Friday, August 24, 2012

Port of Tacoma Sees Monthly Traffic Increase

Monthly container volumes leaped more than 19 percent at the Port of Tacoma in July compared to the same month in 2011, mostly thanks to the migration of the so-called Grand Alliance of shipping companies to Tacoma from Seattle near the start of the month.

The Port of Tacoma handled 146,000 20-foot equivalent units in July compared with 122,322 in the same month in 2011, with a portion of that traffic increase resulting from the addition of the Grand Alliance, which began calling at Tacoma’s Washington United Terminals July 2.

The consortium includes three of the world’s largest shipping lines: Hapag-Lloyd, which is based in Germany; Orient Overseas Container Line of Hong Kong; and Japan’s NYK Line. Additionally, Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping is an associated carrier.

Of the 146,000 TEUs, the majority, more than 86,500, were full inbound containers coming from destinations outside the US, according to newly-released port data. That number however, was actually down from the 87,600 TEUs moved in June 2012.

So far, the biggest difference seen in month-over-month volumes has been in the number of empty containers the port has seen. In July, Tacoma moved 15,700 empty TEUs, its highest monthly total of the calendar year, far outpacing the 13,000 that were shipped in and out of the port in March.

For the year to date, Tacoma has seen 875,777 TEUs, a nearly four percent increase from the 842,500 that it had shipped through the same seven-month period in 2011.