Friday, November 8, 2013

Port of Tacoma Marks 95th Anniversary

The Port of Tacoma celebrated its 95th anniversary on Nov. 5. It was on that date in 1918 that the citizens of Pierce County voted to create the port district on about 240 acres of land.

The first ship, the Edmore, called at the port in March 1921.

Since then, Tacoma has grown into one of the top container ports on the West Coast of North America and a major gateway to Asia and Alaska. Significant developments in the port’s growth over the years included military shipbuilding during World War II in the early 1940s; the construction of the Blair Bridge in 1953, which improved the flows of vessels and vehicles through the Tideflats until it was closed and removed in 1997; and the opening of the first dockside rail yard on the West Coast in 1981.

The port now encompasses about 2,700 acres in the industrial area, with nine terminals serving international and domestic shipping lines, as well as four rail yards. The port is also a major center for bulk, break bulk, project/heavy-lift cargoes and automobiles.

An estimated 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County and 113,000 jobs across Washington State are connected to port activities, and two-way international trade through Tacoma totaled more than $46 billion in 2012, according to port data.