Puget Sound gateway container volumes grow in June

Less congestion and efficient cargo movement helped international container volumes through the Puget Sound gateway improve 14 percent in June compared to June 2014.

Cargo has been re-routed through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma as other U.S. West Coast ports continue to struggle with congestion stemming from the contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union earlier this year. It’s a trend that is helped by the gateway’s ability to move cargo more quickly from the terminals to inland destinations.

Through the first half of the year, volumes remain stable with the Puget Sound gateway handling nearly 1.8 million TEUs, a 3 percent gain year to date.

Containerized exports improved 5 percent on the year to 628,718 TEUs, while imports grew nearly 3 percent to 715,307 TEUs. Domestic volumes remained flat, up 1 percent year to date to 433,715 TEUs. Empty container exports skyrocketed in June, up 86 percent year to date, as excess equipment that accumulated during the contract negotiations was sent back to Asia.

In other year-to-date cargo news:

  • Breakbulk volumes were down 2 percent to 141,608 metric tons
  • Grain exports fell 8 percent to 3,554,868 metric tons
  • Auto imports continued to grow, up 5 percent to 93,890 units

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma plan to form The Northwest Seaport Alliance to strengthen the Puget Sound gateway and attract more cargo for the region. The two port commissions are expected to vote on the final agreement at a joint meeting Aug. 4.

View the June 2015 cargo reports: