Last year, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, like other ports across the U.S., saw a decrease in volumes. U.S. imports from Asia declined by nearly 13% from 2022, per data from PIERS a division of S&P Global and affiliated with the Journal of Commerce.

West Coast ports were particularly affected due to prolonged, 16-month coastwide contract negotiations between the ILWU and West Coast employers. This led to a diversion of some discretionary cargo to ports along the East and Gulf Coasts.

But terminal operators within Seattle and Tacoma are optimistic that a gateway revival is on the way.

New Weekly Services at the Ports

These two regions have launched two new weekly services, that they say has a good opportunity to bring a boost in volumes.

One of the new weekly services is by COSCO/OOCL with a port rotation of Ningbo, Shanghai, Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Lianyungang and then back to Ningbo. Carriers have stated that this new service will produce 50,000 additional TEUs of cargo annually at the SSA Marine’s Terminal 30 in Seattle.

The President of SSA Containers expects these extra volumes to be accommodated without difficult, per the JOC, since Seattle currently operates at around 50% capacity utilization.

As the Journal of Commerce reports, the other weekly service is from THE Alliance, bringing back their PN3 service that was paused last year. That service calls Vietnam, China, South Korea, Vancouver and Tacoma.

Looking Ahead

In a report from the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), a spokesperson stated discretionary import cargo that’s been using the gateway has increased 4% this year through April. There is potential that the NWSA will see more increases in discretionary cargo, due to the looming labor negotiations on the East and Gulf coasts – that if not resolved by the end of the contract, could result in a strike.

If you’re a shipper, let’s discuss ways to maximize these new weekly services and drive volumes to new heights. If the Pacific Northwest is a destination you have shipments going to or coming from, let’s chat.

Should you have any questions regarding this, please reach out to our team today.

Additionally, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.


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