the 80-acre, two-berth terminal and the ondock intermodal rail yard, and Hyundai purchased four container cranes and yard handling equipment.
“Competition in the shipping industry is deep and limitless,” said Mr. S.M. Kim, President and CEO, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd. “So it is very impressive to see that we have nearly doubled our volumes in Tacoma over the last 10 years. There is nothing more rewarding than something that fulfills its mission.”
Other developments at the WUT terminal over the years have included expanding the facility to 102 acres in 2000 and adding two new super post-Panamax container cranes in early 2009. The new cranes have a reach of 24-containers across a cargo ship, and are equipped to handle project and breakbulk cargo pieces and heavy equipment up to 100 tons.
The new cranes reflect WUT’s long-term confidence in continued trade and cargo growth in Tacoma. By mid-2011, the Port will expand the berth 600 feet to a total of 1,600 feet.
Shipping companies belonging to The New World Alliance call at WUT. The alliance includes Hyundai Merchant Marine, MOL and APL. MOL vessels first began calling at the terminal in January 2008.
Over the last 10 years, the terminal has handled a total of 2,469,525 TEUs (20-foot containers). This milestone was highlighted during a terminal tour and crane demonstration that was part of the celebration event June 26.
The facility employs 200 full-time personnel with family-wage jobs. It is estimated the statewide economic impact of WUT’s operations connects with more than 1,800 jobs throughout Washington state.