The alliance of Seattle and Tacoma enjoyed increased contained traffic despite rough international seas.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance, the consolidated container operation of the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma, just reported its traffic for 2015 and much of the news is surprisingly favorable.
Despite trouble in China, the global slowdown and early 2015’s West Coast labor troubles, international container volumes increased by 8 percent. Automobile imports also reached a new record, 183,305 vehicles, up 4 percent.
Full containers drove a nearly 5-percent gain in imports to 1.4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalents, a standard unit measurement for shipping). Outgoing containers increased 12 percent to 1.3 million TEUs,; these were mostly empty containers being sent back to Asia. Although other data show Washington exports grew last year, full export containers leaving the two ports declined by 4 percent.
This marks the first year of consolidated reporting. The Alliance became official in August. CEO John Wolfe said in a prepared statement, “The Northwest Seaport Alliance allows us to compete more effectively on behalf of our customers and attract more cargo to the Puget Sound region, which translates to more family-wage jobs in our communities.”
Falling oil prices hurt domestic traffic because of Alaska’s reliance on petroleum. Domestic volumes declined 8 percent to 768,635 TEUs.
What’s too soon to tell: Is the Alliance reversing the region’s falling market share compared with its competitors. You can see the data here.