SSA Terminal 18 - Import Appointment Mandate

On March 11th SSA Terminal 18 announced starting March 18th Terminal 18 in Seattle, WA will institute a mandatory appointment system. Whether you are a BCO, NVOCC, Forwarder, or Trucker this change will most likely have some effect on the flow and/or cost of your cargo. Please read this notice completely and ask questions if you have them.

T-18 Map

Key Points

  • Appointments will only be required for import containers placed in the Rubber Tire Gantry (RTG) crane rows D134- D513. A limited number of appointments will be open each day.
  • Hazmat, running reefers, and containers in free flow / peel stacks will not require appointments.
  • Appointments must be made online using the eModal system.
  • Appointment slots will be open seven calendar days prior to pick up at 0600 pst. Appointments must be by 1600 pst the day prior to the requested scheduled pickup.
  • Appointments cannot be made until the container has been discharged, customs and Partner Government Agency (PGA) cleared, and OBL released. Containers must show "Available" on terminals website.
  • Appointment windows will be 60min. with a 45min. buffer before and after for a total window of 2.5 hrs.


  • Because appointments can only be made once a container is discharged and fully cleared, in many cases one day of free time may be lost to the appointment scheduling requirement.
    • Example: Vessel discharges on the weekend, containers become available on the following Monday, first appointment practical and likely possible is Tuesday, though the on-dock clock would have started Monday.
    • It will be critical to making sure all possible measures are taken so your container(s) clear as quickly as possible so as not to create additional delays.
  • If a container goes into demurrage, demurrage will have to be paid through the first available appointment slot. This couldbe several days.
    • SSA Terminal 18 has stated extenuating circumstances may be grounds for review on a case by case basis. However, this does not mean a special exemption will be granted.
  • If a truck is in line and does not make it in the gate by the end of the 45min. grace window, regardless of the reason, the appointment will be canceled and the truck turned away.
  • The current requirement for a Peel Pile is 20 containers of the same size.
    • Containers in Peel Piles are loaded on a next container in the stack basis, not by number. This means there is little control in the order containers out-gates from the terminal.
  • Getting same day appointments may become very difficult if not impossible.
  • A 2.5 hrs. window is very tight given the current and recent historical turn times of many of the large terminals in the Puget Sound gateway. This narrow window may force additional fees or charges if trucks are regularly not able to hit their single transaction appointment window at T-18 due to sluggish operations either at Terminal 18 or other terminals in the gateway.
  • There is a strong incentive for trucking companies to book many more slots than needed, blocking out others from making appointments. These can be just canceled if they don't use them with no stated repercussions.

If you have additional questions or concerns we encourage you to email ewright@pdxcontainer.com

Historical Data

Turn time data provided is derived from GPS systems in Portland Container trucks. The data is representative of Portland Containers experience and may not be representative of all trucks or trucking companies.