zoomIllustration. Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license The Northwest Seaport Alliance handled 12 percent more container volumes in the first quarter of 2019, compared with the same period of the previous year.Namely, the number reached a record-breaking 775,522 TEUs for total international container volumes in the three-month period.Total volumes from January through March equaled 932,288 TEUs and are up 11.1 percent, the second-highest first-quarter performance ever.Total container volumes for March reached 336,828 TEUs, a 11.3 percent increase from last year, with import and export volumes growing 16.7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.Following the end of the quarter, NWSA’s Managing Members voted to approve lease agreements and authorize construction on Terminal 5 in Seattle at their April meeting. Once completed, the 185-acre terminal will be able to handle the ultra-large container vessels increasingly calling at West Coast ports. The deal, including future phase 2 commitment, represents approximately a half-billion dollars of private and public investment in the region’s economy.The NWSA also received four additional super-post-Panamax container cranes in March, capping a USD 266 million project that will allow two 18,000-TEU vessels to dock simultaneously at Husky Terminal in Tacoma.Total domestic volumes for March increased 6.4 percent to 60,444 TEUs compared to March 2018, marking the third consecutive month of domestic cargo growth. Alaska’s year-to-date volumes were up 6.2 percent following an unusually robust January. Hawaii volumes through the Pacific Northwest were up 8.3 percent year to date 2019.Breakbulk cargo volume was up 30.1 percent year to date to 71,232 metric tons. NWSA auto volume year to date was 40,766 units, up 29.1 percent. The new Taylor Way auto terminal, which opened in late 2018, has brought in additional volumes. The NWSA is also receiving autos diverted from other West Coast ports of entry due to congestion.