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US West Coast Ports Increase Market Share in 2016

Feb 24, 2017

U.S. West Coast ports increased their market share in 2016 indicating losses to East Coast and Gulf ports are being reversed.

According to the PMSA’s (Pacific Merchant Shipping Association) West Coast Trade Report the year 2016 saw:

  • “U.S. West Coast (USWC) ports increase their collective share of containerized trade through seaports on the U.S. mainland. Outbound or inbound, value or weight, the Pacific ports gained market share last year.”
  • The PMSA report said the USWC containerized import market share by value rose “from 47.4% in 2015 to 49.2% in 2016.”
  • The USWC share by weight in 2016 “jumped from 39.4 % in 2015 to 40.2% in 2016.”
  • On the export side, the USWC share “rose from 31.7% in 2015 to 34.5% in 2016. Also increasing was the USWC share of the declared weight of containerized exports from mainland ports, from 35.4% in 2015 to 39.6% in 2016.”
  • The pace continued in December 2016, “December saw no slackening in import container traffic along the U.S. West Coast. To be sure, the number of inbound loaded TEUs at the Port of Long Beach did fall by 8.2% in December from the same month a year earlier, but that was more than balanced by the hefty 22.7% year over-year increase at the Port of Los Angeles. That left the nation’s largest maritime complex with a combined 7.8% year-over-year gain for the month.”

PMSA Oakland & Pacific Northwest Ports

The PMSA report noted that the Ports of Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma performed well in December 2016. Oakland experienced a “6.1% bounce in inbound loaded TEUs in December and the Northwest Seaport Alliance Ports of Seattle and Tacoma with a 13.5% surge.”

On the outbound side of the ledger, December saw significant gains in loaded exports at the big California container ports:

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach “combining for an 11.8% increase year-over-year.”

The Port of Oakland “topped that with a 13.5% gain in loaded outbound traffic.”

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (Seattle/Tacoma) “saw a more modest 5.8% uptick from December 2015.”

On an annual basis for 2016:

  • Despite “the setback dealt the Port of Long Beach by the Hanjin bankruptcy at the end of August, the San Pedro Bay ports came within a half percentage point of eclipsing their peak year (2006) in terms of total full and empty TEUs handled.” The 2016 total (15,631,954 TEUs) represented a 1.8% increase over 2015.
  • The Port of Oakland had one of its busiest years ever, handling 2,369,641 TEUs: “That was remarkable in itself since, a year ago, the port’s second-largest terminal operator declared bankruptcy and abruptly ceased operation. “

Meanwhile, total TEUs handled at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma “saw a 2.4% increase from 2015.”

Author Photo
Stas Margaronis
American Journal of Transportation
WEST COAST CORRESPONDENT

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