Friday, October 23, 2015

Puget Sound Container Volumes Trend Upward

By Mark Edward Nero

Container volumes through the Northwest Seaport Alliance, i.e. the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, improved five percent through the third quarter of 2015, according to recently released data.

Full containerized imports and empty exports fueled the seventh-straight month of growth as retailers increased inventories to prepare for the holiday shopping season, port data shows. Import volumes increased nearly five percent year-to-date to 1,088,615 TEUs during the quarter, and exports jumped nearly nine percent to 982,206 TEUs. Domestic volumes remained flat, up just one percent on the year.

However, full export containers suffered in September, down four percent compared to the September 2014, as a stronger US dollar, decreasing demand from China and weaker economies overseas continue to impact the export market.

Through the first nine months of the calendar year, the alliance has handled nearly 2.8 million TEUs and is on pace to top last year’s 3.4 million TEUs, according to data.

Auto imports also continued to post gains – a trend that is expected to continue as next year’s models begin to arrive. Nearly 140,000 auto units crossed the ports’ docks through September, a jump of nearly four percent.

Breakbulk cargo has been stable according to data, and is up half a percent to 196,923 metric tons year-to-date.

The Sept. 2015 container volumes data is available at and the latest cargo statistics can be found at