Container throughput at Tacoma and Seattle grew 2.6% in 2018.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) terminals experienced the same end-of-year surge as Los Angeles and Long Beach, with volume rising almost 12% to 349,055 TEU in the month of December as shippers rushed to beat tariffs on imports from China.
December was also marked by a call from the YM Wondrous at Terminal 18 in the North Harbour (Seattle). “At a capacity of 14,080-TEUs, the vessel is the largest Yang Ming Line containership to ever call a U.S. port,” the NWSA noted. Other milestones in 2018 include an 18.1% increase in breakbulk tonnage (to 248,933t) and the opening of the new Taylor Way Auto Facility in the South Harbour (Tacoma) in December (pictured).
2018 was not, however, a vintage year for the NWSA overall. International TEUs grew 3.9%, but domestic volume between the NWSA and Alaska dropped 2.7%, while traffic to Hawaii was down 4%. These are important markets for the NWSA, representing 686,394 TEU out of the almost 3.8M TEU the ports handled in 2018.
An interesting point from the NWSA’s cargo statistics is that despite a 1.1% decline in full export containers and an 8.4% increase in empty box exports, the total tonnage handled in containers for the year was up over 10% to 28.8Mt, indicating containers through the gateway are getting heavier.
The NWSA is also a major gateway for log exports, and these plummeted 58% to 116,790t in 2018.