Port of Tacoma Posts
A modest increase in new container volume, coupled with a banner year in non-containerized cargo, defined the Port of Tacoma's container records for 2006, according to a statement released Feb. 5 by the port.
Last year, the Port set a new container record with 2,067,186 TEUs -- a slight increase of about 4,000 TEUs over 2005's record volume. But the biggest jump was seen in non-containerized cargo, where a 22 percent growth in auto imports, and an 11 percent growth in breakbulk cargo marked a strong performance for this line of business.
According to Executive Director Timothy J. Farrell, the Port spent most of last year focused on capital investments, increasing system-wide capacity to handle future growth, and "catching its breath" after record container growth in 2005.
Indeed, a year ago it closed 2005 by expanding its international TEU volume by more than 20 percent.
Farrell pointed to the Port's focus last year on investments of $132 million in capital projects to lay the foundation for the Port's future. Those projects include completion of $10.5 million in major, near-terminal rail expansion projects; groundbreaking for a 22-acre expansion at Washington United Terminals (Hyundai Merchant Marine); completion of the Husky Terminal ("K" Line) redevelopment and expansion; widening the Blair Waterway; and demolition and cleanup the 96-acre former Kaiser Smelter -- future site for new marine terminal development.
"These projects will allow our customers to continue to grow and be successful in Tacoma," said Farrell. He added that the Port's top priority is to remain ahead of customer growth by expanding on- and near-terminal cargo capacity. "Our five-year capital plan calls for an investment of $336 million with the long-term objective of reaching 10 million TEUs by 2025," said Farrell.
Over the past three decades, according to the Port, containerized cargo has grown from 85,000 to nearly 2.1 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). In 2006, cargo volumes were as follows:
The Port's auto business also experienced a strong year, recording more than 166,000 vehicles - a 22 percent increase over 2005.
Following a record volume of nearly 7 million short tons in 2005, the Port's grain volume eased by 13 percent. In 2006, terminal operator, TEMCO, invested in a roof that shelters vessels, allowing grain loading during inclement weather.
The Port of Tacoma expanded its focus on long-term environmental protection, development of wildlife habitat and environmental sustainability.
Each of the Port's international container terminal customers switched to ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) or a blend of ULSD and biodiesel. "These changes are voluntary and reflect our customers' desire to safeguard the local environment," said Farrell.
With world trade projected to triple by 2030, Port Commissioner Jack Fabulich says the Port of Tacoma is working today to plan and build the facilities and infrastructure that will be needed to keep the Port competitive in the future. Executive Director Farrell says 2007 will see the Port's growth and regional economic impact continue to expand.
"We are a relatively small organization in a modestly-sized city, yet we are consistently among the top 10 container ports in North America," he said. "The benefits of this to Pierce County residents are significant. Port activity generates more than 43,000 family-wage jobs in Pierce County, and these jobs pay 41 percent more than the average jobs.
"As we continue to provide a place for our customers to grow and be successful," Farrell added, "our community will continue to reap the benefit of international trade. That's why they value the business our customers bring to our region."
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