Breakbulk cargo volumes growing at Port of Tacoma

Between July 6 and 7, the Port of Tacoma handled five breakbulk vessels – the most in a 24-hour period in 10 years.

In 2003, Port of Tacoma breakbulk volume increased 28 percent over 2002 figures, and through May 2004, total breakbulk volume was up another 37 percent.

“We are proud that our port is attracting a growing volume of breakbulk cargo,” said Timothy Farrell, the port’s acting executive director. “Shippers and shipping lines are calling here because we have experienced, productive labor and we have excellent facilities with ready access to rail and major highways.”

The Port of Tacoma Commission recently authorized a $4 million enhancement to Terminal 7, berths A, B and C, where much of the port’s breakbulk cargoes are currently handled. Expected to be completed this year, the terminal enhancement includes reinforcement of dockside rail to handle direct discharge of heavy machinery direct to rail and an upgrade of the overall dock load capacity.

In 2003, the port completed a new breakbulk facility – the 20-acre Blair Terminal. Designed to meet the needs of auto, military, heavy lift and other specialty cargoes, the Blair features a 1,000-pounds-per-square-foot weight capacity dock and 2,000-pounds-per-square-foot heavy lift pad.

During the July 6-7 period, the port hosted the following vessels:

– Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines Terrier discharged three cranes, along with farm equipment (New Holland, John Deere and Caterpillar), compactors, forklifts and Volvo construction equipment at Blair Terminal.

– Eastern Car Liner Century Elkhorn discharged Deere-Hitachi excavators, Link Belt excavators, Case excavators and a Morooka dump truck at Terminal 7 D.

– The Spliethoff Loots Gracht (Holland) loaded natural gas compressor equipment that was manufactured in Calgary, Alberta and transported to Tacoma via truck. The vessel also loaded boats and miscellaneous cargo bound for the Russian Far East.

– The BBC Finland (Germany) loaded empty reefer trailers bound for Vladivostok, Russia.

– Finally, a U.S. military vessel