The Port of Seattle has canceled its request for proposals for a joint investment to build and operate an estimated $200 million cruise facility at Terminal 46 due to demand uncertainty stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The port suspended planning for the new cruise terminal back in April, citing a need to better understand the short and long-term cruise industry market impacts from the coronavirus crisis.
Prior to the pandemic, officials found that “analysis of the cruise market and cruise ship deployment supported the need for a fourth berth to meet the demand for Port of Seattle cruise services.”
The Port of Seattle had been anticipating a record year for 2020 prior to the suspension of cruising with as many as 233 cruise ships scheduled to sail from the Emerald City. An estimated 1.3 million revenue passengers were expected to travel to and from Seattle this season. The industry supports 5,500 jobs alone and provides nearly $900 million in economic activity for the region.
However, the focus has since shifted from growth to public safety.
“Our current focus remains on public health,” Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck said in a statement accompanying this week’s announcement. “We continue to work with public health partners and cruise stakeholders to determine the enhanced procedures that will make our cruise passenger terminals and facilities safe for the community, passengers and crew in 2021. The last two decades of growth indicate that there is durable demand for Seattle cruises. When we can, we will convert that demand into more business opportunities and jobs for our region.”
Back in April, we suspended planning for a new cruise terminal as we wanted to better understand the short and long-term cruise industry market impacts from #COVID19. As a result, we’re canceling our request for industry proposals. https://t.co/4uxg7q17ss pic.twitter.com/nkEJNI1w3L
— Port of Seattle – (@PortofSeattle) July 29, 2020
While expansion is on hold until officials have more certainty about future demand, the Port of Seattle and Northwest Seaport Alliance will continue with prior projects to enhance Terminal 46 such as installing stormwater treatment infrastructure and renovating the dock.