Strong demand for agricultural products in Asia drove U.S. containerized exports up by 6.7% in the third quarter. Total U.S. containerized export volume is up 8.3% through the first nine months of 2011.
Westbound trans-Pacific volumes represented 56% of total U.S. containerized exports.
Westbound trans-Pacific volumes represented 56% of total U.S. containerized exports.

According to figures released by The Journal of Commerce/PIERS, Westbound trans-Pacific trade for the third quarter rose 10.4% year-over-year to 1,653,158 20-foot-equivalent units, pushed by a surge in exports to China. The top market for U.S. exports, China followed its second quarter increase of 6% with a 13% jump in the third quarter to 652,069 TEUs.

An increase in grain containerization and strong demand for wastepaper and scrap metal contributed to the third quarter total of 2,933,396 TEUs exported, which marked the eighth consecutive quarter of containerized exports growth.

"Grain importers in China are finding financing more readily available when their shipments are containerized, which is driving a shift in shipment methods for grains and soybeans," said Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS, noting a third quarter leap of 98% in containerized soybean volumes to 40,298 TEUs.

The results were in line with Moreno's forecast of 6.3% growth in exports in the quarter and a forecast of 10% growth in the trans-Pacific market, as outlined in The Journal of Commerce's recent Container Shipping Outlook.

The westbound trans-Pacific volumes represented 56% of total exports. Shipments to Taiwan, Korea and Australia rose 24, 12, and 19%, respectively, while exports to Italy dropped 23% to 31,275 TEUs.

A full analysis of the JOC/PIERS findings is available online at a href="">