Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Puget Sound Ports’ Container Volumes Flat

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volumes through the Puget Sound’s two largest ports grew moderately in May, despite a drop in vessel calls, according to data released June 17 by the ports. 312,174 TEUs were moved last month, compared to 312,716 during the same month in 2014.

Vessel calls at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma fell five percent year-to-date in May, with the ports attributing the occurrence to the trend of larger vessels bringing additional cargo through the ports.
Container volumes improved nearly two percent year-to-date in May to 1,428,057 TEUs. Containerized exports improved two percent year to date to 499,620 TEUs, while imports remained flat, up just one percent to 579,029 TEUs.

Domestic volumes were up three percent to 349,408 TEUs.

In other year-to-date cargo news, breakbulk volumes were down three percent to 117,305 metric tons; grain exports fell three percent to 3,426,768 metric tons; and auto imports grew five percent to 75,254 units.

The figures are for both ports combined; individual data for each port was not made available. The ports of Seattle and Tacoma began reporting joint data six months ago after announcing a plan last fall to form the so-called Northwest Seaport Alliance, which they say would strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more cargo to the region.

Together, Seattle and Tacoma comprise the third-largest container gateway in North America; however, their share of the West Coast market has been falling over the past decade.