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May 12, 2014

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34 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE MAY 12.2014 TOP 25 NORTH AMERICAN PORTS SPECIAL REPORT For bonus content, including the Top 25 North American ports ranked by total containerized trade, see top-25-north-american-ports. WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. In 2012, Lazaro Cardenas, Mex- ico, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, dominated other JOC Top 25 North American container ports, with double-digit growth in exports, imports and total trade. Lazaro Cardenas registered the fastest year-over-year growth in exports, at 28.1 percent, and Prince Rupert led the way in growth of imports and total trade at 36.4 percent and 32.7 percent, respectively. Only two U.S. ports, Tacoma and Virginia, had grown at a double-digit clip in total containerized trade in 2012. The story was much different in 2013. Here's how: Q: What were the fastest-growing North American ports last year? Five U.S. ports led the way in total trade growth: Tacoma, Long Beach, Virginia, the Delaware River ports and the North Carolina ports. Although no Mexican or Canadian ports achieved double-digit growth in total 2013 container trade among the Top 25, Prince Rupert's 6-year-old container port spiked 21.7 percent year-over- year on the export leg. That performance was just below Tacoma, the fastest-growing port on the list for exports (24.3 percent), imports (16.4 percent) and total trade (19.6 percent). That port got a major boost when the Grand Alliance of Hapag-Lloyd, NYK Line and OOCL shifted their services from Seattle in mid-2012. Q: How big is the North American container trade, and how do the countries and the biggest ports stack up? U.S. ports handled 79 percent of the laden North American con- tainer trade, with Los Angeles-Long Beach — the continent's largest port complex, by far — accounting for 32.8 percent of North Ameri- can imports, 19.7 percent of exports and 27.3 percent of total trade. Overall North American trade totaled 39 million laden 20-foot- equivalent units in 2013, led by U.S. ports with 30.8 million TEUs. Canadian ports handled 4.6 million TEUs, representing 11.8 percent of the market, and Mexican ports, with 3.6 million TEUs, accounted for 9.2 percent. Q: Mexican ports led 2012 with 11.9 percent year-over-year growth in total trade. How does that compare with 2013? Growth in total containerized trade at Mexico's container ports was essentially fl at year-over-year, slipping 0.3 percent. Growth south of the border underperformed the 2.7 percent growth at all North American ports, including a 4.3 percent gain at Canadian ports and 2.8 percent increase in the U.S. Q: How big is the North American export trade? U.S. ports handled the lion's share of North American exports in 2013. Of the total 16.5 million TEUs moving overseas, U.S. ports handled 12.8 million, or 77.4 percent. Exports through Canadian ports totaled 2.1 million TEUs, for a 12.9 percent share, and Mexican ports moved 1.6 million TEUs in exports, for a 9.7 percent share. Q: How does that compare with the North American import trade? U.S. ports also led the growth in containerized imports, with a 3.1 percent year-over-year increase, outperforming overall North American import growth of 2.6 percent. Imports grew 2.3 percent through Canadian ports and declined 1.1 percent through ports in Mexico. Overall North American imports in 2013 totaled 22.5 million laden TEUs, led by U.S. ports at 18.1 million TEUs, or an 80.2 percent share. Canadian ports handled 2.5 million TEUs of North American imports, good for an 11.1 percent share, while Mexican ports held an 8.7 percent share, with nearly 2 million TEUs. Q: How much do imports account for total North American trade volume? The trade isn't very balanced. Imports drove North American trade in 2013, accounting for 57.7 percent of overall volume, 58.6 percent of U.S. port volume, 55.1 percent of Mexican port volume and 54 percent of Canadian volume. JOC Contact Marsha Salisbury at and follow her on Twitter: @marshsalisbury. U.S. TEU count includes all international containerized oceanborne cargo loading at U.S. ports, and includes U.S. outbound trade with Puerto Rico. Compiled by Marsha Salisbury, JOC research editor,, 973-776-7828. Sources: Mexico: Ministry of Communications and Transportation,; Canada: Ports and websites, JOC-PIERS monthly U.S. Port Rankings report for calendar 2013;, the data division of JOC Group Inc. FASTEST GROWING CONTAINER PORTS IN 2013 ■ Among the JOC Top 25 North American container ports, these ports posted the fastest year-over-year percentage rate of growth in volume in 2013. PALM BEACH LONG BEACH DELAWARE RIVER PORTS PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. TACOMA VIRGINIA PORTS JACKSONVILLE LONG BEACH PORT EVERGLADES TACOMA NORTH CAROLINA PORTS DELAWARE RIVER PORTS VIRGINIA PORTS LONG BEACH TACOMA 24.3% 21.7% 16.9% 16.0% 14.3% 16.4% 14.9% 12.8% 10.5% 10.3% 19.6% 13.8% 11.5% 10.0% 8.5% NORTH AMERICAN EXPORTS NORTH AMERICAN IMPORTS NORTH AMERICAN TOTAL TRADE By Marsha Salisbury US PORTS TAKE THE LEAD Tacoma tops the list of Top 25 North American Ports growth, with double-digit increases in imports, exports and total trade

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