NWSA breakbulk volumes hit record high as shippers seek alternatives

NWSA breakbulk volumes hit record high as shippers seek alternatives

Photo source: NSWA

As the US ports struggled with congestion, shipping companies had to think outside of the box to keep their cargo moving. Once such solution is moving containerised cargo on RoRo vessels and calling at the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) gateway in Tacoma, pushing the facility’s breakbulk volumes to a record high. 

NWSA has operated breakbulk cargo facilities at East Blair 1 and Terminal 7 at the Port of Tacoma since 2015, however, boosted by new customers and carriers calling at the gateway, 2021 has been a record year for breakbulk.

The majority of breakbulk cargo in 2021 was comprised of ro-ro (roll-on, roll-off) 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.

The surge of breakbulk cargo can also be attributed to rebounding volumes from covid-impacted operations in 2020. Additionally, high containerised cargo rates have incentivised container cargo shippers to seek creative transportation solutions, utilising ro-ro.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance Breakbulk
Photo source: The Northwest Seaport Alliance

Breakbulk volumes are expected to remain high as increased federal infrastructure funding is driving additional demands for construction equipment to work newly funded infrastructure projects across the country.

The NWSA is strategically positioned to excel at moving breakbulk cargo, offering two terminals that handle both breakbulk and auto cargo allowing customers to mix their ro-ro shipments. NWSA is committed to maintaining diversified cargo opportunities for customers to move their goods – both containerised and breakbulk – through the Seattle + Tacoma gateway.

Author: Adnan Bajic

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