Canada’s West Coast container ports stayed level in the first quarter of 2013 with the robust growth that they experienced last year. Year-over-year, Canadian ports saw a higher throughput volume in the first quarter of 2013, but a slight dip in West Coast traffic market share.
Overall, U.S. ports hold the biggest share of West Coast traffic, with the bulk of that handled by Southern California ports. The U.S. ports on the West Coast held an 85.6 percent share of the market during the first quarter of 2013, with the major ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles holding 62 percent of the overall market. Southern California’s share went up by roughly 1 percentage point from the previous year. The Port of Oakland held 10.5 percent of the market share in the first quarter, down three-tenths of a percentage point from the first quarter of 2012. Canada held 14.4 percent of the market, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the first quarter of 2012. However, Canadian market share on the West Coast is up from the 12.7 percent market share Canada's ports held during the first quarter of 2011.
The major west coast Canadian ports, which include Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, saw throughput volume totaling 777,938 20-foot-equivalent containers in the first quarter of 2013, up 3 percent from 755,299 TEUs in 2012 and up 21 percent from first quarter 2011 volume of 642,091 TEUs. Prince Rupert saw a growth in throughput of 5.7 percent this quarter to 134,976 TEUs, although its market share remained flat year-over-year at 2.5 percent. Vancouver saw an increase of 2.5 percent from the same quarter a year ago to 642,962 TEUs, however, its market share inched down from 12.1 percent to 11.9 percent.
Tacoma saw the largest year-over-year jump in the first quarter, with volume up 46 percent to 360,264 TEUs from 246,566 TEUs in the first quarter of 2012, largely because of the Grand Alliance’s shift from Seattle to Tacoma. Its market share grew 2 percentage points to 6.7 percent. As a result, Seattle saw the largest drop in throughput, down 24.2 percent to 304,426 TEUs from 401,837 TEUs in the first quarter of 2012, cutting its market share from 7.7 percent to 5.6 percent. Portland also saw a large drop of almost 12 percent this quarter, from 54,911 to 48,440 TEUs, with its market share falling slightly from 1.1 percent to 0.9 percent. The declines in throughput in Seattle and Portland brought down the overall market share of the Pacific Northwest to 13 percent from 14 percent, where it had stood the past two years.
Los Angeles saw the only year-over-year throughput drop in the California region this quarter. Traffic volume in Los Angeles fell 4.7 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to 1,787,127 TEUs. Its market share fell from 36 to 31 percent year-over-year. Oakland saw a moderate increase of 1.2 percent to 566,796 TEUs in the first quarter, while seeing its market share inch down three-tenths of a percentage point to 10.5 percent. Long Beach volume, however, jumped 19 percent in the first quarter of 2013 to 1,553,931 TEUs from 1,306,607 TEUs in the first quarter of 2012, lifting its market share from 25.1 percent in 2012 to approximately 29 percent in 2013.