2004 record year for Port of Tacoma

The Port of Tacoma strengthened its position as a leading North American seaport in 2004, setting Port records for total tonnage, container volume and intermodal lifts.

“During a record year of construction and capital investment at the Port, our customers, our labor partners and our business partners consistently set new records for productivity,” said Timothy J. Farrell, the Port’s Executive Director.

According to Doug Ljungren the Port’s Business Planning Manager, the growth of the trans-Pacific trade, combined with diversion of ocean carrier business from other ports to Tacoma, helped drive the following 2004 cargo volumes through Tacoma:

* Total Tonnage: 18.8 million short tons – a Port record
* Containerized Cargo: 1.8 million TEUs – a Port record
* Intermodal Lifts: 490,000 – a Port record
* Grain: 6.7 million short tons – up 47 percent, a Port record
* Breakbulk Cargo: 117,000 short tons – the Port’s highest volume since 1999
* Autos: 157,200 vehicles
* Total Value of Foreign Trade: $29 billion – up from 2003’s Port record of $26.3 billion

“In 2004, the Port of Tacoma invested a record $115 million in facilities and infrastructure, building the foundation for our customers to grow and be successful here in Tacoma,” said R. Ted Bottiger, President of the Port of Tacoma Commission. “The high cargo volumes and the productivity of 2004 are the result of years of planning, and the result of the hard work of the entire maritime and transportation community.”

According to Farrell, 2004 continued an extended period of strong for the Port’s container business. “We are in an expansion mode, with the move of Evergreen to a new 171-acre mega-terminal and the doubling “K” Line’s terminal size to 93 acres. We are also expanding an existing terminal to accommodate a new customer, Yang Ming.”


In 2004, the Port’s breakbulk business grew 14 percent to a total of 117,000 short tons – the highest volume in five years. According to Ljungren, this increase was due to additional machinery and equipment imports and military shipments, which accounted for 25,000 short tons.

The Port’s grain exports (70 percent corn and 30 percent soybeans) hit an all-time record at 6.7 million short tons, surpassing the previous Port record, set in 1989. Ljungren explains that this high activity level is the result of a strong export market for U.S. grains, driven by favorable shipping rates from the Pacific Northwest and a weakening U.S. dollar.


The Port out-performed 2004 revenue projections by 3.5 percent. “We are proud that the Port of Tacoma exceeded its financial goals in 2004 while making record capital investments,” said Port Commissioner Connie Bacon, noting that revenues are reinvested into capital development, including environmental and regional transportation programs.

The Port’s financial results are expected to dip in 2005 as customers transition to renovated terminals. “In 2005, Evergreen will have completed its transition to Pierce County Terminal, and we will expand “K” Line’s terminal and bring Yang Ming into the fold,” said Farrell. “The capital investment and operating expenses associated with these changes will have a financial impact in 2005. Look for strong performance in 2006 and beyond as these investments begin producing revenue.”


Looking ahead, Port officials expect 2005 to be a year of dramatic cargo growth, particularly in international containerized cargo.

“The entire Port community – our customers, the railroads, labor and our staff – have diligently worked to build North America’s most efficient intermodal gateway,” Farrell said. “Much of what we accomplished in 2004 will set the stage for what we anticipate to be very strong growth in 2005 and beyond.”

According to Ljungren, the Ports 2005 cargo forecast includes:

* Total Tonnage: 19.4 million short tons
* Containerized Cargo: 2.1 million TEUs
* Intermodal Lifts: 646,000
* Breakbulk Cargo: 113,000 short tons
* Autos: 157,000 vehicles