Seattle and Tacoma Report Strong October Box Volumes

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 23, 2016

Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma reported October full load import and export volumes that were the strongest for the month since 2012. Year to date, imports and exports for October continue to support a strong peak season for the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), with an 11 percent increase and 16 percent increase, respectively.

To support this peak shipping season’s strong agricultural exports, the NWSA has lengthened the extended gates program through December 2. The main commodities moving through our gateway are hay, forest products, and fruits and vegetables.
Year to date, full imports are up 4 percent to 1,134,829 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) 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. 
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 U.S. dollar impact volumes.
Log exports also 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.
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