Total traffic for all imports entering all U.S. ports finished 2011 up 2%, compared to 2010, according to U.S. import market data compiled by Zepol Corp. Shipments increased from 9.38 million in 2010 to 9.56 million in 2011.
Over the course of 2011, the biggest gains percentage-wise were in autos and parts imports, which were up 12% for the year. Steel imports also saw a double-digit gain, being up 10% over 2010. The third-best performer, in terms of percentage gain, were food and beverage imports, which were up 5% over the previous year.
In terms of total shipments, plastics and rubbers led the way, with 1.2 million shipments in 2011, representing a very modest increase of 0.6% over 2010. Meanwhile, textile imports slipped from the top spot in 2010 to the second-most number of total shipments in 2011, at 1.1 million. That represented a decline of -4.7% from 2010.
After textiles, which had the biggest percentage drop in 2011, other import sectors that declined in 2011 included mineral and stone imports (down 4%), and furniture imports (down 3.4%).
On a regional basis, activity at Gulf Coast ports saw the biggest percentage gain in 2011, being up 8% over 2010. East Coast ports were also up for the year, at 5%. West Coast ports, on the other hand, were down slightly at -0.6%, while those ports identified by Zepol as “other U.S. ports” were off -3% for the year.
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