The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has witnessed an increase in containerised full exports for the second consecutive month in January, growing by 3.8 per cent.
According to NWSA, this growth is a positive sign for the region’s exporters, who may benefit from additional capacity starting mid-March when the Ocean Alliance’s Pearl River Express Service begins calling at the Seattle Harbor’s Terminal 18.
The service will connect China with the US West Coast, featuring 15,000 TEU vessels. With Seattle as the last port of call, the focus of the service will be on exports, providing additional capacity for exporters in the region.
Despite the growth in full exports, total container volume in January decreased by 21.7 per cent to 213,095 TEU. This decrease was due to a 30 per cent decline in full imports, reflecting the ongoing challenges in the retail sector due to high inventories and weak consumer demand, NWSA said.
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In terms of domestic container volume, there was a slight decrease of 0.9 per cent compared to the previous year.
Alaska saw an increase in volumes of 9.7 per cent, while Hawaii volumes declined by 40.4 per cent. NWSA attributed the drop in Hawaii volumes to one less vessel call than the previous year.
For the full year 2022, volumes decreased by 9.4 per cent to 3,384,018 TEU at NWSA, with both full imports and exports seeing declines of 14.1 per cent and 19.7 per cent, respectively.
The port authority pinned the decline in imports on high inventory levels, while exports were heavily affected by a strong dollar, ongoing tariffs in key markets, and reduced vessel capacity due to voided sailings.