Loaded inbound cargo traffic at the top five U.S. West Coast ports rose 43.6% in February compared with the same month last year, according to newly released data from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.
The five biggest ports — Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma — saw a combined 967,931 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, or TEUs, come across their docks, compared with 673,845 units during the same month last year, PMSA data show. Canada’s Port of Vancouver also saw a big bump in traffic, registering 146,659 TEUs in February, compared to 114,201 units the year before, a 28.4% increase.
“Those five ports in California and Washington state collectively handled 50.3% of all inbound loads discharged at the sixteen American ports we track,” the PMSA explained in a statement. “That was up sharply from their 42.9% share a year earlier.”
The news was not as positive for outbound loaded TEUs at those same ports. The San Pedro Bay ports — L.A. and Long Beach — saw a combined 15.2% drop in full container exports compared to February 2020. The Northwest Seaport Alliance (comprised of Seattle and Tacoma) experienced a 13.6% drop in loaded outbound TEUs. Overall, the big five U.S. ports experienced a combined 14.1% decline in full exports from the same month a year ago, while Vancouver, Canada’s volumes were down 17.3%.
The 936,004 loaded TEU exports that sailed from mainland U.S. ports in February was the lowest number since last May’s 819,877 TEUs, PMSA-compiled data show.