The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, handled more than 3.5 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2015, an increase of 4 percent compared to container volumes handled in 2014.
Container volumes grew despite the slowing Chinese economy and volume declines earlier in the year during West Coast labor negotiations.
International containers grew by 8 percent, while full containers fueled the nearly 5 percent gain in imports to 1.4 million TEUs, Northwest Seaport Alliance said.
Export containers improved 12 percent to 1.3 million TEUs, powered by the high volume of empty containers being sent back to Asia.
Domestic volumes fell 8 percent to 768,635 TEUs, due to Alaska’s slowdown in oil prices, resulting in less oil and gas-related project cargo heading north, the port added.
Auto imports reached a new record in 2015, up 4 percent to 183,305 vehicles, while breakbulk cargo fell nearly 8 percent.
“With the strong support from our labor partners, along with a focus on operational excellence, customer care and strategic infrastructure investments, we expect to continue to see an increase in cargo volumes and related jobs in the region,” CEO John Wolfe said.