Friday, July 26, 2013

“K” Line Marks 25 Years at Port of Tacoma

The July 22, 2013 arrival of the ship Chicago Bridge marked the 25th anniversary of calls at the Port of Tacoma by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., commonly known as “K” Line.

The Japan-based carrier, known for its distinctive red containers, is the longest-calling international shipping line at the port.

“We are proud of and thankful for the close partnership that has allowed both “K” Line and the Port of Tacoma to grow over the years,” the port’s chief commercial officer, Tong Zhu, said in a statement commemorating the milestone.

The past quarter-century has seen “K” Line’s operations at the port steadily grow, with more improvements currently in the works.

When “K” Line first called at Tacoma in 1988, its ships berthed at a 37-acre terminal on the Sitcum Waterway. In 2005, it expanded to the 93-acre Husky Terminal on the Blair Waterway. Both terminals are served by the North Intermodal Yard, whose efficient on-dock rail originally attracted “K” Line to Tacoma.

When “K” Line first arrived, it sent two outbound trains of 40-plus rail cars each week to the Midwest and East Coast, and its weekly ship call brought in about 1,700 containers. Now, it departs six trains of 100 cars each week, plus an additional 125 or more to and from Portland.

Echoing the trend of larger ships in the trans-Pacific trade, the 66,000-ton, Panama-flagged Chicago Bridge holds almost 6,000 container units.

Plans are currently underway to add 100-gauge crane rail to Pier 3 and redesign an aligned Pier 4 at Husky Terminal to accommodate the simultaneous berthing of larger ships in the future.