Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seattle Port Volumes Trend Up, While Tacoma Continues Slide

Cargo traffic at the two main Puget Sound container ports continued to move on different tangents during 2009, with Seattle continuing to report monthly increases in container volumes in the last half of the year and Tacoma continuing to slide.

The Port of Seattle reported total container volumes for 2009 of 1,584,596 TEUs, down 7 percent for the entire year compared to 2008. However, the overall trend at Seattle continued to move into the positive, with increases in month-to-month numbers reported during the last five months of 2009.

In addition, Seattle handled 612,236 TEUs of loaded inbound boxes during 2009, down 7.9 percent compared to 2008. The port also handled 459,557 TEUs of loaded outbound boxes during 2009, a 5.8 percent increase over the year-ago period.

Perhaps more noteworthy is that for the month of December 2009, the Seattle port reported total box volumes of 145,086 TEUs, up 29.4 percent compared to the last month of 2008 and the fifth straight month of total box increases in 2009. Loaded inbound boxes for December were also up an 32.6 percent and loaded outbound box volumes were up a whopping 103.8 percent compared to the last month of 2008.

The end-of-the-year picture at Seattle sharply differed from that at the nearby Port of Tacoma.

Tacoma port officials reported total container volumes for 2009 fell 16.9 percent to 1,545,855 TEUs, compared to 2008 numbers. Loaded inbound box volumes for 2009 also dipped 27.2 percent to 472,533 TEUs during 2009 and loaded outbound container volumes fell 13 percent to 420,791 TEUs for the year compared to 2008.

The month of December also capped twelve months of consecutive monthly declines in total container volumes for Tacoma. The port reported total box volumes of 116,560 TEUs for the month of December, down 20.3 percent compared to December 2008. Monthly loaded inbound volumes for December dipped 29.9 percent and total loaded outbound volumes fell 3.7 percent compared to December 2008.