A midyear review shows the Port of Tacoma’s financial results are showing signs of improvement as business turns upward after a five-year decline.
New figures presented to port commissioners predict the port’s net income will exceed both last year’s and the port’s own forecasts for 2012.
Much of the good news comes from port operations where income is up more than $2 million compared with 2011 through May. The port is predicting that for the full year, operating income will be about $25.2 million, about $4.3 million more than it had predicted.
Those encouraging results are being driven by big jumps in the port’s breakbulk business and increasing volume of container imports and exports. International container traffic is up 16 percent over last year through midyear. Breakbulk cargo through the port was up 79.3 percent through April, the port said. Breakbulk cargo is cargo too large or too oddly shaped to fit into normal shipping containers. Among breakbulk cargoes are tractors and machinery destined for farms and mines overseas.
The port’s log business, the star of last year’s business performance, has fallen by about half due in part to a lesser demand in China and Korea and because some logs are now being loaded into containers instead of being loaded in bulk aboard big log ships.
Through April, auto imports and exports were up 11.3 percent. Grain exports were off slightly, 0.6 percent.
New shipping business is expected to boost the port’s bottom line in the second half as the Grand Alliance containership lines begin shifting their business to Tacoma from Seattle. The Grand Alliance carriers, Hapag-Lloyd, OOCL and NYK, are now calling on the port’s Washington United Terminal. Two other new shipping routes are now making Tacoma part of their repertoire of ports. One connects the West Coast with the Mediterranean via Latin America and the other provides Pacific Northwest service to Australia and New Zealand with an intermediate stop in French Polynesia.
While shipping activity is predicted to show robust increases for the year, other port income streams will contribute to higher net income for the port, port officials have told commission members.
Tax levy income is expected to increase marginally compared with the port’s own budget, and interest expenses on general obligation bonds are likely to be less than predictions.
Interest income is predicted to be about $1.15 million over forecasts and revenue bond interest expenses are likely to be about $362,000 less than the port had projected. The net result, the port is predicting will be net income of $30.58 million compared with $28.66 million the port’s budget had email@example.com 253-597-8663