According to the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s monthly Breakwater newsletter, the partnership kicked off 2017, appropriately, with 17 percent growth in container cargo in January.
Per the newsletter, “NWSA saw strong full import and export volumes last month. At 128,892 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), full imports grew almost 19 percent compared to January 2016.”
The Port attributed the climbs in volume to retailers restocking after a strong holiday season, as well as fuller ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year — a major holiday in China. Typically, Chinese factories increase production before the holiday before closing up shop for up to two weeks for its observance.
The Lunar New Year, then, may account for lower February cargo volumes as well, since ocean carriers traditionally reduce their number of sailings because of the holiday shutdown. China makes up 60 percent of the Alliance’s imports; hence the anticipated drop in volume.
More tidbits from the Port, from the Breakwater newsletter:
Full exports also recorded a strong January with 76,339 TEUs, a 17 percent increase. The total international TEU volumes grew nearly 18 percent in January.
Domestic volumes for January performed better than the previous year, with Alaska volumes up more than 19 percent as a result of three additional sailings in January. Alaska volumes are expected to decline 5 to 6 percent this year due to soft market conditions.
Breakbulk cargo was up 8.4 percent to 14,502 metric tons due to several military shipments through the South Harbor. Autos units were also up 4.3 percent to 12,613 units due to the release of a new model, as well as a resolution to labor/management issues in Korea.