TREND: The top 10 U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry in terms of total merchandise trade by value showed mixed signals in January 2021. Of the top ports, six of them exhibited monthly gains compared to December, led by increases Hidalgo Port of Entry (PoE), El Paso PoE, and Santa Teresa PoE. However, all of the top ports, except Laredo PoE and Eagle Pass PoE, remained down in January compared to the same month last year.
•Following the sharp decreases of 2020, several ports showed signs of improvement in January. Six of the top ten ports exhibited month-over-month gains, led by increases of US $250 million (8.7%) at Hidalgo PoE, US $230 million (3.7%) at El Paso PoE, and US $152 million (7.2%) at Santa Teresa PoE. The other 3 ports to increase were Brownsville PoE (US $75 million or 5.1%), Del Rio PoE (US $44 million or 13.3%), and Nogales PoE (US $12 million or 0.6%).
•Meanwhile, Eagle Pass PoE, Otay Mesa PoE, and Laredo PoE led the declines on a monthly basis, falling by US $212 million (-7.6%), US $131 million (-3.4%), and US $129 million (-0.7%), respectively.
•Nonetheless, on a year-over-year basis, Laredo PoE and Eagle Pass PoE were the only ports to increase in January, going up US $883 million (4.9%) and US $290 million (12.7%), respectively. For both Laredo and Eagle Pass, this was the 5th month in a row with a year-over-year increase.
•On the other hand, the largest decreases compared to January 2020 were observed at Nogales PoE (US -$384 million or -16.7%), Santa Teresa PoE (US -$310 million or -12.0%), Brownsville PoE (US -$171 million or -10.0%), and El Paso PoE (US -$140 million or -2.1%).
TAKEAWAY: Despite the fact that the majority of the top U.S.-Mexico ports of entry continue to struggle to reach one-year prior levels, the monthly gains at 6 of the top ports in January are positive signs of the continued, albeit slow, recovery process. Moreover, Laredo and Eagle Pass ports of entry appear to be well along in their recovery following their 5th straight month of year-over-year gains.
* Since 2014, the Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness at The University of Texas at El Paso has provided economic analysis of the Paso del Norte Region that includes the binational communities of El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The mission of the Hunt Institute is to produce high-quality market analysis tools that can strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development. Twitter: @HuntPasoDeNorte