Glacier Fish, NSF International moving operations to Port of Everett in Washington

Glacier Fish, a Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based seafood processing company, has announced the preliminary workings of a deal in partnership with Pacific Stevedoring to purchase a former paper mill site in Everett, Washington. 

The 58-acre waterfront site is the former Kimberly-Clark mill property, which the Port of Everett has been considering condemning for public use. The companies said that they would invest USD 100 million (EUR 89.9 million) into redeveloping the site. 

The pending purchase price of the site was not made public. The companies estimate that their takeover of the site would bring 1,200 jobs to the area. They plan to introduce a cold storage warehouse, facilities for food prep and an office space to the site. 

“The combination of a deep-water port, prime industrial land, multimodal freight corridors, and a well-trained workforce makes Everett the perfect place to build a new home for the Pacific Northwest seafood industry,” the companies said in a joint statement. “We plan to invest in this community and look forward to partnering with the city to bring family-wage jobs back to Everett’s waterfront.”

Initially, the port seemed to balk at the property’s acquisition, citing the fact that Pacific Stevedoring had not added a significant number of jobs on the site despite having leased 20 acres there through a subsidiary since 2017.

“The administration is skeptical of the private party’s ability to put the site back into productive use, as evidenced by its lack of job creation with its lease,” the port said in an official statement made last week. “The investor group has not disclosed the identity of the investors, which calls into question whether foreign direct investment is involved, which could potentially prevent this transaction from moving forward. Further, the investor group has not demonstrated that the proposed use is allowable under current zoning codes for the site, as fish processing is explicitly prohibited.”

However, in comments to SeafoodSource, port authorities seemed to have changed their approach.

“The Port of Everett is very encouraged to see that Seattle companies are looking to relocate their business in Everett and Snohomish County,” a port representative wrote in an email. “We are always interested in willing to work with companies to find the right fit for them in our community.” 

In an announcement on 30 May, NSF International, a provider of seafood consulting and product evaluation services, said it is moving its seafood services program from Seattle to the Port of Everett. NSF International performs Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification, and also provides audits for seafood HACCP, gap analysis audits for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certifications such as BRC and SQF, and supplier audits, according to the company.

“The Port of Everett is in the midst of a commercial and private expansion wave,” said Tom White, global manager for certification and audits for NSF International’s seafood services. “We’re excited to open our new headquarters in such a bustling and visually stunning location. Everett is approximately 30 miles north of our former location in Seattle, and being on the north side of that urban hub allows us much more convenient access to both the Seattle market and Canadian seafood businesses just across the international border.” 

The new location is “centrally located between Seattle and the Canadian border, allowing for more convenient access for both U.S. and Canadian seafood industries,” NSF said in a press release.

“Proximity to source is essential for NSF International’s seafood services team, which frequently collects samples from seafood suppliers and transports those samples back to the headquarters for testing and evaluation,” it said.

NSF said its new location will permit it to initiate a collaboration with the Washington State University/University of Idaho Center for Advanced Food Technology, and to expand its seafood industry education and training space. It will also be launching “Fish School,” a seafood education program designed to help grocery stores, restaurants, and seafood distributors “provide a higher level of expertise and knowledge to their seafood buyers, fishmongers, and seafood inspectors,” White said.

Terrie Battuello, the chief of business development at the Port of Everett, said NSF’s relocation was good news for the port.

“The Port of Everett is excited to welcome NSF International’s seafood services headquarters to partner with the Washington State University School of Food Science and to our growing maritime business community,” Battuello said. “Given our strategy to support and grow the maritime and seafood industry, it’s a perfect fit, and we are eager to have them aboard.”


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