Breakbulk cargo and auto import volumes through Port of Tacoma waters posted gains through February at the Port of Tacoma, but container volumes continued to lag.
Strong machinery and construction equipment imports propelled breakbulk cargo volumes up 33 percent year to date to 32,304 short tons. Auto imports moderated in February but are still up nearly 15 percent on the year to 29,878 units, boosted by the year-end surge in January from Korean auto makers.
Meanwhile, container volumes fell 5 percent year to date, dragged down by a 28 percent drop in international empty containers. Through the first two months of the year, shipping lines relied primarily on repositioning empty equipment domestically by rail, particularly during the Lunar New Year holiday when many factories in China close for one to two weeks. The holiday fell on Jan. 31 this year.
Full containerized imports improved 1 percent year to date to 115,283 TEUs, and exports remained flat at 81,490 TEUs. Domestic volumes declined nearly 10 percent in February as regularly scheduled vessel maintenance resulted in fewer sailings to Alaska.