Seattle’s NWSA has been losing market share to Canada’s West Coast ports

Shippers to the Midwest have found it cheaper to move goods through Canada’s ports and railways

July 21, 2020
Total TEU's
  • The two West Coast Canadian ports have grown their market share over Northwest Seaport Alliance from 48 percent in 2013 to 55 percent in 2019. The gap has been widening in large part due to the United States trade war with China, as NWSA saw a decrease in volume from 2018 to 2019 when the trade war began. Prince Rupert is one of the fastest growing ports in North American and has grown their TEU volume 167 percent from 2013 to 2019.

  • A 2018 Northwest Seaport Alliance analysis comparing Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Vancouver and Prince Rupert showed that shipping through the Canadian ports to Chicago is cheaper than the US ports in both terminal charges and intermodal rail costs, with a combined cost differential of almost $400 per container. The lower intermodal rates charged by the two major Canadian railways to the Chicago hub and no US harbor maintenance fee on imports gives a clear advantage to the Canadian ports.

  • The Port of Prince Rupert is the deepest natural harbor in North America and the closest container facility to Asia. The Canadian National Railway is Canada’s largest railway and links Prince Rupert through the Midwest to New Orleans. Prince Rupert’s ideal coastal location, lower terminal charges, cheaper intermodal rail costs and proximately to Chicago make it the ideal gateway for imports to the Midwest.