Driving along Schuster Parkway north of Downtown, it’s impossible not to gawk at the 160-foot-tall grain elevator looming over the waterfront. It’s also unlikely to find any less than a few dozen train cars parked on the tracks outside with a huge ship on the opposite side. The train cars transport grain from Eastern Washington and beyond. The grain is then loaded onto bulk carrier ships to be delivered to all points on the globe. With cargo holds as big as houses, it can take days to fill the largest ships.
At full capacity, the grain elevator can hold as much as 3.2 million bushels of grain. In more relatable terms, that’s enough to fill the entire inside of the Tacoma Dome 15 feet deep. More than a quarter of America’s grain exports and almost half of its wheat is sent out from the Puget Sound and the Willamette River. The TEMCO facility plays a large part in this, moving up to 200 million bushels of grain in a year’s time.