The Port of Seattle will cancel its request for industry proposals for a joint investment to build and operate a new cruise terminal at Terminal 46.
The terminal development had been proposed with the aim of bolstering the port’s capacity to accommodate the growing cruise demand for Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and West Coast cruises.
The port already has three berths for cruises at its two existing terminals.
The decision is being announced on the back of the suspension of its plans for the new cruise terminal to serve the Alaska market made in April 2020, citing a need to better understand the market impacts from COVID-19 before continuing its project investment.
Port of Seattle shelves cruise terminal development amid COVID-19 uncertainties as been severely impacted by the pandemic especially on the back of the suspension of global sailings that have quashed cruise liners’ earnings.
Industry majors like Carnival and Royal Caribbean reported massive losses, announcing decisions to sell and layup ships as a way of cutting costs.
There are some signs that sailings might resume in Europe as of next month, however, on a global scale cruising is still suspended.
“Our current focus remains on public health,” said Port of Seattle Executive Director Steve Metruck.
“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.”
Cruise has become an integral leading business line for the Port of Seattle and an important part of the region’s maritime and regional economies.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Seattle was forecasting a record year for 2020 with 233 cruise vessels scheduled to sail from Seattle.