NWSA December 2020 container volumes increase 6%

Full imports grew 16% as import volumes continue to increase

The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled a total of 301,814 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in December, a 6.1% increase compared to last December.

For the month, full import volumes through the Seattle and Tacoma harbors grew by 15.7%, compared to the same month last year when the gateway experienced 13 canceled vessel calls. Import demand remains strong and is forecasted to remain steady through the first quarter. Total imports grew 9.6% while total exports declined 2.1%.

CMA CGM will launch a new service, the Golden Gate Bridge (GGB), in mid-January, giving NWSA importers and exporters additional capacity in the gateway. The new service will have a Shanghai-Yantian-Oakland-Seattle-Kaohsiung-Shanghai rotation. The first vessel is expected to arrive Feb. 17, 2021.

Terminal 18 exceeded 1 million TEUs for the year, the third year in a row the Seattle Harbor terminal has reached this milestone. While terminal volumes have picked up as shippers restock inventories, there is abundant capacity to handle additional volume. Seattle + Tacoma offer advantages like fast transit times from/to Asia to the Midwest and low dwell times at NWSA on-dock rail facilities.

The NWSA handled 3,320,379 TEUs for the year, down 12.1% compared to 2019. Full imports declined 8.4%, while full exports decreased 13.4%.

For the domestic trade, our total year-to-date volumes are down 4.5%. Alaska volumes declined 6%. Hawaii volumes grew 3.4%.

Other cargo stats:

  • Breakbulk cargo volumes finished up 18.3% for the year to 291,623 metric tons.
  • Auto volumes for the year were 156,205 units, down 18.6% year over year.

View the December 2020 cargo reports: