Friday, October 18, 2013

Seattle TEU Volumes Halt Yearlong Slide

After a year of falling container volumes, the Port of Seattle last month managed to get back on the plus side when it comes to monthly numbers of TEUs moved.

Seattle Harbor container volumes were up by 2,500 units, or 1.8 percent, for September 2013 versus the same month in 2012, the first time this calendar year that a month saw gains compared with the year prior, according to newly released data.

Port of Seattle terminals moved more than 143,100 TEUs last month, a nearly two percent gain from September 2012’s 140,600 TEUs. The largest portion of the total volume came in imports of full containers. Nearly 48,800 TEUs were moved during the month, which was actually down from the about 53,000 TEUs from the same month last year. But the port saw a sizable gain in the number of full containers exported: 43,700 were shipped out through Seattle last month, as opposed to 34,470 in September 2012.

Before September’s increase, Seattle had seen its container volumes decline each month this year, with the cause attributed mostly to its loss of the Grand Alliance group of shippers, which in July 2012 began three new calls each week at Washington United Terminals, having moved their business from the Port of Seattle. Since the shift, Tacoma had seen year-over-year container volume increases while Seattle experienced the opposite.

The Grand Alliance is a consortium of three of the world’s largest shipping lines – Germany-based Hapag-Lloyd, Orient Overseas Container Line of Hong Kong and Japanese company NYK Line – along with associated carrier ZIM Integrated Shipping of Israel.

For the calendar year to date, Seattle TEU volumes are down 17 percent compared to the same nine months in 2012.