Containerized cargo volumes at the two major Puget Sound ports of Seattle and Tacoma slowed noticeably in March, though both ports continued to report positive growth numbers.
The Port of Seattle saw total container volumes in March grow 3.8 percent and Tacoma reported total box volumes up 0.5 percent for the month, both compared to March 2010.
Seattle port officials reported handling a total of 160,524 TEUs in March, a 3.8 percent increase over the year-ago period, but a slide from the 4.6 percent growth seen in February and well off the mark of the double-digit growth seen for much of last year. The port still remains up 7.7 percent for the year, compared to the first three months of 2010.
On the import side of the ledger, Seattle reported handling 59,764 loaded inbound TEUs in March, a 7.3 percent increase over the same period last year. In the export column, the port handled 51,721 loaded outbound containers during the month, a 16.2 percent increase over March 2010. Dragging down the total monthly numbers was an 8.9 percent decline in domestic box shipments for the month and a sizable 11.1 percent drop in the handling of empty containers.
Across the Sound, Tacoma official reported handling a total of 130,417 TEUs in March, a 0.5 percent increase over the year-ago period, but a significant drop from the 15.4 percent year-over-year increase seen in February. Prior to March, the port had seen three consecutive months of double-digit growth and a total of five straight months of positive growth. The port remains up 8.8 percent for the calendar year compared to the January to March period in 2010.
In the import column, Tacoma handled a total of 37,707 loaded inbound TEUs in March, a 4.5 percent drop over March 2010. On the export side, the port handled a total of 35,441 loaded outbound TEUs in March, a 10.6 percent increase over the year-ago period.