Pacific Northwest Ports'
by Bill Mongelluzzo
Seattle, Tacoma saw strongest export traffic so far this year in October
Containerized imports generally lagged but exports continued to grow in October at the ports of Oakland, Portland, Tacoma and Seattle.
Seattle and Tacoma recorded their best monthly export totals of the year. Exports in Seattle were up 12 percent in October over September and exports were up 4 percent over October 2010.
Portland experienced the strongest growth in exports among the northern ports on the West Coast. Exports increased 46 percent compared to September and exports were up 52 percent over October 2010.
Exports in Tacoma increased 7 percent in October compared to October 2010, but were down 17 percent compared to September 2011. Exports in Seattle were up 8 percent over September and were 0.6 percent higher than in October 2010,
Year-to-date exports at all of the northern West Coast ports are higher this year than they were in the first 10 months of 2010, reflecting the continued strong growth of U.S. exports. The trend toward growing U.S. exports should accelerate in the coming months and peak in March, which is usually the strongest export month of the year on the West Coast. West Coast ports are among the leaders in exports of agricultural products to Asia.
October traditionally was the busiest month of the year for containerized imports on the West Coast, but the disappointing U.S. economy has hurt imports this year.
Imports in Oakland were down 3.1 percent compared to October 2010. Imports in Tacoma increased 1 percent over October 2010 and in Seattle imports were down 17.6 percent from October 2010. Portland outperformed the other ports, recording its highest monthly import total of the year. Imports in Portland were up 28 percent over September and 27 percent from October 2010.
Weak U.S. imports in October dragged down the total cargo volumes reported by West Coast ports. The total inbound, outbound and empty container total in Oakland was down 4.9 percent compared to October 2010. Seattle's total was down 9.8 percent in October, while Tacoma was up 3.3 percent and Portland was up 39 percent.
Los Angeles and Long Beach, which reported their October numbers last week, had much the same story. The Southern California port complex reported a 7 percent drop in imports and 4 percent increase in exports compared to October 2010.
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