West Coast port volumes climbed in 2005

No different than other ports on either side of the U.S., container traffic grew for those on the West Coast where most cargo from Asia still arrives. Shippers moving cargo from the Asia – Pacific and other regions continue to look for alternatives, some using the Panama and Suez Canals, others seeking ports further north and south along the country’s Pacific Coast. This, in turn, causes capacity strains in other places and poses additional problems of moving freight from port facilities to final destinations.

Some key West Coast port statistics – a TEU is a twenty-foot equivalent unit:

• Volumes at the Port of Los Angeles in 2005 grew 2.3% year over year as some 7.5 million TEU were handled. Figures for the port’s new fiscal year that began July 1, 2005, show a 5.69% boost in container volume for the period, which is expected to continue through the new year.

• The Port of Oakland put new post-Panamax cranes into operation this year, bringing its total to 19. In addition to the cranes, the Port has been upgrading its terminals and deepening the harbor. In 2005, the port handled 2.3 million TEU compared to 2004’s 2.0 million TEU.

• Ports in the Puget Sound set records for themselves in 2005. The Port of Tacoma handled 2.07 million TEU, which was up 15% overall. Increases were 20.3% for international volumes while domestic container traffic grew 1.3%. The Port invested some $95 million in capital improvement projects during the year, including three new and renovated container terminals.

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