Container traffic through the Northwest Seaport Alliance is off to a strong start in 2017.
The alliance manages the marine container traffic for the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. Container cargo grew by 17 percent in January compared with the same time a year ago, according to a news release from the alliance.
More than 301,000 containers passed into and out of the two ports in January. Of those, 128,892 of the 20-foot equivalent containers, called TEUs, were full container imports — a nearly 19 percent increase compared with the previous year. Full exports were up too — by 17 percent to 76,339 TEUs.
Ships arriving from China are also riding fuller, the news release says, because factories in China ramped up production prior to the Jan. 28 Lunar New Year holiday. Fewer container vessels from China could unload here because of an up to two-week production hiatus for the holiday. Imports from China can represent around 60 percent of total container traffic into alliance ports.
The strong January numbers follow the best container traffic year for the two combined ports in nearly a decade.
In noncontainerized cargo, breakbulk shipments were up by 8.4 percent to 14,502 metric tons due to several military shipments through the Port of Tacoma.
Vehicle shipments were up by 4.3 percent to 12,613 units due to the release of a new model as well as a resolution to labor issues in South Korea.