Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Seattle-Tacoma Ports Record Biggest November Volumes in 5 Years

By Mark Edward Nero

Import and export volumes at the Seattle-Tacoma port complex last month were the strongest for a November in the last five years, according to newly-released data.

Full imports and exports for November reflect a continued solid peak season at the Northwest Seaport Alliance, with 28 percent and 23 percent increases, respectively, compared with November 2015, according to data.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which is the name for the joint operating agreement between the Seattle and Tacoma ports, said the ports had four more international vessel calls in November than it did in October, and three more than it did last November.

The top import commodities moving through the gateway include furniture, apparel, toys/games and footwear, while the top export commodities include hay, forest products, apples and potatoes.

Year to date, laden imports are up six percent to 1,268,049 TEUs, and full exports increased 14 percent to 897,785 TEUs. The year’s total container volumes are up almost two percent through November to 3,299,538 TEUs.

Year to date domestic volumes however, have been down as Alaska struggles with a decrease in oil- and gas-related project activity due to low commodity prices. November’s overall domestic volume showed an increase due to additional sailing, compared to the prior year.

In other cargo news: Seattle-Tacoma breakbulk cargo is down 24 percent year to date to 165,836 metric tons as the global downturn in agricultural, mining and construction equipment, and a strong US dollar impact volumes.

Also, log exports declined 36 percent year to date to 150,962 metric tons due to decreased demand in China and competition from New Zealand. Additionally, vehicle shipping fell 10 percent to 151,985 units for the month because of what the Seaport Alliance said were production issues as well as supply chain shifts.