Global pandemic continues to impact NWSA cargo volumes

Total container volumes slip 24% in May

The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled 240,671 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in May 2020, a 23.8% decrease compared to May 2019. Full imports declined 22.9% while full exports decreased 15.5%.

Through the first five months of 2020, overall container volumes declined 18.8% compared to 2019. The NWSA handled a total of 1,277,227 TEUs year to date, marking the softest five months since 2009 when the gateway moved 1,210,284 TEUs.

The economic fallout from the global pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains across the country and around the world. The NWSA gateway experienced a total of 46 blank sailings through May, driven by COVID-19 and the lingering trade dispute with China.

Our total year-to-date domestic container volumes dipped 6.3%. Alaska and Hawaii volumes declined 6.6% and 4.7%, respectively.

As seaports play a critical role in supporting the nation’s economic recovery, all marine cargo terminals in Seattle and Tacoma remain open and operational. We continue to work closely with our terminal operators, labor, warehouse companies and supply chain partners to ensure the gateway operates at a high level.

Other cargo highlights:

  • Breakbulk cargo volumes were down 1% year over year to 118,000 metric tons.
  • Auto volumes year to date were 60,018 units, down 20.6% year over year.

View the May 2020 cargo reports: