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Rail News: Intermodal

Tacoma, Vancouver ports pumped up volume in 2011


Increased agriculture product exports helped boost the Port of Tacoma's containerized export volumes by 11 percent in 2011. Ag products, including potatoes, hops and hay, account for more than half of the Washington state port's containerized exports.

Total tonnage in 2001 increased 5 percent to 17.3 million tons and total container volume rose 2 percent to 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units compared with 2010 figures. Total international container volume increased 5 percent while total domestic container volume dropped 3 percent. Import container volume inched up 1 percent, reflecting the continued overall sluggishness of the U.S. economy, port officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, breakbulk cargoes skyrocketed 68 percent, auto volume climbed 34 percent, log exports jumped 45 percent and containerized lumber exports soared 33 percent, while grain exports fell 4 percent.

"These trade statistics underscore the key role our port and our region's transportation system play in keeping our region's agriculture industry successful and competitive in the global marketplace," said Tong Zhu, the port's chief commercial officer.
This year, the port forecasts a relatively flat year for container volumes. Log and lumber export volumes will depend largely on the strength of China’s economy and real estate market, port officials said.

Meanwhile, Port Metro Vancouver in 2011 handled 122.5 million tons of cargo, up 3.4 percent compared with 2010. Total foreign tonnage increased 2.5 percent to 95.6 million tons and total domestic tonnage rose 7 percent to 26.9 million tons.

“The port saw continued growth in laden export containers, a key indicator of the demand for Canadian cargo by Asian economies,” said Robin Silvester, the port’s president and chief executive officer. “Canada's natural resources volumes continue to show strong growth, with new records set in coal, potash and forest products exports.”

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More News from 2/6/2012