The Port of Grays Harbor had a record-setting year in 2018. The only deep-water port on the Pacific Ocean recently announced it handled nearly 3 million metric tons of cargo last year — more than ever before in its 107 years in operation. In addition, 125 ships and barges called at the port’s terminals in 2018.

Leading the year’s cargo volumes was American-grown agriculture products, with nearly 2.2 million metric tons handled and calls from 56 vessels. Other record-setting products included liquid bulk cargo, automobiles, over-high and over-wide equipment, and logs.

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The Port of Grays Harbor’s Terminal 2, where agriculture products are handled. Photo courtesy Port of Grays Harbor.

“The diversity of our cargo base results in steady conditions for our workforce and service providers,” said Leonard Barnes, the Port of Grays Harbor’s deputy executive director.

The high volumes of cargo resulted in a “strong employment year” for longshore and other trade workers, according to the port. Longshore workers logged 157,000 hours, 10 percent more than in 2017.

“Our partners have done an outstanding job bringing business and employment to Grays Harbor and our local longshore workforce does a great job of handling and moving the cargo efficiently,” said Port Commission President Stan Pinnick. “The employment impacts do not stop at our docks; we also see an increase in work for our tug operators, rail workers, truck drivers and industrial service vendors. Increasing trade volumes are a major driver of our local economy.”

Last year’s numbers bode well for growth in 2019, too, according to the port , with one development in particular signaling significant potential growth. Ag Processing Inc. (AGP), a large exporter of dry bulks based in the Midwest that operates out of the Port of Grays Harbor’s Terminal 2, has plans to open a processing facility in South Dakota later this year. That project could mean an uptick in product passing through the port.

“As our partners grow, so does Grays Harbor’s trade volumes. The Commissioners and staff look forward to the opening of AGP’s new processing facility in Aberdeen, South Dakota opening up later this year,” said Port Executive Director Gary Nelson. “We also welcome the possibility of further expanding the diversity of cargoes we handle here at the Port of Grays Harbor with a potential new project and investment at Terminal 3.”