Port of Tacoma sees big cargo volume drop in first quarter

by Tim Flanagan on May 28, 2009

Jeff Chew has this article in the Peninsula Daily News:

Marine trade representatives agreed to form a committee to work with the Port of Port Townsend beginning next week to come up with port haul-out and storage discounts that, medical coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign, artificial will lure new boat-work business.

The port commissioners Wednesday night struck up a conversation with Boat Haven business owners, emergency many of whom said boat-repair business was slow-to-nothing.

“I don’t think anybody in the marine trades has raised their rates except the port,” said Mark Jochems, owner of Shoreline Marine Diesel.

“I don’t have any place else to cut. I’m bare bones right now. If it gets any worse, I don’t know. I’m going to be relying on emergencies this summer.”

Jochems was among about 15 marine operators who attended the port commissioners meeting, many of them talking about lagging business.

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Meghan Erkkinen has this story in the Tacoma Weekly:

The Port of Tacoma’s container cargo volume was down nearly 15 percent in the first quarter of the year, gonorrhea
following national trends as the economy continues to slide. Breakbulk and auto volumes were down 50 percent and 40 percent respectively.

“2009 is shaping up to be a very challenging year for us,” said Tong Zhu, director of commercial strategy for the port. “The recession has taken a turn for the worse.”

In spite of these drops, the Port of Tacoma continues to see among the smallest drops in cargo volume among West Coast ports, and trade experts predict some growth beginning in the second half of 2010.

“There are signs that the economic downturn has diminished in its intensity,” Zhu said. “Consumers are spending slightly more.”

Zhu predicted that the economy would begin to rebound in the second half of 2009, but that in 2009 the port would still experience negative growth. In total, she predicted a 2009 container volume decline of 20 percent from 2008 and 4.5 percent in 2010, hitting a low of about 1.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), compared with more than 1.9 million TEUs in 2007. Zhu predicted low growth in 2010, followed by moderate growth from 2011 to 2013. The Port of Tacoma expects to see benefits from the arrival of NYK Line in 2012. Still, the port does not expect to meet 2003 container volumes until after 2013.

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