The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), comprising the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, reported record-breaking breakbulk traffic in 2021.
Since 2015, NWSA has operated breakbulk cargo facilities at East Blair 1 and Terminal 7 in Tacoma. The majority of breakbulk cargo in 2021 was comprised of ro-ro cargo with construction equipment making up 67 percent of the past year’s cargo volumes. Additional breakbulk types include agriculture, machinery, and mining equipment. The NWSA team also assists cargo owners in moving miscellaneous goods such as boats, helicopters, and other unique cargo.
“We are proud of our port operated terminals, port of Tacoma personnel, and the ILWU longshore workforce who has worked diligently to support our record-breaking breakbulk operations,” stated port of Tacoma commissioner president and NWSA co-chair Don Meyer. “Breakbulk cargo such as construction and agriculture equipment supports our diversified economy and numerous jobs across Washington state and the Pacific Northwest.”
The surge of breakbulk cargo was attributed to new customers and carriers calling the NWSA gateway as well as rebounding volumes from covid-impacted operations in 2020. Additionally, high containerised cargo rates have incentivised those would-be shippers to seek creative transportation solutions, such as ro-ro. Breakbulk volumes are expected to remain high, said NWSA, as increased federal infrastructure funding is driving additional demands for construction equipment to work newly funded infrastructure projects across the country.