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Textile Ports Survey Revisited

Textile World partners with PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions to look at textile imports and exports traveling through US ports.

James M. Borneman, Editor In Chief

T he recession, changing U.S. textile capacity and increasingly frugal consumers all have played a role in the ebb and flow of textiles through U.S. ports. In 2007, Textile World published a report that tried to answer two questions: What U.S. water ports are the big players in textile trade? And do they differ from sector to sector? (See "Textile Ports Survey," TW, March/April 2007) .

Revisiting and updating this study after the economic events of the last two years is an interesting exercise and once again allows TW to collaborate with PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions, Newark, N.J., a division of UBM Global Trade. PIERS — the Port Import Export Reporting Service — analyzes more than 40,000 bills of lading everyday, tracking goods as they move around the world. TW , with PIERS' assistance, tapped into that data, isolating and categorizing commodity codes relating to textiles that have been applied to each shipment made in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The aggregate numbers are significant. The study's best estimate is that 2.35 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) — a standard quantity measure in international shipping -— of textile-related exports and imports having an estimated value of $175.7 billion moved through U.S. water ports in 2009 — down from the estimated 2.54 million TEUs worth $182.3 billion shipped and received in 2006.

As in the 2007 report, PIERS data have been organized through the commodity code structure into six categories: apparel; fabric; home furnishings; fibers and yarn; textile machinery and parts; and floor covering. For full details of the commodity code selection for the six categories, see the additional, downloadable tables posted below.

Exports And Imports
During 2009, total textile exports and imports combined were down by more than $10 billion and some 436,000 TEUs from 2007. In 2006, the fabric and fibers and yarn categories were bright spots in which domestic exports exceeded imports. However, the 2009 data illustrate a twist — U.S. exports led in these categories by volume, but by dollar value, imports led in every category studied.

The accompanying tables show large amounts of traffic continue to pass through Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York. Charleston, Savannah and Southeastern ports continue to be vital to U.S. textile trade.


Editor’s Note: Ports survey data were supplied by PIERS Global Intelligence Solutions. For more information, visit www.piers.com, or contact Susan Kelemen, segment marketing manager 973-848-7175; skelemen@piers.com.


May/June 2010

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Related Files:
Click here to download accompanying data tables