Updates on COVID-19 response

Updates on COVID-19 response

The Northwest Seaport Alliance gateway remains open and operational during this health crisis. We know our shipping terminal and transportation connections play a critical role in supporting the nation’s economic recovery, and the NWSA is committed to keeping cargo flowing efficiently and safely through our gateway.

We are working closely with marine terminal operators, labor, warehouse companies and supply chain partners to ensure the gateway operates as smoothly as possible. Here are some useful links to bookmark:

June 22, 2020

The Northwest Seaport Alliance gateway remains open and operational. The seaport plays a critical role in supporting regional and national economic recovery. We are committed to keeping cargo flowing efficiently and safely through our gateway.

April 10, 2020

A resolution has been reached between SSA and the ILWU through the arbitration process. Terminal 18 is fully operational today. This resolution means cargo will continue to provide emergency supplies, daily necessities and boost our larger economic recovery during this difficult time.

March 31, 2020

The Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Port of Seattle are proud to lend a hand to the U.S. Army's Field Hospital Region 10 efforts. Here are storage containers arriving at Terminal 46, adjacent to CenturyLink Field where the hospital will be located. These containers are part of the support operations for the hospital. Big thanks to our approved licensee Foss Maritime, and ILWU Local #19 volunteering their help and support. Photo credit: Russ Read, Port of Seattle

March 28, 2020

“In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, The Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Port of Seattle will make sections of Terminal 46 available for trailers, container equipment and storage needs in support of the U.S. Army's Field Hospital Region 10, which is to be set up this coming week at CenturyLink Field Event Center. The NWSA’s approved licensee to operate cargo operations at T-46, Foss Maritime, is uniquely situated and qualified to work with military, hospital, health, and other stakeholders to provide the necessary services as requested. We greatly value the opportunity to work with all entities to protect the health and safety of our region during this time of crisis. The temporary hospital facilities will be for non-COVID-19 patients.” 

— Commissioners John McCarthy and Peter Steinbrueck, Port commission presidents and co-chairs of The Northwest Seaport Alliance

March 23, 2020

On March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee announced enhanced strategies to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. These include a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to further enhance social distancing. All non-essential businesses must close within 48 hours unless employees can work from home.

The order goes into effect immediately. It will last for a minimum of 14 days and could be extended. As part of that order, the governor announced that businesses designated “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” will continue to operate. This list includes “maritime transportation workers — port workers, pilots, longshoremen, mariners, equipment operators, ship and vessel operators, crane operators, and shipyard foremen/women, marina workers.”

Construction of critical infrastructure is also included as essential.

Based on these exemptions, all cargo terminals within The Northwest Seaport Alliance gateway in Seattle and Tacoma remain operating under normal business hours with very few exceptions. For the latest terminal schedule, visit the Terminals page on the NWSA website. For specific questions regarding terminal operations, please contact the terminals directly.

As we have noted in previous communications, our international and domestic terminals and International Longshore and Warehouse Union partners have adopted mitigation plans and are also developing contingency plans should port operations be disrupted.

March 21, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin on March 19, 2020, regarding mariner credentials.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin on March 18, 2020, regarding port and facility operations.

March 20, 2020

The Northwest Seaport Alliance is open and operating, developing continuity plans with stakeholders

Keeping the health, safety, and well-being of the public and our workforce is the top priority for The Northwest Seaport Alliance. Each of our terminals has modified its business continuity plan in response to the rapidly evolving nature of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NWSA and our supply chain partners are also focused on mitigation efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Read more

March 17, 2020

NWSA terminals remain open; customized solutions to be implemented to mitigate service disruptions

All marine terminals in Seattle and Tacoma continue operations at The Northwest Seaport Alliance. The NWSA remains committed to serving our customers and supply chain partners who depend on our gateway to deliver goods around the world.

Through a proactive customer outreach program, we are working to provide customized service solutions to mitigate operational disruptions to the supply chain. (For more information, please contact our team at [email protected]. We will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.)

The NWSA has also developed a business continuity plan in coordination with our key industry partners in light of a forecasted cargo surge in late April to early May.

NWSA terminal operations

Keeping health and safety a top priority for everyone working on the waterfront, each terminal has modified its business continuity plan in response to the rapidly evolving nature of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To slow the spread of the virus, the international and domestic terminals have adopted mitigation plans, which include the implementation of social distancing measures, a reduction in access to terminals for nonessential personnel and minimizing in-person contact between workers and customers.

