NWSA February container volumes decline 3.1% year over year

Deeper coronavirus impacts expected in March

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s total container volume for February 2020 was 260,932 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 3.1% decrease from February 2019. On the bright side, full exports increased 4.5%, while full imports declined 8%.

In addition to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, tariffs continue to impact overall volumes. The NWSA saw a build-up in inventories from late 2018 through early 2019 and weak demand in February 2019, making year-over-year comparisons for the month difficult. We anticipate March 2020 volumes will be deeply impacted by the COVID-19 virus, contributed by the increased ship cancellations in 2020.

Total container volumes for the first two months in 2020 were 524,749 TEUs, a 11.9% decline compared to the previous year. Imports and exports declined 15.1% and 11.9%, respectively.

Domestic container volumes for February 2020 decreased 3.3% year to date compared to 2019. Alaska’s year-to-date volumes were down 5.2%, while Hawaii’s year-to-date volumes were up 5.2%. Hawaii volumes benefited from one additional vessel call year to date.

Other cargo volume highlights:

  • Breakbulk cargo volumes were down 8.2% year over year to 34,568 metric tons.
  • NWSA auto volumes year to date were 23,135 units, down 16.5% year over year.

View the February 2020 cargo reports: