The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) — the partnership of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma — recorded reduced volumes in June due to persisting congestion issues in some major North American gateways.
In a statement, the fourth-largest container gateway in the United States said June volumes decreased 10.3% to 309,123 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), with full imports declining 15.4% and full exports declining 8.8% year-over-year.
YTD import volumes are tracking ahead of pre-Covid levels, while laden exports continue to struggle from reduced service capacity. Year-to-date volumes declined 4% to 1,806,732 TEUs, with full imports and exports declining 6.9% and 24.2%, respectively.
"Reduced vessel calls in June — due to congestion in other ports and ongoing service suspensions—negatively impacted NWSA volumes. In addition, full imports in June 2021 were above average, making year-over-year comparisons unfavorable," NWSA said.
It noted that ocean carriers have announced the return of suspended services in Q3 to support the peak season and the additional capacity is expected to improve volumes, including export activity.
Additional capacity is also supported by continued ad-hoc vessel call activity in the gateway.
Domestic volumes increased 1% compared to YTD June 2021. Alaska volumes increased 2.2% while Hawaii volumes declined 3.4%.
NWSA also noted that managing members approved a new three-year lease —with three two-year extension options — and operating agreement with the BNSF Railway to begin handling domestic intermodal business in the Tacoma Harbor.
The 16-acre terminal — adjacent to the South Intermodal Yard — will be operated by Pacific Rail Services and used for intermodal container storage and related operations. Operations are expected to begin on August 1.
NWSA noted that year-to-date (YTD) June breakbulk cargo volumes grew 29.6% for 229,384 metric tons.
Meanwhile, auto volumes were 70,041 units, down 23.5% over YTD June 2021.