Seattle’s Northwest Seaport Alliance trade volume is down significantly Y-o-Y

Total TEUs were already down from the trade war but COVID-19’s impact has accelerated declines in Q1

May 18, 2020
Quarterly NWSP total TEUs



  • The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) total TEU volume decreased a total of - 15.4% Y-o-Y in the first quarter. The trade war with China started slowing volumes at the end of 2019 and into 2020. Once COVID-19 hit Asia and then later the US, the shock to the supply chain has been unprecedented. Volumes were down -19.3% in March alone.

  • As China’s manufacturing has came back online, the NWSA is expecting volumes to return to normal levels and possibly see a surge of cargo in Q2 and Q3. This surge in goods will bring demand for warehouse and logistic space and will fuel the industrial sector. E-Commerce companies have already signed for or are at lease with over 2.7 million square feet in the Puget Sound thus far in 2020.

  • In 2019, China accounted for 55.5% of international imports to the NWSA and a total of 89.8% came from Asia-Pacific. We could see a shift in international imports as companies begin to near source manufacturing and become more dependent on the domestic supply chain. Distribution networks will also look for greater diversification in sourcing and become less reliant on a single country.  Companies may also look to increase inventory to be better prepared for a surge in demand during a future crisis.