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Port of Tacoma biggest loser among nation’s major ports

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
January 31, 2011 3:56 pm

The Port of Tacoma was the biggest loser among the nation’s major ports in containerized cargo from mid-2008 to mid-2010, a new government study says.

The port’s volume of foreign containerized trade fell 36.3 percent in that two-year period, said the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That percentage decrease was greater than any of the 19 other ports in the new study.

Portland was in the second worst with a drop of 34.3 percent in the same period. Overall, the top 20 ports lost 6.8 percent of their business during that time frame.

The study counted only containers imported from or exported to foreign destinations. A substantial chunk of Tacoma’s container cargo moves from the port to Alaska.

The biggest blow to the Port of Tacoma came when one of its largest container line customers, Maersk Line, consolidated its operations with the French shipping line CMA CGM at the Port of Seattle in May of 2009.

The study ranks Tacoma as the nation’s 10th largest container port based on its 2009 totals. Seattle is in eighth place. Los Angeles is the country’s largest container port.

The container trade is beginning to revive both in Tacoma and in port’s nationwide. Through the first six months of 2010, container volumes at the nation’s 20 largest ports were up 17.6 percent. Tacoma’s were down 18.6 percent in that same period. But the port’s fortunes were rising with container volumes accelerating at the port in the last three months of 2010

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