With more than 30,000 North American vehicles already exported through October, the Port of Grays Harbor predicted Monday it will export more than 37,000 vehicles this year.
That number will far surpass the 21,162 Chrysler products exported last year from the port on Washington’s Pacific Coast.
The increase is in exports is driven by a growing demand in China, now the world’s largest auto market, and other Asian countries for Chrysler vehicles.
Pasha Automotive Services is handling the exports of the cars and trucks. The vehicles are delivered to the port on trains from assembly plants in the Midwest.
In addition to the 37,000 smaller vehicles, the port is expected to handle some 70,000 tons of construction equipment and heavy-duty vehicles.
The auto export business has created about 85 jobs in the Grays Harbor area since it opened in 2009, said the Port of Grays Harbor.
The port’s docks and railyards are connected to the two Western trunk line railroads, BNSF and Union Pacific, by the Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad.
While Grays Harbor is seeing a strong increase in auto exports, the Port of Tacoma is seeing a large increase in auto import volumes. Through October, the Port of Tacoma handled 131,621 auto imports. That’s up 39.8 percent from the same period last year.
The number of autos imported through Tacoma peaked in 2007 before the recession began, at 175,074. The number for the year fell to 117,357 by 2009.