NW Seaport Alliance Receives 1st Shipment of Hyundai Vehicles

Executives with the Northwest Seaport Alliance, GLOVIS America and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions at a ceremony marking the first delivery of Hyundai vehicles at the Port of Tacoma’s South Harbor. Photos courtesy of Brian DalBalcon Photography.

In the third week of September, the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) welcomed the inaugural delivery of Hyundai automobiles to its South Harbor in Tacoma as part of a new partnership with logistics service GLOVIS America and shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions (WWS) that’s expected to lead to an increase in finished vehicles and breakbulk operations.

“The GLOVIS America consolidation expands upon a longstanding partnership between GLOVIS America and NWSA at the Port of Tacoma. In addition to Kias, many thousands of Hyundais will begin to be imported and processed at the WWS facility in Tacoma each year, increasing automobile volumes and job opportunities in our gateway,” stated John McCarthy, the Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member.

This initial shipment of almost 2,000 vehicles on the vessel Grand Mercury is the beginning of what the NWSA has said will be a substantial increase in autos through the gateway. In 2021 and 2022 the NWSA has seen significant increases in breakbulk cargo, which GLOVIS America also handles on their vessels. Terminals and processing partners have maintained the capacity to handle these increased numbers.

“In coming years, the agreement with GLOVIS America has the potential to more than double current auto volumes,” GLOVIS CEO Scott Cornell said.

The added volume from this partnership is expected to bring more work to the businesses in Tacoma and more jobs to the region. Imported vehicles utilize labor to reach auto processing centers where workers perform inspections and additional fabrication before being delivered to dealerships across the region.

GLOVIS, created in 2002, undertook a selection process to identify a single gateway as a point of entry for both Kia and Hyundai automobiles and to create capacity to grow with additional automotive customers.

NWSA’s South Harbor, which was already the port of entry for Kia vehicles processed by Auto Warehousing Co., a long-term processor headquartered in Tacoma, was selected after being determined to have the ability and resources to handle the combined volume.

“GLOVIS America sought out a strategic gateway that could provide superior customer service as well as the resources to handle both the Kia and Hyundai automobile business now and into the future. The Tacoma harbor was the clear choice,” GLOVIS Americas President Jason Woo said.

“GLOVIS America appreciates our partnership with the NWSA and is already actively pursuing additional growth in automobile and breakbulk volumes as part of our commitment to the Port of Tacoma as our mega port in the (Pacific Northwest),” Cornell added.

“We are thrilled that GLOVIS has chosen our gateway to be the premier port to handle GLOVIS America’s combined brands and logistics operations,” Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member Sam Cho said. “This not only strengthens our partnership with GLOVIS America, but it also helps bolster the robust trade relationship we have with South Korea as one of our largest trading partners.”

“This opportunity to increase automobile volumes and breakbulk tonnage helps diversify port operations and ensure(s) future growth in our gateway,” he added.