Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Puget Sound Cargo Volumes Down

By Mark Edward Nero

Following a down month in January, container volumes through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma continued to struggle last month, dipping more than nine percent compared to the same month in 2015, according to newly-released data.

In February, the ports saw a combined total of 227,258 TEUs, compared with 242,902 TEUs in February 2014, a 6.4 percent decrease.

During the first two months of 2015, container terminals at Washington state’s two largest ports handled 457,620 TEUs, according to the data, compared to 504,266 TEUs combined during January and February of last year, a drop of 46,646 containers, or 9.3 percent.

For the first two months of the year, containerized imports fell nearly 16 percent year to date to 181,864 TEUs, while exports were down eight percent to 159,124 TEUs, the data shows.

Domestic volumes to Alaska and Hawaii grew one percent, however, to 116,623 TEUs, while grain exports grew 13 percent to 1.7 million metric tons and breakbulk volumes improved 11 percent to 42,972 metric tons.

The released data does not include information on how each port performed individually during the month.

In January, the ports saw a 13 percent dip in cargo traffic, something that they partially attribute to the prolonged contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association. Normal operations resumed at Seattle and Tacoma terminals Feb. 21 when the two parties reached a tentative agreement.

The ports say they’re working to quickly clear the backlog of cargo and ships that built up during the nine months of contract negotiations.

Detailed information about the ports’ 2014 and 2015 traffic volumes is available at: http://portoftacoma.com/sites/default/files/February2015SeaportAllianceFullMtybyMonth2014vs15.pdf