Balancing industry and environment at the Port’s marine terminal

February 14, 2023 | News

Washington state established its public port industry in 1911 to protect and preserve waterfronts for public benefit. The first ports formed under this new law provided maritime facilities and access for vessels to

work in local waters and support the import and export of key goods for the region, nation and world.

The needs met and benefits supported by the port industry are just as important today as they were more than a century ago. The Port of Anacortes’ marine terminal is a significant economic driver for our community and the surrounding region, providing jobs, facilities and public access to Anacortes’ waterfront. Tenants and terminal operations at Pier 1, Pier 2 and Curtis Wharf support over $53 million in annual wages and 992 jobs. Of those jobs, 552 are workers performing their jobs directly at the terminal – Longshoremen, truck drivers, shipbuilders and seafood processors, for example – and 440 are indirect jobs, such as mechanics, welders, and product suppliers.

About the marine terminal

Pier 1 provides dockage for a variety of vessels. Dakota Creek Industries uses Pier 1 for its floating dry dock in support of its shipbuilding and repair operations. M&M Fish Co. operates a seafood processing area on Pier 1. Key activities at Pier 1 include berthing for tugboats, fishing vessels, and occasionally small passenger cruise vessels. Pier 1 also supports the Port’s historic Transit Shed, which is currently used for event space and will be returned to marine industrial use in 2024.

At 37.5 feet deep, Pier 2 is the Port’s deepest berth. Like a big parking spot, this deeper berth can accommodate larger and more heavily loaded vessels that call the port to load dry bulk cargoes for export, including petroleum coke (also known as petcoke) and prilled sulfur. Petcoke is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process that is used as a fuel in the metals industry. Prilled sulfur is dry sulfur that’s been formed into small beads for more efficient shipping. It’s used primarily in agriculture.

Curtis Wharf is a working wharf and dock that supports a seafood processing facility and provides vessel berthing for a range of commercial users, including tugboats and small passenger cruise vessels.

Operating sustainably

The Port balances all this economic activity with a robust program of environmental stewardship. For more than a decade, we’ve worked with the Washington State Department of Ecology to clean up legacy contamination from prior uses of Port property. And voluntary participation in programs like Green Marine; establishing a baseline for greenhouse gas emissions; switching to 100% green power; and consistently monitoring the air, water, soil and noise around the Port help us ensure we are protecting tenants, our community, and wildlife. This all leads to a healthier today and a sustainable economy and environment for the future.

The Port of Anacortes is proud to be a part of our state’s legacy of maritime commerce, supporting continued economic vitality for our neighbors while protecting the environment on which we all rely. View our Marine Terminal Modernization Plan to learn more about the marine terminal and its role in our shared future.