Port Traffic Metrics: NW Seaports, Philadelphia
The Northwest Seaports Alliance reports container throughput at its Seattle and Tacoma marine terminals increased 6.3 percent in August and 5.4 percent year-to-date from the respective 2016 levels.
In detail, the August data show year-on-year increases for full laden import containers (+0.9 percent), domestic shipments (+5.5 percent) and empty containers (+49.6 percent) and a 7.6 percent drop in full exports.
Year to date, full imports rose 4.9 percent to the fourth-highest total on record. Full exports fell 1.4 percent and total international container volume, including empties, increased 8.8 percent year to 1,963,419 TEUs, the highest YTD volume through August since 2007.
With respects to the Alliance’s domestic container trade, Alaska’s year-to-date volumes were down 7 percent and are expected to end the year 8 percent lower than 2016 due to soft market conditions. Hawaii volumes through the Pacific Northwest are down 2 percent year-to-date due to diversion to Southern California.
- Log exports: 186,582 metric tons through August, up 101 percent from last year due to strong demand from China.
- Breakbulk cargo: down 3 percent to 125,030 tons, year to date, due to soft market conditions.
- Autos: 96,962 units, year to date, down 19 percent from last year, due to weakening U.S. demand and shifting manufacturing locations.
PhilaPort handled 667,069 metric tons of cargo in August, its highest ever monthly total. The previous high, 625,935, was set in May 2017.
August was a record month, as well, for the port’s container and forest product trades, with throughput totaling 54,185 TEUs and 109,604 tons, respectively. The previous record for containers was 50,152 TEUs in January 2017.
PhilaPort facilities handling forest product include the Philadelphia Forest Products Center (Penn Warehousing & Distribution), Tioga Marine Terminal (Delaware River Stevedores), and Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (Greenwich Terminals). Leading categories are paper, pulp, and lumber. The former record for forest products, 108,980 tons, was set in September 2016.
PhilaPort CEO Jeff Theobald credited the port’s productive labor force, the marine terminal operators, and an improved perception of the port for the increased tonnage: "As we continue to upgrade our infrastructure and improve our systems, the word is getting out," he said. "That’s why shippers are choosing PhilaPort as their preferred port."