NWSA handles 308,682 TEUs in September, highest monthly volume for the year

New rail service, federal infrastructure grants and bridge opening to improve freight mobility

The Northwest Seaport Alliance in September had its best month of 2020 and the highest monthly containerized volume since October 2019. While down 6.8% year over year, full imports reached their highest monthly volume since September 2019 as companies restock depleted inventory and prepare for the holiday season.

Compared to August 2020, full imports and exports are up 13.6% and 21.9%, respectively.

The gateway handled 308,682 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in September, a 11.1% decline compared to last year.

The economic fallout from COVID-19 continues to disrupt supply chains across the country and around the world. The NWSA gateway saw 59 blank sailings through September, surpassing the total number of canceled sailings in 2019.

Total overall container volumes for the year are down 16.8% compared to 2019. The NWSA handled a total of 2,419,741 TEUs year to date. Loaded imports declined 15%, while full exports decreased 13.9%.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the NWSA with a $10.7 million grant for the Terminal 5 uplands modernization project. This grant will support on-terminal rail infrastructure improvements and the expansion of refrigerated container plug capacity. The first phase of the T-5 project is expected to be completed in spring 2021.

Additionally, the new Lander Street Bridge opened in Seattle, improving freight mobility through our gateway and making our region more competitive in the global economy.

The NWSA also celebrated the launch of a new intermodal rail service from Minot, North Dakota. This service will bring new, additional cargo to the gateway and support our customers shipping U.S. agricultural exports.

For the domestic trade, our total year-to-date volumes dropped 6.7%. Alaska volumes declined 7.9%, partially reflected by the cruise season cancellations. Hawaii volumes were down 0.6%.

Other cargo stats:

  • Breakbulk cargo volumes are up 8.2% year over year to 216,900 metric tons.
  • Auto volumes year to date were 108,628 units, down 25% year over year.

View the September 2020 cargo reports: