Friday, December 2, 2016

Seaport Alliance Sees Strongest Container Volumes in 4 Years

By Mark Edward Nero

Full load import and export volumes at the Northwest Seaport Alliance in October were the strongest for the month since 2012, according to newly released data.

Year to date, imports and exports for October continue to support a strong peak season for the NWSA, with an 11 percent increase and 16 percent increase, respectively.

To support the 2016 peak shipping season’s strong agricultural exports, the Seaport Alliance lengthened its extended gates program through Dec. 2. The main commodities moving through the gateway are hay, forest products and fruits and vegetables.

Year to date, full imports are up four percent to 1,134,829 TEUs, and full exports increased 13 percent to 802,343 TEUs. The year’s total container volumes are essentially flat through October, down less than 1 percent to 2,963,157 TEUs, according to port data.

While weak empty and domestic volumes continue to drag down overall container volume growth, domestic cargo tipped up in October with a 4.2 percent increase from the late run of seafood.

Year to date, domestic volumes have been down as Alaska struggles with a decrease in oil- and gas-related project activity due to low commodity prices. The month’s overall domestic volume showed a modest increase, however, due to additional sailings related to a rise in demobilization of Alaska’s stock, equipment and gear away from the area.

In other cargo news, breakbulk cargo is down 28 percent year to date to 152,075 metric tons as the global downturn in agricultural, mining and construction equipment and a strong US dollar impact volumes.

Also, log exports declined 27 percent year to date to 150,962 metric tons due to decreased demand in China and competition from New Zealand.

Autos fell 10 percent to 8,630 units for the month because of production issues as well as supply chain shifts. October’s container volumes are available at and the month’s cargo statistics can be found at