Friday, October 21, 2016

Seattle-Tacoma Cargo Volumes Flat

By Mark Edward Nero

Total container volumes at the Seattle-Tacoma port complex are essentially flat year-to-date through September, down less than one percent to 2,657,481 TEUs, according to data released Oct. 17.

Weak empty and domestic volumes continue to drag down overall container volume growth. Domestic volumes are down three percent year to date as Alaska struggles with a decrease in oil- and gas-related project activity due to low commodity prices.

However, full imports for the month of September were up a combined four percent compared to the same month last year at the two ports, while full exports grew six percent, according to the data.

Year to date 2016, full imports are up three percent to 1.01 TEUs and full exports jumped 12 percent to 713,579 TEUs.

In other cargo news, breakbulk cargo is down 28 percent year to date to 141,942 metric tons as the global downturn in agricultural, mining and construction equipment and a strong US dollar affect volumes.

Also, log exports fell 40 percent year-to-date to 124,456 metric tons, with the fall being blamed on decreased demand in China and competition from New Zealand.

Additionally, auto imports and exports fell seven percent to 130,478 units, something that the ports said was due to vehicle manufacturers moving factory locations, thereby shifting the supply chain.