Friday, May 23, 2014

Seattle Container Volumes Continue Negative Trend

By Mark Edward Nero

Despite an increase in monthly container volumes at the other major West Coast ports in April, the Port of Seattle has continued to see volumes shrink in comparison with the same period last year.

Seattle terminals saw a total of 123,980 TEUs in April 2014, a 5.3 percent drop from the same month last year, according to port data. Volumes rose at most other major ports in April, including the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma, which all saw double digit increases.

The Port of Seattle has not had a month so far this year where container volumes exceeded those of the corresponding month in 2013.

Of the nearly 124,000 containers that moved through Seattle last month, the majority were full containers being imported from overseas, 38,223 TEUs, followed by full containers being exported to foreign countries, 36,993 TEUs.

During the same month in 2013, about 131,000 TEUs moved through the Port of Seattle, including 45,547 full imports from overseas and 38,767 full exports.

For the year to date, Seattle terminals have seen 463,580 TEUs, which is a 10.8 percent drop from the 519,672 containers that were seen during the same four-month period last year.

The port first saw its numbers dip on a consistent basis when the Grand Alliance consortium of shippers began calling at the Port of Tacoma in July of 2012.

Even with the addition of two new customers – United Arab Shipping Co. and Pacific International Line came to the port in 2013 – volumes still have yet to grow back to mid-2012 levels.