The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has reported a 24.3 per cent decrease in total container volumes for February, down to 225,747 TEU.
The decline was driven by a 34 per cent drop in full imports, attributed to weak demand and uncertainty surrounding the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) contract negotiations.
Full exports only declined by 0.3 per cent and are positive by 1.5 per cent year-to-date (YTD).
Overall, NWSA’s total TEU declined by 23.1 per cent YTD to 438,842 TEU, with full imports seeing a decline of 32.1 per cent.
The NWSA also reported a 3.9 per cent decrease in domestic container volume YTD 2023 compared to YTD 2022.
Alaska volumes saw a modest 0.7 per cent decrease, while Hawaii volumes declined by 16 per cent.
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Despite the downturn, the NWSA said it is taking steps to ensure that the terminal infrastructure and capacity are ready for when market conditions improve.
The Terminal 5 Modernization Program is currently underway, and the second phase of the project is progressing well, according to a recent statement. Pile repairs are complete, and the first stage of concrete pours is 60 per cent complete.
Operations at the south berth are expected to begin in Q1 2024. Once completed, Terminal 5 will span 185 acres and feature on-dock rail and an estimated 1.2 million TEU of container-handling capacity.
Last month, NWSA witnessed an increase in containerised full exports for the second consecutive month, growing by 3.8 per cent.