“We continue to see strong movement of machinery and equipment, both inbound and westbound,” said the Port’s senior director of operations John Bush. “We are forecasting continued growth and, by 2010, we expect our breakbulk volumes to grow another 18% above current volumes.”
In 2006, Tacoma handled 129,259 short tons of breakbulk cargo, the biggest volume since 1998. The Port consolidated breakbulk operations at Terminal 7 after completing a renovation in July 2006. Located on the 51 ft deep Sitcum Waterway, terminal 7 features a 100,000 sq ft warehouse, three berths and on-dock rail with direct connections to BNSF and Union Pacific main lines. The facility’s equipment includes two gantry cranes, four top-picks and 36 forklifts, and it is located just three miles from Interstate 5 and 30 minutes from Interstate 90.
Director of operational services Susan Becklund credits the Port’s continued strong performance to investment in its facilities. “At 25 acres, [Terminal 7] provides our customers with plenty of room to securely handle over-dimension and roll-on/roll-off cargoes. It allows direct discharge of cargo from ship to rail and transcontinental transport – which is key for many of our customers. With easy access to six states and Western Canada, our transportation connections make Tacoma an ideal West Coast gateway for dimensional shipments,” she commented.
While breakbulk exports grow, the Port also continues to handle significant volumes of imports, including structural steel from Korea and wire rod from China. “Wire rod volumes alone are up 50% this year,” said Bush. “We expect cargoes like this to grow in the coming years.”