Seattle, Tacoma boxes down

Seattle, Tacoma boxes down

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma continued their sluggish ways in February, as container volumes declined 2.6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

At Tacoma, the trend was especially bothersome because international full containers declined 7.9 percent to 66,149 TEUs, when compared to the same month last year. At the same time, empty containers handled through the port increased by 6.6 percent to 22,695 TEUs. By volume, containerized cargo decreased 15.4 percent to 856,751 short tons.

Breakbulk surged 77.8 percent to 18,507 short tons, compared to February 2003, after falling dramatically in January.

Auto units in January and February fell 16.1 percent to 24,378 units from a year ago.

Through February total containers handled declined 1.6 percent to 237,526 TEUs. Intermodal lifts, after a hot start in January, fell by 19.1 percent but through the first two months were still up nearly 2 percent to 68,451 lifts.

At Seattle, the total number of containers through February declined by 3.3 percent to 223,648 TEUs. Full boxes were off by 2.4 percent to 86,375 TEUs. Empties moving through Seattle decreased by 3.2 percent to 26,388 TEUs. For the first two months, empties fell 15 percent from the same period a year ago.

Seattle's largest container segment, the Asia trade route, declined 4.5 percent through February to 173,764 TEUs. Asia trade empties dropped nearly 21 percent to 33,894 TEUs.