The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has announced September was its busiest month for almost a year but warned the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains.
The gateway, a partnership between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, handled 308,682 TEU, the most since October 2019.
The figure represents a 11.1% decline year-on-year (YoY) and imports fell by 6.8% over the same period. Imports reached their highest volume since September 2019 as companies begin to restock depleted inventory and prepare for the holiday season, but still fell by 6.8%.
In a statement, the NWSA said: “The economic fallout from COVID-19 continues to disrupt supply chains across the country and around the world.
“The NWSA gateway saw 59 blank sailings through September, surpassing the total number of canceled sailings in 2019.”
Total overall TEU volumes for the year are down 16.8% YoY. The NWSA handled a total of 2,419,741 TEU year to date. Loaded imports declined 15%, while full exports decreased 13.9%.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the NWSA with a $10.7 million grant for the Terminal 5 uplands modernization project. This grant will support on-terminal rail infrastructure improvements and the expansion of refrigerated container plug capacity. The first phase of the T-5 project is expected to be completed in spring 2021.
Additionally, the new Lander Street Bridge opened in Seattle, improving freight mobility through our gateway and making our region more competitive in the global economy.
The NWSA also celebrated the launch of a new intermodal rail service from Minot, North Dakota. This service will bring new, additional cargo to the gateway and support our customers shipping U.S. agricultural exports.
For the domestic trade, total year-to-date volumes dropped 6.7%. Alaska volumes declined 7.9%, partially reflected by the cruise season cancellations. Hawaii volumes were down 0.6%.