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The port of Bellingham had an annual average water-borne commerce of 1,442,448 tons during the 10-year period 1927–36. Exclusive of local traffic, the annual average was 901,958 tons for the same period. Of the entire tonnage of the port, local traffic averaged 37.5 percent annually. The next largest tonnage group, coastwise shipments, averaged 31.4 percent, followed by coastwise receipts, 22.8 percent; exports, 6.1 percent; and imports, 2.2 percent. Details regarding the commerce of the port are given in the tables and graph on pages 93
Imports averaged 31,203 tons of 2.2 percent of the total traffic of the port during the decade under consideration. Rafted logs comprised the larger part of the imports, being 63.5 percent of the total import traffic. The next largest item in this group was coal, which has fallen off in recent years. In 1927 over 10,000 tons of coal were imported through Bellingham, but during the years 1933 to 1936,
inclusive, less than 2,000 tons were received annually. Pulpwood holds third place in the import tonnages. The first large receipts of this commodity were noted in 1933, the peak being reached in 1934, when over 15,000 tons were received. Receipts of pulpwood declined in the following 2 years. Shells, paper, and various miscellaneous articles made up the other items of imports.
The annual average exports during the period 1927-36 amounted to 88,622 tons, or 6.1 percent, of the total traffic of the port. In 1932 exports dropped to 39,451 tons, but recovered in the following years. Lumber, lumber products, logs, wood pulp, and fish, in the order named, constituted the bulk of the export trade from Bellingham. Canned fruit and vegetables also contributed considerable export tonnages, reaching a little over 4,000 tons in 1934.
Coastwise receipts averaged 329,673 tons, or 22.8 percent, of the total traffic of the port during the 10-year period ending with 1936. As will be seen in the table following, the 1927 and 1928 tonnages were 989,244 and 1,226,506 tons, respectively, and that since 1928 the yearly tonnages have not exceeded 216,219 tons. These reductions in traffic were largely influenced by the decline in the tonnage of rafted logs and piling. Notwithstanding this decline, the principal tonnage consisted of rafted logs and piling whose combined tonnage averaged 213,028 tons, or 64.6 percent, of the total coastwise receipts during the decade. Petroleum products, largely fuel oil and gasoline, followed with an average of 38,000 tons, or 11.5 percent, and canned fish with 26,842 tons, or 8.1 percent. Other commodities in lesser tonnages consisted of sand and gravel, sulphur, and a variety of other items.
Coastwise shipments, including intercoastal traffic, averaged 452,460 tons, or 31.4 percent, of the port's total commerce. Barged and rafted logs and piles accounted for an average of 226,066 tons, or 50 percent of the total coastwise shipments. Other commodities, in the order of tonnage, consisted of lumber and products, canned fish, cement, and wood pulp.
During the 10-year period under discussion, local traffic averaged 540,530 tons, or 37.5 percent, of the total. Of this tonnage 95 percent consisted of logs, 2.6 percent of sand and gravel, 1.3 percent of limestone, and the remaining 1.1 percent of miscellaneous items, including fresh fish as an important item. The table following shows that in some years the volume of local traffic equaled and exceeded all the other traffic combined, ranging as high as 78 percent of the total waterborne commerce of the port.
Water-borne commerce of Bellingham, Wash., 1927-36
Quantities expressed in short tons)
Animals and animal products: Shells.
Water-borne commerce of Bellingham, Wash., 1927–86—Continued
(Quantities expressed in short tons)
Animals and animal products:
Dairy products and eggs.
Beer, wines, and liquors.
Logs and piling, rafted
Brick and tile
Diesel and fuel oil.
Other oils and products.
481 1, 636
Ores, metals and manufactures of:
Hardware, light, heavy, and tools.
Total coastwise receipts.
1, 226, 506