The Port of Tacoma’s critical container trade continued its substantial growth through the first three months of 2013, new port figures show.
The port’s total container trade in March was almost 30 percent greater than in March of 2012. For the first three months of this year, container volumes were up by 37 percent.
The port’s container traffic wasn’t the only trade category exceeding 2012’s. Log exports were up nearly 46 percent for the quarter. Auto imports increasd 10 percent to 40,372 vehicles.
But the volume of breakbulk cargo declined by 27 percent and grain exports were down 32 percent. Breakbulk cargo is cargo too large or too awkwardly shaped to fit inside shipping containers. Typical breakbulk cargo is construction equipment, farm machinery and wind turbine blades.
The port attributed the breakbulk shortfall to a natural stabilization of the trade after 2012’s breakbulk statistics showed a 68 percent increase. Grain trade fell in part because of a shortage of exportable grain from the Plains states after record droughts last year.
The port’s container trade is up in part because of the arrival of the Grand Alliance shipping consortium last July from Seattle. That four-shipping-line alliance switched it Puget Sound port of call at midyear last year.