Port of Tacoma February container volumes jump 47 percent

Port of Tacoma officials announced Wednesday containerized imports and exports through the port saw double-digit growth last month, pushing container volumes up 47 percent over February 2012.

Full containerized imports posted the most dramatic increase with a 62 percent gain year to date to 114,176 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units). Exports rose 41 percent to 81,567 TEUs.

According to port officials, the surge in international container volumes reflects shippers preparing for Lunar New Year, when factories in several Asian countries that export to the U.S. close their doors for one to two weeks. The holiday fell in mid-February this year. The volumes also continue to show the addition of the Grand Alliance, which began calling at Washington United Terminals in July 2012.

Domestic container volumes improved 6.5 percent to 63,829 TEUs. Through the second month of the year, Tacoma’s total container volume reached 298,134 TEUs, an increase of 41 percent.

Breakbulk volumes saw their first dip in more than two years. Fewer breakbulk vessels calling Tacoma this February compared to February 2012 resulted in the 18 percent decline. Demand for agricultural and construction equipment overseas remains strong, and the Port expects 2013 volumes to keep pace with last year.

Other year to date cargo volumes saw growth last month, including the following: log exports rose 74 percent to 100,053 short tons as demand in China appears to be picking up and the lumber market improves; auto imports continued to grow, up 18 percent to 26,040 units. A weaker yen is making such Japanese-made vehicles as Mazda more affordable; and intermodal rail lifts mirror the booming container volumes and posted a 51 percent gain.

The complete report is available online here.