  • Terminals have enhanced and increased their cleaning and disinfecting services and are providing extra cleaning supplies, including hand cleaning stations. Please notify the terminal operators if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Terminals have on-call contractors in place for a complete terminal cleaning in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • All container terminals within the gateway are operating under normal business hours with very few exceptions. For the latest terminal schedule, visit the Terminals page on the NWSA website. For specific questions regarding terminal operations, please contact the terminals directly.

Resources:

Check the following resources for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19:

March 17, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin on March 17, 2020, regarding the novel coronavirus update.

March 16, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Maritime Safety Information Bulletin on March 13, 2020, regarding vessel reporting requirements for illness or death.

March 16, 2020

All pre-arrival documentation for EB1 to be completed electronically starting March 16

Due to the public safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, our documentation and cargo clearance process is being enhanced to improve social distancing, while continuing to deliver high levels of customer service.

Starting Monday, March 16, all pre-arrival documentation will be completed electronically via email or telephone. The EB1 Customer Service team will be available by phone at 253-592-6750 or email at [email protected].

Our goal is to continue moving your cargo, while providing a safe working environment for our employees and all Port users.

 

March 13, 2020

The Northwest Seaport Alliance response to COVID-19

During this COVID-19 outbreak, The Northwest Seaport Alliance remains committed to protecting the health of our community and employees. Working closely with the United States Coast Guard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NWSA continues to serve the needs of our customers as cargo-handling facilities remain operational. We are also following the CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We are focused on maintaining the reliability of our gateway, reducing the potential of infections and positioning ourselves so that we can adjust in the event that further measures become necessary,” said NWSA CEO John Wolfe.

  • The CDC is the main federal response agency for maritime vessels. The U.S. Coast Guard has authority on commercial vessel traffic and crew members on board the vessels. Here’s the U.S. Coast Guard’s latest marine safety information update from March 9: https://bit.ly/2vgVEy9.
    • Vessels destined for a U.S. port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during 15 days prior to arrival at the U.S. port.
    • Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) or embarked crew members who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days, with no sick crew members, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. Crew members on these vessels will be required under captain of the port authority to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.
  • The NWSA and Washington state ports are in communication with each other and the United States Coast Guard through the USCG Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC), which was established to be prepared for events such as this.
  • We have implemented daily enhanced cleaning protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus at Port maritime and marine maintenance facilities including:
    • Providing hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes for self-cleaning of desks, equipment and NWSA vehicles.
    • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout facilities, including kitchens, handrails, doorknobs, offices, conference rooms and restrooms.
  • The Annual Breakfast, scheduled for March 25, 2020 has been postponed to a later date.
  • All non-essential domestic and international business travel for employees through April 15, 2020 has been suspended.
  • To increase physical distance among employees, the NWSA has implemented a flexible worksite policy for employees who are able to telework.

Resources

Check the following resources for the most up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus:

March 10, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard issued the following news release updating the current Maritime Safety Information Bulletin for vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders.

March 9, 2020

The safety of our customers, supply chain partners and The Northwest Seaport Alliance team is our paramount responsibility. Due to recent concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to postpone our Annual Breakfast, which was scheduled for March 25, 2020. We appreciate your understanding and will be sharing more information in the coming days.

March 3, 2020

As the operational situation evolves, The NWSA will continue to engage with the Marine Terminal Operators, Ocean Carriers and BCOs on the latest impacts to operations. At this time no major impacts to operations are noted.

Terminal hours of operations will be updated as changes are identified.  Please check our Terminals page for the most current information available.

Resources:

Feb. 3, 2020

The new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of a pneumonia-type illness in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This outbreak began in early December 2019 and continues to expand in scope and magnitude. On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the virus outbreak a global health emergency.

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Coast Guard has issued the following news release for vessel owners/operators and local stakeholders.

Vessels destined for a U.S. port are required to report to the CDC any sick or deceased crew/passengers during the 15 days prior to arrival at a U.S. port. Guidance to vessels on reporting deaths and illnesses to the CDC can be found here. U.S. flagged commercial vessels are also advised to report ill crew members in accordance with the requirements of each foreign port called upon.

Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) or embarked crew members who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the last 14 days, with no sick crew members, will be permitted to enter the U.S. and conduct normal operations, with restrictions. Crew members on these vessels will be required under the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) authority to remain aboard the vessel except to conduct specific activities directly related to vessel cargo or provisioning operations.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance and Washington state ports are in communication with the Coast Guard through its Area Maritime Security Committee, which was established to be prepared for events such as this. 

The CDC is the main federal response agency. For situational updates, check the CDC’s website.