Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tacoma Port Handled Nearly 2 Million Containers in 2013

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Tacoma on Jan. 22 said that it handled 1.89 million TEUs in 2013, approaching the two million container cargo mark that it first reached in 2005, and ahead of the 1.57 million TEUs moved at the neighboring Port of Seattle last year.

Double-digit growth in imports and exports, along with 16 percent more vessel calls, contributed to Tacoma’s 10.5 percent gain, according to the port. Full containerized exports improved nearly 16 percent for the year to 529,255 TEUs, and imports were up 14 percent to 695,748 TEUs.

Growth in 2013 import container volumes mostly reflected the addition of the Grand Alliance shipping consortium from the Port of Seattle midway through 2012. The Alliance consists of three of the world’s largest shipping lines –Hapag-Lloyd, Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and NYK Line – along with associated carrier ZIM Integrated Shipping.

Intermodal lifts at the port in 2013 mirrored the growing container volumes, posting a nearly 11 percent gain on the year. Auto imports and log exports also performed well, according to port data, improving eight percent and 17 percent, respectively.

The news wasn’t all good however; break bulk cargo volumes finished the year down 21 percent, something the port says was expected as cargo volumes slowed down after two years of record-breaking volumes.

Grain exports also declined 43 percent in 2013, impacted by increased competition from South America and severe weather conditions in the U.S. Midwest. However, grain exports through Tacoma did improve significantly in the fourth quarter of 2013, suggesting a rebound.

All 2013 cargo stats for the port can be seen at