Northwest Seaport Alliance Sees Overall July Cargo Dip

Image: Northwest Seaport Alliance.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance moved 9.9% fewer cargo containers last month than it did in July 2022, according to data released by the NWSA Aug. 17.

The alliance, consisting of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, moved 234,875 TEUs in cargo overall last month. Although full imports inched up 0.2% full exports fell 7.6% between July 2022 and July 2023.

“Year-over-year comparisons continue to reflect the pandemic-driven conditions of 2022 and ongoing soft import demand relative to last year,” the alliance explained in a statement.

So far in 2023, NWSA moved more than 1.63 million TEUs, a 21.2% year-over-year decrease, with full imports down 25.7% and exports down 4.3%, data show.

Year to date, domestic container volumes dropped 2.4% compared to the same time span in 2022. Alaska cargo numbers swelled by 0.5%, while Hawaii volumes fell 14.6%.

Breakbulk cargo numbers dipped 10.3% to 253,128 metric tons year to date, a symptom of high container freight rates and last year’s lack of available capacity on container ships with some of that cargo moving to Ro-Ro vessels.

“Now that container rates are cooling and service level has returned, cargo is transitioning back,” the alliance explained in a statement.

Meanwhile, auto volumes remain a bright spot for the alliance, which saw a 121.6% spike in autos to 187,615 units.

“New General Motors business coupled with GLOVIS America’s consolidation of its KIA and Hyundai business in our gateway from September of last year will make for favorable month-over-month comparisons in 2023,” the NWSA predicted.

By Karen Robes Meeks