The Northwest Seaport Alliance – the collaborative entity that the ports of Seattle and Tacoma are known as – says that its container volumes began to “normalize” in May following unusual trade patterns during labor contract negotiations in first quarter of last year.
Total Seaport Alliance container volumes for the month fell seven percent compared to May 2015, and the year-to-date volume lag is about two percent. The ports moved 280,784 TEUs last month, as opposed to 302,907 units during the same month last year.
Every category recorded by the Seaport Alliance measured down last month at the two ports compared to 2015, including international imports, international exports and domestic container shipments.
Despite the overall decline however, full containerized exports continue to recover, growing 12 percent year to date to 382,295 TEUs. Also, full imports are flat year to date at 520,215 TEUs.
Imports, according to the Alliance, have been muted in part due to retailers working through excess inventory. Domestic volumes remain sluggish, the Alliance says, due to the weakened Alaska economy.
While auto imports are flat, breakbulk cargo continues to struggle data shows. It’s down 36 percent, with the Alliance stating the cause as the strong dollar and slowing economic growth in China.
The Alliance’s complete container numbers for May 2016 can be seen here:
https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/May2016_ContainerVolumes.pdf and other cargo statistics are available at https://www.nwseaportalliance.com/sites/default/files/May2016_CargoStats.pdf