Exports Propel Container Gains at Tacoma

Exports Propel Container Gains at Tacoma

A 16.4 percent jump in exports spurred a 7.3 percent increase in loaded international container volume at the Port of Tacoma in August from a year earlier.

The port’s loaded export volume increased to 26,505 20-foot equivalent units in the month from 22,774 in the same month last year. Loaded imports rose 2.1 percent to 40,902 TEUs. The export-driven growth brought total loaded volume for the month to 67,407 TEUs from 62,839 TEUs in August 2010.

Month-to-month comparisons were less favorable. August’s exports were up a more moderate 4.5 percent from July’s 26,897 TEUs, while imports declined 1.2 percent from 41,380 TEUs, and total loaded volume fell 1.3 percent to 67,407 TEUs.

Year-to-date, exports of 238,713 TEUs are up 15.1 percent, while imports of 299,704 TEUs are off 2.3 percent. The 538,507 TEUs of loaded international volume is up 4.7 percent.

Total container volume, including empties and domestic shipments to Alaska and Hawaii, declined 2.6 percent year-over-year in August, but is up 1.9 percent year-to-date.

Other aspects of the port’s business are growing rapidly. Breakbulk volume through August is up 69.1 percent year-over-year, reflecting strong growth in agricultural and machinery equipment. Log exports have soared 140 percent, and auto imports – riding a surge of strong sales of Kia vehicles that enter Tacoma from South Korea – are up 57.9 percent. The February addition of a vessel call by Wallenius Wilhelmsen also is helping to prop up noncontainerized cargo volumes.