The Port of New York/New Jersey performed exceptionally well in 1994 -- gaining in almost every measure of cargo activity. Last year the port moved almost $140 billion in air and oceanborne cargo.

In 1994, the United States exported $503 billion and imported $804 billion in goods worldwide (balance of payments basis). Thus, a whopping 11.3% of all U.S. exports and 10.3% of all U.S. imports, by value, were handled by the New York/New Jersey port district. This is a tremendous share when compared to other U.S. ports.

Air Export Volume Brisk in 1994 — Reaching 448,355 Metric Tons Worth $39.6 Billion

In terms of volume, air cargo exports carved out a 22.7% market share compared with other U.S. ports -- that's 65% higher than the next leading port. In terms of value, air cargo exports controlled 26.3% of the market -- 53% higher than the next busiest port -- and up 8.9% from 1993.

As expected, northern Europe was the top export destination in 1994, accounting for almost half of the value and almost 40% of the volume of the port's air cargo. The United Kingdom, Germany and France were the major partners in this region (see Via International May/June issue).

Exports to the Far East, the second major market, rose 13.1% by volume and 12.4% by value since last year. The region accounted for approximately one-fifth of air cargo exports by both measures. The economic recovery in Japan and strong growth in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan fueled imports.

Southeast Asia generated the second highest increase in regional air exports by volume, taking in an additional 5,648 metric tons over last year. Singapore and Malaysia accounted for more than two-thirds of the growth.

In 1994, the Mediterranean ranked as the third leading export destination by volume, receiving almost 37,000 metric tons. Italy ranked first, accounting for nearly half of the exports to the region; Spain ranked second.

From 1993 to 1994, the value of exports to South America rose almost 22%, nearly 52% greater than the increase in exports to Southeast Asia, which ranked second. Brazil, Argentina and Colombia were the leaders in the region.

The New York/New Jersey port imports in 1994 performed very well. It maintained 28.3% market share by volume and 26% by value. Both categories showed improvement over last year with imports increasing 11.3% by volume and 6.9% by value.

Maritime Export Volume Reached 6.8 Million Long Tons in 1994, Exceeding $17.4 Billion

The volume of both general and bulk cargo exports and imports registered positive gains in 1994. From 1993 to 1994 the Port of New York/New Jersey handled a total of 46.5 long tons of oceanborne cargo, up 14.4% from the previous year. And the value of goods increased 11.7% to $62.9 billion.

Northern Europe and the Far East were by far the largest markets. The United Kingdom imported 303,970 long tons of general cargo, coming in second to South Korea, which imported 391,495 long tons.

From 1993 to 1994, Southeast Asia generated the largest volume increase in exports -- up 55%. Indonesia and Thailand were the regional hot spots, with exports up 113.2% and 37%, respectively, measured in long tons. Indonesia ranked third in exports by volume; Thailand ranked sixth.

Exports to South America were up 18%, led by Brazil and Argentina. Combined, these two countries imported almost 150 long tons in 1994.

And exports to the Mediterranean rose almost 10%. Together, Italy and Spain totaled almost 230,000 long tons.

In 1994, oceanborne imports through the New York/New Jersey port district registered $45.5 billion, up 17.8% over 1993. The volume of imports rose by 16.4%, reaching more than 39.7 long tons. The volume of imports from Northern Europe were the highest in 1994, up 8.5%; followed by the Far East, up 5.9%; South America, up 8%; Southeast Asia, up 7.8%; and the Mediterranean, up 6.8%.

South Korea Is a Major Destination

South Korea ranked as the United States' 6th largest trading partner last year, importing more than $18 billion worth of American goods. This Far Eastern country was the number one destination for oceanborne general cargo (by volume) departing from the New York/New Jersey port district.

Over the past two decades, Korean economic growth averaged 8.7%. Growth rates in excess of 7% are predicted for the next several years. With 44.1 million consumers and a per capita income of $9,265 anticipated for this year, Korea offers New York/New Jersey port exporters much opportunity.

Over the next ten years, hundreds of billions of dollars are anticipated to be spent on new South Korean infrastructure projects -- boosting South Korean imports. Projects include construction of several electric power generation plants and transmission lines, worth $50 billion; new highway construction, worth $20 billion; new construction and expansion of existing ports, $20 billion; new subway lines for Seoul, Inchon and Taegu, $12-15 billion; and the building of a new international airport, and modernization and expansion of regional airports, $14-18 billion.

Additionally, expansion of Korea's telecommunications facilities and increased spending on defense is expected to yield opportunities for New York/New Jersey exporters.

According to Young K. Hah, a representative of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey based in Seoul, Korea's imports from the NY/NJ region are expected to continue to increase for some time. Import liberalization policies, the birth of the powerful World Trade Organization, favorable currency fluctuations, increased consumer demand for imported products and continued increases in raw material prices will be contributing to rising imports from the United States.

Hong Kong Has Increased Re-exports to China

In 1994, the United States exported $11.45 billion of goods to Hong Kong, making it the 11th largest export destination. This ranking climbed from 14th place in 1991 to 11th place in 1993.

It has increasingly become a transit and shipping point for goods consumed in southern China, which accounted for 35 percent of Hong Kong's total re-exports in 1993. The United States was second, accounting for 21 percent.

Hong Kong's bright economic prospects, its open economy, focus on infrastructure development and its educated and sophisticated bilingual consumer population translates into opportunities for port exporters to sell everything from food products to airport equipment. Opportunities also exist to provide technical expertise, supplies and equipment to Hong Kong firms developing projects in China.

