Despite this drop the port fared better than other US West Coast ports, which saw container cargo decline by and average of 8.78%. Overall figures for Tacoma showed total tonnage was up 3.6% to 20.3m tonnes, with grain showing the only increase at 13.6%, whilst break-bulks declined 4.1%, motor vehicles by 9.1% and intermodal lifts recording the largest decline at 15.2%.
Although cargo volumes declined the Port’s financial performance remained strong, closing 2008 with US$99.1m operating revenue, a 1.3% increase over the 2007 performance, according to Port of Tacoma deputy executive director, John Wolfe.
Port of Tacoma Commission President, Clare Petrich, said the Port of Tacoma was working to plan and build the facilities and infrastructure that will be needed to keep the port competitive in the future.
“In 2008, we not only moved forward on our terminal redevelopment plans, but we reached significant agreements with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and SSA Containers,” she said. “These agreements lay the foundation for mutual support for each party’s terminal development projects.”
She added that today’s economy provides a good period for port redevelopment and infrastructure investment. “Ports are much more than crossroads in the global supply chain, they are economic drivers for the communities that they serve. In Tacoma, construction of new terminals, road, rail and utility infrastructure and related environmental programmes create economic vitality,” she said.