Miami leads Southeast in exports

A container ship is docked at PortMiami with the city’s skyline in the background. The Miami metro area saw an 11% increase in exports for 2012, making it the highest among the top metro areas in the Southeast. (Photo/File)
A container ship is docked at PortMiami with the city’s skyline in the background. The Miami metro area saw an 11% increase in exports for 2012, making it the highest among the top metro areas in the Southeast. (Photo/File)
Staff Report
Published July 17, 2013

MIAMI — The Miami metro area ranked as the Southeast’s largest exporter in 2012, recording an 11% increase in merchandise shipments that totaled $47.9 billion.

Overall, nine of the top 50 exporting metro areas are in the Southeast, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration annual rankings.

Houston ranked as the nation’s top shipper with total exports of $110 billion, a 5.6% increase over 2011, the Commerce Department said. It was the first time that Houston ranked No. 1, besting perennial export champ New York by $8 million.

The Miami metro area, which includes Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, ranked No. 6 overall in the national standings, the Commerce Department reported. The Miami area accounted for 69.2% of Florida’s merchandise exports in 2012.

Top trading partners of the area were Venezuela, $5.6 billion; Colombia, $2.8 billion; Brazil, $2.6 billion; and Mexico, $2.1 billion.

Computer and electronic products was the Miami area’s top export merchandise at $10.6 billion, followed by transportation equipment at $7.2 billion, machinery (except electrical) at $4.1 billion, and chemicals at $2.6 billion.

Other Southeast metro areas in the top 25 included No. 11 New Orleans and No. 17 Atlanta.

New Orleans shipped a total of $24.4 billion of merchandise in 2012, up $4 billion or 19.8% over 2011, the agency said.

China was the top destination of New Orleans shipments, accounting for $3.6 billion, nearly 15%, of exports from the Big Easy, followed by Netherlands, $2.1 billion; Singapore, $1.9 billion; and Gibraltar, $1.5 billion.

Petroleum and coal products accounted for $12.8 billion, 52.7%, of the shipments from New Orleans. Agricultural produce, which totaled $7.7 billion, was the second-leading export product.

Atlanta-area exports rose about 6% in 2012, totaling $18.2 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

“The Atlanta metropolitan area continues to reap the economic benefits that expanding exports can deliver,” said Francisco J. Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade. “Its 5.5% increase in exports last year proves that Atlanta companies are finding new markets for their products and services.”

Canada rated as the top destination of Atlanta-area exports, totaling $3.3 billion, 18%, of shipments. Mexico was No. 2 destination with $2 billion in shipments, an 11.1% share. Singapore ranked as No. 3 destination for Atlanta shipments at $1.1 billion, followed by China, $882 million; and Japan, $758 million.

Top sectors for Atlanta were transportation equipment at $4.3 billion, machinery (except electrical) at $2.7 billion, computer and electronic products at $2.2 billion, chemicals at $1.5 billion, and food products at $1.4 billion.

Other Southeast metro areas in the top 50

27 Greenville, S.C.
Exports climbed $548 million to a record $12.3 billion in 2012, 4.7% over 2011. Greenville accounted for 50.9% of South Carolina’s merchandise exports last year.

Top export categories included plastics and rubber products, machinery, computer and electronic products, chemicals and transportation equipment. China, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany were the top destinations.

28 – Memphis, Tenn.
Merchandise shipments slipped $600 million, 5%, to $11.4 billion from 2011. Mexico accounted for $1.9 billion in shipments followed by Canada at $1.7 billion, and China at $1.2 billion.

Miscellaneous manufactured commodities, including goods such as sporting and athletic equipment, children’s vehicles, and jewelry, was the top export sector, totaling $2.5 billion. Computer and electronic products ranked second at $2.4 billion.

40 – Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
The area recorded $7.2 billion in shipments, with Mexico being the top destination, receiving $2.5 billion worth of goods, 35% of the market. Computers and electronics was the top export sector at $2.6 billion, followed by chemicals at $1.9 billion.

41 – Nashville, Tenn.
Exports totaled $6.4 billion, up $523 million, 8.9%, over $5.9 billion reported in 2011. Canada, which bought $2.7 billion in goods from the Nashville market, was the top customer, followed by Mexico, which received $1 billion in merchandise. Transportation equipment was the top sector, totaling $1.9 billion.

42 – Charlotte, N.C.
The area including Gastonia, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C., increased its output by $69 million, 1.1%, to $6.3 billion. Canada was the area’s top trading partner, buying $1.1 billion worth of goods, followed by Mexico at $886 million, and China at $497 million. Machinery (except electrical) was the area’s top export at $1.2 billion, followed by chemicals at $855 million, transportation equipment at $719 million, and paper at $573 million.

45 – Baton Rouge, La.
Exports in 2012 rose 19.6% to $5.8 billion. Canada was the top destination for shipments, buying $649 million in goods, followed by Mexico at $576 million and Brazil at $541 million. Shipments of chemicals, which totaled $3.9 billion, accounted for two-thirds of the area’s exports in 2012.

Overall, 31 of the top 50 metropolitan area exporters recorded increases in shipments between 2011 and 2012, and 29 of these areas set record highs, the Commerce Department said.

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