Ports of Seattle and Tacoma see import volumes spike as users contend with the Puget Sound region’s tight warehouse market

December 04, 2018
  • Import volumes at the Northwest Seaport Alliance (Ports of Seattle and Tacoma) were up significantly in Q3, exhibiting a 15.1 percent increase year-over-year after a notable slowing of growth since early 2017. The spike in import volumes comes as year-over-year growth slows across major west coast ports* as a whole. 
  • In November the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 18, operated by SSA Marine, passed 1 million TEUs in yearly container volume, setting a record for annual single-terminal volume in Washington State.
    In recent months, retailers have been pushing to bring merchandise into the country amid uncertainty triggered by tariff increases on goods coming from China (currently postponed until March 1st, 2019). While December is typically a slower month for imports with much of the holiday inventory already in place on the shelves, imports are expected to remain strong as we close out 2018. 
  • As companies manage strong holiday season retail demand and increased inventorying ahead of tariffs, many warehouse users are already at capacity in their space. The Puget Sound region’s core warehouse markets have been hitting historically low vacancy and high rates and space planning remains difficult for users of all sizes as they outgrow space in an expensive and space-constrained market.

Source: JLL Research, Northwest Seaport Alliance, National Retail Federation

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