Taiwan Continues to Liberalize Its Markets

Taiwan, a country of 21 million consumers, imports nearly all of its energy needs and most of the raw materials needed to maintain industrial production. The country also imports a diversity of manufactured goods, including consumer goods such as automobiles, cosmetics and textiles, and industrial products such as machine tools, measuring instruments and construction equipment.

Last year the United States exported more than $17 billion of goods to Taiwan, an economy growing more than 6% per year. As its economy has become more dynamic, so has its need to upgrade its infrastructure. Projects include new highways, expanding the airports, improving telecommunications networks, building new power generation and pollution control facilities.

Taiwan, the United States' 7th largest export destination in 1994, has continued to liberalize its markets and promote greater consumer spending. This, combined with the strength of its economy, has created many export opportunities for New York/New Jersey port exporters.

Singapore Imported Almost $4,100 of U.S. Goods Per Capita

With a population of just 3.18 million, Singapore imported over $13 billion of goods from the United States in 1994 -- a large amount per capita -- making it the 10th biggest export market. Its economy grew by 8% last year, one of the highest in the world.

Singapore's major global imports consist of crude oil, petroleum products, electrical machinery, telecommunications equipment, office and data processing machines, general industrial machinery, transport equipment, and food.

The country imports a wide variety of goods from the United States, both for internal consumption and for re-export to other rapidly growing economies in Asia, including electronics, aircraft, chemicals and computers. Consequently, many American companies have come to rely on Singapore as a major distribution center to neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Italy Is the World's 5th Largest Economy

The Mediterranean ranked third (based on tonnage) among export regions via air for the New York/New Jersey port last year. Italy, the leader in the region and 16th largest U.S. export market, imported almost $7.2 billion worth of goods from the United States. It is the world's fifth largest economy with a gross domestic product of almost one trillion dollars. Opportunities will increase as its economic recovery takes hold.

The Italian economy is undergoing a major transformation as many state-owned enterprises are being privatized. The telecommunications, electrical utilities and energy sectors are anticipated to be next on the auction block.

Despite the lira devaluation, there are many opportunities to both maintain and expand the market for a variety of products. The realignment of the distribution sector toward larger chains and more competitive pricing should also aid U.S. exports. And the continued move toward a fully integrated Single Market should aid U.S. high value, convenience, and health food products.

Principal U.S. imports include aircraft and related equipment, coal, medical products, office equipment, and measuring equipment.

Spain Is the Mediterranean's Second Largest Market

Last year the United States exported $4.6 billion of goods to Spain. Last year Spain was included in the top ten destinations for oceanborne general cargo departing from the New York/New Jersey port, measured by tonnage.

The Spanish market is composed of a series of regional markets joined to two major hubs, Madrid and Barcelona, where most of the economic power resides. As the country and region emerge from recession, many export opportunities are becoming more evident. These include telecommunications equipment, medical equipment, pollution control equipment, computer software, films and videos, paper and paperboard, and dental equipment.

The modernization plans for the telecommunications sector alone is estimated to cost $10 billion over the next 10 years. Exporters of materials and equipment used in the construction and modernization of infrastructure projects can benefit as $147 billion is expected to be spent through the year 2,010 on new roads, upgrading railroads, improving port facilities, refurbishing airport facilities, building new drinking water facilities, and to enhance the environment in downgraded areas.

Brazil Is Latin America's Largest Economy

Brazil moved up 4 places from the United States' 19th largest export market to the 15th from 1993 to 1994, with imports rising almost 52% to more than $8.7 billion. Brazil, a major destination in South America for New York/New Jersey port exporters, has a population of 153 million people and a gross domestic product of $466 billion. It is the largest economy in Latin America.

Following several decades of tight import restrictions, Brazil began a process of trade and economic liberalization in 1990 incorporating import duty reductions, elimination of most non-tariff barriers to trade and privatization of state-owned companies.

The country's demand for energy technologies -- in generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power -- presents enormous opportunities. Additionally, a large number of state/municipal sanitation and cleanup projects, worth more than $1 billion per year, provide excellent opportunities for exporters of environmental technologies.

Brazilian imports of U.S. medical devices are forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 7% between 1995-2000. Transportation (automotive and rail), aerospace, and pharmaceutical are a few other sectors that show promising growth in Brazil through the remainder of the decade.

Argentine Oceanborne General Cargo Imports Up 30% from the NY/NJ Port

The Menem government has embarked on a course of free market reform that includes fiscal responsibility, an open market, privatization and deregulation. Thus, as of mid 1994, economic stability was three years old. Although many Argentines remain cautious about the country's political stability, it no longer appears to be a major issue.

Argentina is now a world leader in privatization. A major challenge, however, lies in their ability to regulate the behavior of the newly privatized companies which are largely engaged in the provision of goods and materials related to energy and fuel generation; telecommunications; road, rail and river transportation; and steel production. These sectors will provide good opportunities for exporters of New York/New Jersey port.

U.S. exports to Argentina rose 18.3% from 1993 to 1994. Steady export growth is forecast for the future.

This article appeared in VIA Magazine, a division of The New York Times, July-August 1995.

John Manzella
About The Author John Manzella [Full Bio]
John Manzella, founder of the Manzella Report, is a world-recognized speaker, author of several books, and an international columnist on global business, trade policy, labor, and the latest economic trends. His valuable insight, analysis and strategic direction have been vital to many of the world's largest corporations, associations and universities preparing for the business, economic and political challenges ahead.

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