Port of Tacoma's container volumes surge

As peak shipping season began ramping up in Asia at the end last month for the holiday shopping season, the Port of Tacoma saw international container volumes post a 14.5 percent gain year to date.

According to Port officials, the Port of Tacoma handled 156,804 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in August — nearly 30 percent more than the same month last year. Along with the start of peak season, two new services associated with the Grand Alliance began calling Washington United Terminals last month. Uncertainty surrounding labor negotiations on the East and Gulf coasts also appear to be diverting cargo to the West Coast.

While import container volumes improved nearly 18 percent year to date, export container volumes jumped almost 11 percent. So far this year, 1,024,896 TEUs have crossed Port docks, accounting for a 7.5 percent increase compared to last year.

The strength in container volumes helped fuel a 25 percent year-to-date increase in intermodal lifts. Meanwhile, breakbulk volumes remain up about 85 percent, reflecting the continued high demand for agricultural and construction equipment.

Port of Tacoma cargo statistics are available online here.