The value of Port Everglades’ trade with the world has grown 10 of the last 12 years, setting records nine of those years.
One of the exceptions was in 2009, when the global financial crisis did a number on not only export-import trade around the country and world but to many of the world’s overall economies. The other exception was last year, when Port Everglades’ trade with the world fell to $25.22 billion, a 7.14 percent drop from the 2014 record and 0.95 percent below the 2013 total.
Port Everglades was far from alone. Many ports around the country saw their trade decline in 2015. Overall U.S. trade also fell, marking the first time in two decades that U.S. trade fell without a significant shock to the system, such as the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist strike or the 2009 global financial crisis.
The “why” for Port Everglades can be summed up easily: Venezuela, which is tied to plummeting prices for refined petroleum imports; and Costa Rica, which is all about shipments of medical devices that had been entering at Port Everglades entering instead at PortMiami, according to WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Overall, Port Everglades’ trade with the world tumbled $1.94 billion from the 2014 total. Trade with No. 3 Venezuela fell $888.54 million, a 33.96 percent decline, while trade with Costa Rica fell a more sizeable $943.52 million, a 67.83 percent one-year decline. The loss from just those two countries was more than $1.83 billion.
This year notwithstanding, it has been a pretty good run at Broward Country’s seaport. In 2003, Port Everglades trade with the world first topped $10 billion. By 2014, it had reached $27.15 billion, a near tripling in little more than a decade.
Many ports around the country saw their trade decline in 2015. Overall U.S. trade also fell, marking the first time in two decades that U.S. trade fell without a significant shock to the system.
Back then, it had three trade partners in its “Billion Dollar Club,” those where total exports and imports topped $1 billion: No. 1-ranked Honduras, No. 2-ranked Costa Rica and No. 3 the Dominican Republic. By 2015, it had a record-tying eight, the same as in 2014, though Costa Rica fell below $1 billion for the first time in well over a decade and Colombia re-joined the Billion Dollar Club.
Those eight are new No. 1 Dominican Republic followed by the No. 1 trade partner a decade ago, Honduras; the No. 1 trade partner last year, Venezuela; No. 4 Brazil; No. 5 Chile; No. 6 Colombia; No. Peru and No. 8, Guatemala. Although Port Everglades traded with 190 nations in 2015, those eight accounted for 51.09 percent of its trade in 2015.
Those eight accounted for more than 56 percent of all exports in 2015, which fell less than overall trade, down 2.87 percent but also down from the 2013 total as well. Overall imports dropped more, 11.45 percent, but are down narrowly from 2013, 0.59 percent.
The port’s trade surplus increased, though the $1.26 billion total is the second smallest — after the $104.79 million total in 2014 — since the it began registering surpluses in 2008. The record year was $3.65 billion in 2012, or more than three times the 2015 total.
It’s never all bad news, of course, and the Dominican Republic is the best news: Its trade with the port increased $665.52 million, a 36.09 percent jump that propelled it to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in at least 12 years and making it the nation’s leading gateway for trade with the island, surpassing PortMiami.
It was on the import side, where the decline was more pronounced, though that was largely due to a $1.16 billion decrease in the value of refined petroleum products entering the port.
The overall export picture was fairly solid as well, the 2.87 percent decrease amounting to only $390.53 million. No export category among the more than 1,150 categories fell more than $100 million. The largest decline was in the value of No. 2-ranked computers, which fell $91.06 million. In the “win column,” nothing topped $40 million. No. 6 cell phone exports topped the list at a gain of $38.88 million.
The top export, as it has been since 2009, when it supplanted current No. 3 cotton, was printers. The total was just below $527.50 million, down 7.37 percent. Rounding out the top 10 are No. 4 motor vehicles, No. 5 motor vehicle parts, No. 7 medical instruments, No. 8 yachts and No. 10 pumps for dispensing liquids.
The top 24 export categories all topped $100 million, including first-timer furniture. Dropping below $100 million were four categories: engine parts, uncoated paper for writing, civilian aircraft and parts, and computer chips.
It was on the import side, where the decline was more pronounced, though that was largely due to a $1.16 billion decrease in the value of refined petroleum products entering the port. The $2.27 billion total for the No. 1 imports, 33.88 percent lower than one year previously, was the second lowest total in more than a decade. How bad are things in Venezuela? In 2015, Port Everglades imported more refined petroleum from South Korea than from neighbor and OPEC nation Venezuela.
The other big decline among Port Everglades imports was with medical instruments, as previously mentioned. The decline was a 38.68 percent, $301.81 million decline to $478.53 million.
Rounding out the top 10 on the import side are No. 2 T-shirts, which increased slightly in value, up 0.65 percent; followed by No. 3 sweaters, which fell 10.26 percent; No. 4 yachts, which more than doubled in value, up 129.10 percent and $399.42 million; No. 6 returned exports; No. 7 marble, granite and ceramic tile, which jumped nine positions on 42.26 percent growth; No. 8 cigars, up more than 100 percent from two years prior; No. 9 men’s or boys’ suits or slacks; and No. 10 socks and pantyhose.
The top 20 imports were valued in excess of $100 million in 2015, the same total as in 2014 and four less than on the export side. New to the list in 2015 were electrical supplies and melons. Dropping from the list were furniture and bars made of iron or steel.
Recent columns for Business Monday have included:
Venezuela slipped from No. 1 to No. 3 in 2015 in Port Everglades trade
Source: WorldCity analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data