NWSA Container Volumes Up
The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s February container volumes reached 269,199 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 4.1 percent decrease from last year. Despite the dip, the year-to-date container volumes are up 10.9 percent, with imports and exports growing 10.1 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.
As anticipated, import volumes in February were impacted by an early Lunar New Year, resulting in shippers advancing orders ahead of the normal factory closures in Asia during the holiday. Several vessel-call omissions similarly impacted import volumes.
In addition, February volumes demonstrated two tariff-related shifts. After five consecutive months of import growth from retailers front-loading cargo to beat future tariff increases, imports are leveling off as retailers draw down this inventory. Soft export volumes, especially to China, also reflect the ongoing impacts from tariffs.
Total domestic volumes for February increased 1.1 percent to 47,590 TEUs compared to February 2018, marking the second month of growth for domestic cargo. Alaska’s year-to-date volumes were up 7.7 percent following an unusually robust January. Hawaii volumes through the Pacific Northwest were up 2.5 percent for 2019.
Other cargo highlights:
- Breakbulk cargo volume was up 15.5 percent to 37,667 metric tons.
- Auto volume for February was 27,705 units, up 27.3 percent. The new Taylor Way auto terminal, which opened in late 2018, has brought in additional volumes. The NWSA is also receiving autos diverted from other West Coast ports of entry due to congestion.