The US Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration (“MARAD”), announced in November 2020 that the Port of Bellingham had been selected for a “Port Improvement and Development Program” award of $ 6,854,770. The funds will be used to make improvements to the Bellingham Shipping Terminal (“BST”), a much needed assist in the facilities’ renovation and upgrade. To see figures of the planned improvements, click here.
In the not so distant past, the BST was one of the most active ports in Washington State for the export of “breakbulk” (non-containerized) cargoes. Hundreds of thousands tons of pulp, produced at an adjacent Georgia Pacific mill, and aluminum products smelted by Alcoa-Intalco in a nearby community, passed through the BST. Changes in American manufacturing saw the closure of both industrial sites with a resulting downturn in activity at the BST. Lacking a base of steady cargoes the facility was essentially mothballed for several years.
Fortunately due to concerted efforts by Port staff and the ILWU Local #7, the BST entered an era of revival in the late 20-teens. Today it serves several beneficial cargo owners who lease space adjacent to the piers in support of their domestic and international maritime movements. The funds received from MARAD will provide these customers the means to increase both cargo volumes and productivity of vessel cargo operations. Such investment will lead to a greater utilization of the BST with the added benefit to the community of supporting, and providing additional living wage jobs.