The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, saw container volumes grow for the sixth straight month in August, improving nearly 15 percent compared to August 2014.
The increase is significant, as peak shipping season—when retailers increase inventories to prepare for the holiday shopping season—hit early last year as shippers sought to avoid possible West Coast labor disruptions during contract negotiations. Last month’s volumes hint at the beginning of 2015’s peak season, the port alliance said.
Full containerized imports and empty containerized exports continued to fuel the growth. Imports improved 5 percent year to date to 946,390 TEUs, while exports increased 8 percent to 849,597 TEUs. Domestic volumes remained stable in August, up 2 percent year to date to 607,780 TEUs.
More than 2.4 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) have crossed NWSA docks year to date, a 5 percent increase, the alliance’s data show.
In other year-to-date cargo sectros, figures indicate that breakbulk volumes continued to stabilize, up less than 1 percent to 180,616 metric tons. Nearly 130,000 auto imports have arrived through August, marking a 7 percent increase. However, grain volumes continued to decline and were down 18 percent to 3.7 million metric tons.