Energy-related cargo continues to fuel southeastern Texas trade, turning the Houston-Galveston area into the fastest-growing Customs district among the nation’s 10 most important trade regions.
The Houston-Galveston Customs District–the fifth-most-important in the country–posted international trade in excess of $136 billion in 2005, a jump of 30.1 percent from the year before. Only three other Customs districts, all much smaller, posted similar gains.
The Tampa Customs District in Florida saw 30.1 percent growth, to end 2005 with $29 billion in international trade, while the U.S. Virgin Islands saw a nearly 34 percent jump, to value $9.5 billion. The Providence, Rhode Island district, which saw less than $4.5 billion in trade, also posted a 34 percent improvement.
Both exports and imports saw gains in the Houston district, with exports up 18 percent and imports jumping by 37.3 percent.
The most dramatic gains were reported in the value of energy-related imports and exports. Some of that increase was a result of rising prices of oil products on world markets. Imports were led by crude oil, which rose 35 percent to value $44 billion. Other dramatic increases include an 83 percent jump–to $1.7 billion–in seamless iron tubes and pipes for drilling. Additionally, imports of iron, steel pipes and other drilling equipment rose 72 percent to $814 million.
Aside from oil-industry machinery, the southeastern Texas district imported $540 million in construction equipment to support its building boom and support post-hurricane reconstruction in the Gulf of Mexico. Those figures represent an improvement of 40 percent compared to 2004. Tractor imports were also up, by 41 percent, to total $450 million.
On the export side, among Houston’s main exports were non-crude petroleum products, worth $5.5 billion–an increase of 53 percent–with $16 million of that heading to China. Houston also sent $4 billion worth of machinery parts and doubled its telephony equipment exports to $668 million from $334 million in 2004, a 111 percent jump.
Neighboring Mexico, with $15 billion in trade, safely retained its position as the most-important trading partner for the Houston-Galveston Customs District in 2005. Energy-rich Venezuela and Nigeria rounded out the Top 3 trading partners list.
Venezuela came in second $12.5 billion in trade and Nigeria followed at $6.3 billion, but Nigeria’s place among the Big Three may not last long. No. 4 China is fast-approaching the African nation, with $5.9 billion in commerce with the Houston area last year.
*Top Exports, 2005*
*Top Imports, 2005*