EVERETT — The Port of Everett is getting a $10 million federal grant to help pay for strengthening and upgrading its South Terminal.
Port officials expect the improvements will take three years to finish and cost a total of $55 million. It will enable the port to handle heavier cargo and bigger ships — two dominant trends in the modern shipping industry. The work list includes reinforcing 560 feet of dock, installing tracks to support a massive harbor crane, and adding two rail sidings so cars can be loaded and unloaded without tying up the main line.
“This project is the port’s number one capital project,” Port of Everett spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said.
Without the improvements, it could not support Boeing’s 777X. Shipping containers for the new airliner are expected to be about four feet wider and 10 tons heavier than those for the 777, she said.
The money comes from a competitive grant program run by the U.S. Department of Transportation and called the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program — or more commonly, TIGER. Sen. Patty Murray backed the Port of Everett’s grant application. The port unsuccessfully applied for a TIGER grant for South Terminal work in 2009.
“With this federal investment, we will be able to modernize our facilities to continue to support the aerospace, manufacturing and construction industries in the region,” Port of Everett CEO Les Reardanz said in a statement Tuesday.
The port already has spent about $10 million improving the South Terminal. Last year, it began strengthening the dock, which was built in the 1970s by Weyerhaeuser for moving logs, not industrial machinery or massive parts of airplanes.
The Port of Everett is applying for other state and federal grants to cover the rest of the $55 million in improvements. Money also is expected to come from the port’s capital budget and bond sales, Lefeber said.
After upgrading South Terminal, port officials want to extend the dock there and at the adjacent Pacific Terminal by 2022.