Thursday, April 19, 2012

Port of Tacoma Container Volume Flat in March

The total number of 20-foot equivalent units that moved through the Port of Tacoma last month was up, but only slightly, compared with the same month in 2011, according to newly released data.

Tacoma saw 133,109 containers in March, compared with 130,407 in March 2011, an increase of about two percent. Of the total volume, the largest share was in full containers imported from outside the United States, of which there were 43,221 during the month. The port also exported 39,098 TEUs during the month, for a total of 82,319 full inbound and outbound containers through the port.

This was a significant rise from the 73,148 full TEUs that moved traveled through Tacoma in March 2011, but was offset by decreases in the number of empty inbound and outbound containers, as well as the number of containers that were shipped to the non-international destinations of Alaska and Hawaii.

A total of 37,730 TEUs traveled between Tacoma and the two noncontiguous US states in March, down significantly from the 43,346 that moved during the same period in 2011. The drop in empty international containers however, was not as steep, falling from 13,923 TEUs in March of last year to 13,060 in March 2012.

For the calendar year to date, the port’s total volume has been flat compared with the same three months in 2011. Tacoma shipped 345,648 TEUs from January through March of this year, a 1.9 percent decrease from the 352,189 that were moved in the same period in 2011.

Regarding individual types of cargo, break bulk volumes through the port soared in March to 62,132 TEUs, eclipsing by far the 32,158 units that Tacoma saw in March 2011. For the year to date, break bulk volumes are up 93 percent at Tacoma, something the port attributes to continued high demand for machinery and construction equipment.

On the minus side however, was the number of logs moved. The total volume plummeted 35.9 percent last month to 88,057, compared with March 2011’s 137,417.

But despite the declines in some categories, the total number of vessel calls last month rose compared with the same period last year, going from 245 to 252, an increase of nearly three percent.