NWSA Sees Biggest Monthly Container Volumes of 2023

Image: Northwest Seaport Alliance.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance saw its biggest container volume month of 2023 last month when it handled 252,232 units, according to data released by the alliance July 19.

The NWSA, which is the marine cargo partnership jointly operated by ports of Seattle and Tacoma, also reported a 16.1% increase in June in full imports and an almost 5% jump in full exports last month over May.

“Ocean service schedule consistency has improved at the gateway, helping drive the month-over-month improvement,” the NWSA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, year-over-year statistics continue to reflect 2022’s pandemic-driven numbers and continued softening of import demand, the port said. Overall container volume fell 18.4% last month over June 2022, with full imports falling 19.9% and full exports dipping by 13.8%.

Year to date, total TEUs fell 22.8% to 1,394,347 TEUs, with full imports decreasing by 29% and exports by 4.2%.

Breakbulk volume fell 6.2% to 215,154 metric tons year to date, a result of some cargo shifting to Ro-Ro vessels because of high rates for container freight and lack of available container vessels in 2022, the port said. The port expects cargo to transition back to breakbulk as container rates cool and service level returns.

A bright spot for NWSA has been auto volumes, which were up 129.3% to 160,569 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 port said.

By Karen Robes Meeks