Friday, June 21, 2024

Laredo, Texas, again top US gateway for international trade

The port of entry in Laredo, Texas, regained the No. 1 spot among the nation’s 450 international gateways for trade in February.

It’s the first time since February 2020 that Laredo was the No. 1 overall trade port in the U.S.

Laredo recorded $24.6 billion in two-way trade, with Mexico commerce accounting for $23.9 billion, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport ranked No. 2 and reported $22.8 billion in trade, while the Port of Los Angeles was No. 3 with $17.2 billion.

Laredo’s exports to Mexico increased 12% year over year (y/y) to $9.7 billion, and imports from the country increased 15% y/y to $15 billion.

Mexico also ranked as the United States’ top trading partner for the third consecutive month in February, with total trade increasing 8% y/y to $60.6 billion, compared to the same period in 2022.

Canada ranked No. 2, as its total trade with the U.S. increased 5% y/y to $59 billion in February. China ranked third with trade falling 22% y/y to $51.3 billion.

Gerardo Alanis Barrios, CEO of Laredo-based Cold Chain Solutions, said “business is good” in the South Texas border city.

Cold Chain Solutions is a refrigerated carrier and cross-dock operation servicing the consumer packaged goods, refrigerated and frozen food industries in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. 

Alanis Barrios said the produce season was strong this year, but he expects imports and exports of fresh and frozen vegetables to slow until fall.

“This season was one for the books,” Alanis Barrios said. “Laredo saw a handful of cold storage plants take root in the city last year; as the produce season comes to a halt until late September, we are anticipating volumes to cool down a bit.”

Ermilo Richer III, executive director of Laredo-based customs broker Richer, said freight volumes were slower the first three months of 2023 but started to “pick up last week.”

Richer offers customs brokerage, transportation, logistics and warehousing solutions on both sides of the border.

“The last 18 months were very fast, with high volumes, so we’re good with this slowdown, as long as it picks up again,” Richer said.

Watch: FreightWaves looks at contract and spot rates for April 7.

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