Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tacoma Top US Seaport for Growth in 2012, Report Says

The Port of Tacoma’s 28.7 percent increase in container traffic during 2012 made it the top US port for growth during the year, and one of just a handful of ports that saw substantial growth during the 12-month period, according to a newly released report.

The report, by trade intelligence company Zepol Corp., analyzes the activity of the top 20 ports in the country. Tacoma was 10th on the list in overall container traffic and fifth among West Coast ports, after Los Angeles (4.1 million TEUs), Long Beach (3.0 million), Oakland (765,185) and Seattle (761,227).

Tacoma had a total import value of more than $35 billion, according to the report, with the leading products, in terms of vessel value, imported through the port being passenger motor vehicles, gearboxes for motor vehicles and video game consoles.

Motor vehicles had a total vessel value of about $2 billion. The total vessel value for gearboxes was next, at $1.2 billion.

Although Tacoma ranked 10th on the list in number of containers moved, it was the only West Coast port that saw an increase in traffic and one of only two ports in the country two see a double digit year-over-year jump. The other was Virginia’s Port of Norfolk, which saw 10.2 percent more TEUs than the year before.

Regarding the other West Coast seaports, Los Angeles’ traffic declined 0.8 percent in 2012 compared with the year prior; Long Beach’s container movement fell 2.5 percent; Oakland was down 2.0 percent; and Seattle’s traffic dropped 5.9 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Despite LA’s total TEUs being down from 2011 by 0.8 percent, the total value of goods was up five percent, reaching over $241 billion, according to Zepol. Of the thousands of goods imported by vessel to Los Angeles, the top products, in terms of vessel value, were passenger motor vehicles. Vehicles made up almost five percent of total imports to LA, and were valued at over $11.7 billion.

About 55 percent of LA’s total import’s during 2012 came from China.

The total value of goods imported to Long Beach was over $65.2 billion, about nine percent higher than 2011.

Unlike Los Angeles, Long Beach’s top product imported was petroleum oil. Port terminals brought $7.8 billion worth of it last year, according to the data.