Northwest Seaport Alliance, Army Corps agree to deepening study of Tacoma Harbor

Published Aug. 21, 2018

SEATTLE--The Northwest Seaport Alliance and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) signed a feasibility cost-sharing agreement to initiate a feasibility study of navigation improvements to the Blair and Sitcum waterways at the Port of Tacoma. 

The study will evaluate navigation improvement alternatives, including deepening. This is a first step to deepen the federal channels serving the Port of Tacoma, allowing them to handle the largest ships calling ports in North America.

“With the signing of these documents today, we begin this project to deepen the South Harbor as part of our effort to develop what will be one of the deepest gateways in the nation,” said NWSA CEO John Wolfe. “We truly value our partnership with the Army Corps. It is vital for building a stronger trade gateway and keeping ship calls and the jobs they support in the Pacific Northwest and in the U.S.”

“The Port of Tacoma is a rapidly expanding major port,” said USACE Seattle District Commander Col. Mark Geraldi. “Deepening the Blair and Sitcum waterways may result in cost and time savings, potentially lowering project operations and maintenance costs, as well as potentially allowing for the removal of draft restrictions for certain vessels. This general investigation feasibility study will determine whether there is a federal interest in participating in modifying the existing waterways.”

A similar study was recently concluded in the alliance’s North Harbor in Seattle that recommended deepening to 57 feet, paving the way to make it the deepest port in the nation. More information on that project can be found here.

Link to the NWSA news release at:

Patricia Graesser

Release no. 18-057