Port Laredo and the Port of El Paso reported declines in total trade volumes for the first six months of 2019, compared to the same period last year.
Laredo’s trade with the world fell slightly – 0.39 percent – from $116.6 billion to $116.15 billion through the first six months of 2019, according to WorldCity analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.
Exports of cell phones and related equipment posted the largest decline at 17.78 percent compared to last year to $835.4 million at Port Laredo. Exports of motor vehicle parts also fell 0.65 percent compared to last year to $5.79 billion at Port Laredo.
On the import side, computers fell 16.28 percent compared to last year to $2.7 billion. Through the first six months of 2019, total exports fell 3.56 percent to $48.02 billion. Imports rose 4.02 percent to $66.23 billion.
Troy Ryley, president of Redwood Mexico at Redwood Logistics, said the declines at Port Laredo are slight, and it’s “hard to project” what the causes might be.
“China trade is a much bigger risk for companies than Mexico,” said Ryley, who previously led Mexico logistics operations for Transplace Mexico, Expeditors International and Maersk Logistics.
“I would say companies take time to react to these risks so I would project the issues are due to normal trade cycles,” Ryley said. “The focus should be on quarter-to-quarter growth or year-over-year growth trends.”
Laredo’s trade totaled $19.44 billion for the month of June, with 97 percent of trade coming through Laredo’s bridges along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Port Laredo’s trade is heavily reliant on the automotive industry, with motor vehicle parts and engines topping exports at more than $8 billion in June.
Motor vehicle parts and cars manufactured south of the border topped the list of imports coming north from Mexico at $15.7 billion.
Port Laredo ranked second for total trade among the nation’s roughly 450 airports, seaports and border crossings through June 2019, according to WorldCity. The Port of Los Angeles ranked first for total trade.
In West Texas, the Port of El Paso’s trade with the world fell 4.13 percent, from $41.13 billion to $39.43 billion through the first six months of 2019 when compared to the same period the previous year.
El Paso’s exports have gone from $16.5 billion to $15.8 billion over the last 12 months, a decrease of 4 percent, while imports have decreased from $24.7 billion to $23.6 billion, or 4.3 percent.
Exports of gasoline and other fuels fell 23.26 percent to $817.81 million at the Port of El Paso. Exports of computer chips fell 14.92 percent to $965.17 million during June. The biggest drop in imports was computers, falling 12.43 percent to $3.63 billion.
Most of the manufacturing in the El Paso area is done in maquiladoras, or factories directly across the border, in Ciudad Juárez, which are run by companies from the United States and other countries.
In the past several months, Ciudad Juarez and El Paso have faced several crises that have affected wait times for commercial trucks.
In April, the port of entry between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso faced a shortage of Customs and Border Protection agents due to the migrant crisis.
El Paso has also had to deal with the fallout from President Trump’s 5 percent tariff threats against Mexico, which created a scramble by shippers to get their goods across the border before the June 10 deadline.
In June and July, goods passing through Ciudad Juarez by commercial trucks also had to contend with a military checkpoint by Mexico’s National Guard. The checkpoint sometimes created wait times of up to six hours, according to Mexican officials.