Tacoma Bucks Downward Volume Trend Among US West Coast Ports

Tacoma Bucks Downward Volume Trend Among US West Coast Ports

November continued a trend of lagging container volumes at the northern West Coast ports of Oakland, Portland and Seattle, while Tacoma’s container traffic increased last month.

Containerized imports in Oakland dropped 7 percent in November from the same month last year. Exports were down 8.5 percent, and total container traffic declined 4.6 percent. Year-to-date through November, Oakland’s imports are down 0.8 percent, exports dropped 1.3 percent and the total container volume is down 0.2 percent, according to numbers published on the port’s Web site.

Imports plunged 22 percent in Seattle in November. Exports declined 23 percent and the total container volume was off 22.7 percent. Seattle’s year-to-date imports are down 4.2 percent, exports dropped 12.7 percent and total container traffic is off 7.9 percent compared to last year, according to Seattle’s Web site.

Portland’s containerized imports are down 14.2 percent year-to-date, with exports down 5.4 percent and total container volume through November down 9.6 percent, the Oregon port reported on its Web site.

Tacoma bucked the regional trend this year. Containerized imports in November were up 6 percent, exports increased 23 percent and total loaded container volume was up 9.5 percent. Tacoma’s year-to-date imports are up 23 percent; exports increased 17 percent, and total international container volume through November is up 21 percent.

Contributing to Tacoma’s performance was the relocation earlier this year of vessel calls by the Grand Alliance partners Orient Overseas Container Line, Hapag-Lloyd and NYK Line from Seattle to Tacoma.

The Southern California ports reported their November numbers earlier this week, and total container volume was down 2 percent compared to November 2011. The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex is up 1 percent year-to-date.

By contrast, the CanadianPort of Prince Rupert, which has a direct intermodal connection to Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans via the Canadian National Railway, reported an increase of 40 percent through November compared to last year.