AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Traffic Metrics: NW Seaport Alliance, Vancouver (BC)

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Seattle/Tacoma: 2017 NWSA Container Traffic up 5% through July

The Northwest Seaport Alliance INWSA) reports 2017 container flows through the Seattle/Tacoma gateway increased 5 percent through July despite a 2 percent drop in July.

International volumes were the highest since 2007. Year to date, full imports rose 6 percent, full exports flat, and the total, including empties, increased 9 percent compared to January-July 2016 to just over 1.7 million TEUs.

The latest monthly tally shows declines from July 2016 of 2 percent for imports, 13 percent for exports and a 39 percent jump in empty containers as ocean carriers reposition containers to Asia to meet peak-season demand.  The Alliance said recent changes in vessel deployments by the new ocean carrier alliances contributed to July’s trade drop.

The Alliance’s domestic container trade posted declines from last year of 7.5 percent for the month and 8.2 percent year-to-date, reflecting "soft market conditions" in Alaska and the "diversion to Southern California" of Hawaiian traffic.

Other cargo:
  • Logs: up 101 percent, year-to-date, to 186,582 metric tons, thanks to "consistent demand" from China
  • Breakbulk cargo: 108,321 tons, year to date, flat "due to soft market conditions"
  • Autos: 82,480 units, year to date, down 23 percent due to "weakening U.S. demand and shifting manufacturing locations"
View NWSA’s July 2017 cargo reports by clicking on container volumes and cargo statistics.

Vancouver (BC): Record Grain and Containers Boost Port’s Mid-Year Cargo Results

Cargo throughput at the Port of Vancouver totaled some 69 million metric tons during the first six months of 2017, reports the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.  That was up 4 percent from last year, mainly due to mid-year records in bulk grain and containers.

Containers alone accounted for just over 12.9 million tons of cargo, up 6.5 percent from last year’s 12.1 million tons. Also higher was the box count, up 9.5 percent to a record 1.6 million TEUs. The results, says the port authority, reflect "the strengthening economy as well as global demand for Canadian products shipped in containers and Canadian demand for consumer and manufacturing goods from Asia."

"Our record mid-year container results demonstrate the continued confidence of shippers in the Port of Vancouver and our ability to handle the growing demand for goods shipped in containers," said Robin Silvester, the port authority’s president and chief executive officer.

Strong overseas demand for Canadian grain products spurred jumps in export shipments of wheat, canola and specialty crops such as pulses and lentils. The first half total of 12.5 million tons beat last year’s by 12.9 percent and gave Vancouver its sixth mid-year bulk grain record.

Other data show coal exports up 7 percent, mainly due to a 43 percent jump in thermal coal shipments.  Metallurgical coal volumes fell 2.0 percent compared to first half 2016 but nevertheless exceeded 12 million tons for the fifth consecutive year.

In the auto sector, the mid-year count increased 3.1 percent to 218,000 units. Canadian sales by the port’s automaker customers are up 3.0 from last year. Total Canadian sales set a mid-year record in 2017.

For full details, click on 2017 mid-year cargo statistics.

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