At the end of this year, APM's container terminal lease at the Port of Tacoma will expire, and its sole customer will switch stevedoring and terminal service providers – raising the possibility that APM will exit the Tacoma market.
Matson is APM’s only client in Tacoma, and the line announced on April 4 that SSA Terminals will be its stevedoring and terminal services provider in Tacoma next year. SSA Terminals – a joint venture operated by Matson and SSA Marine – already runs the terminals that Matson uses at Oakland and Long Beach.
"APMT has served us well. It just makes more sense to work with our strategic partner at Tacoma as we do at all of our other terminals on the West Coast," said Ron Forest, senior vice president of operations for Matson. "We expect a seamless transition and no change in our Tacoma operations from a customer standpoint."
Last year, the 600,000 TEU terminal utilized only about one-third of its maximum capacity serving Matson's two weekly sailings to Alaska, and APM said in a statement that it is evaluating all options regarding its lease. “We are proud of the service we have been able to provide to the Port of Tacoma and the Seaport Alliance, and of the recognition APM Terminals Tacoma has consistently received by the Pacific Maritime Association for Safety Performance,” said APM Terminals North America President Wim Lagaay.
APM Terminals is the port operations division of Maersk Group, and it runs more than 70 waterfront facilities around the world – including the largest proprietary terminal in North America, Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles. Maersk Line often partners with APM Terminals, but in the Seattle-Tacoma market, Maersk's vessels call at TTI Terminal 46 in Seattle (recently bought by Maersk's 2M partner MSC).