TREND: The top 10 U.S.-Mexico Border Ports of Entry in terms of total merchandise trade in 2020 increased in April on a yearly basis, with nine ports increasing in the January to April 2021 period compared to the same period last year. The ports of entry leading the increases were Laredo Port of Entry (PoE), El Paso PoE, and Hidalgo PoE. Seven of the top ten ports also exhibited gains in this period when compared to the January to April 2019 period, and all ten of the top ports increased in April compared to the same month in 2020.
• Nine of the top 10 U.S.-Mexico Ports exhibited increases in total trade during the January to April 2021 period on a year-over-year basis. Leading the way was Laredo PoE with an increase of approximately US $13.5 billion (20.8%), followed by El Paso PoE with a gain of approximately US $5.2 billion (22.9%), and Hidalgo PoE with a gain of approximately US $3.6 billion (32.9%).
• On the other hand, Santa Teresa PoE was the only port to decrease, falling by approximately US $181 million (-2.0%). In total, the top ten ports increased during the January to April 2021 period by roughly US $29.8 billion (19.8%) on a year-over-year basis.
• When comparing the January to April 2021 period to the January to April 2019 period, seven of the top ten ports increased, with Laredo PoE (US $2.8 billion or 3.7%), El Paso PoE (US $2.7 billion or 10.5%), and Hidalgo PoE (US $2.3 billion or 19.1%) again leading the increases. Santa Teresa PoE decreased by US $1.1 billion (-11.3%), Nogales PoE decreased by US $675 million (-7.2%), and Del Rio PoE decreased by US $225 million (-12.7%).
• As a whole, the top ten ports increased by about US $8.6 billion (5.0%) compared to the first four months of 2019.
Top 10 U.S.-Mexico Border Ports of Entry for Total Trade with World, Million USD
NOTE: Top 10 in 2020. El Paso PoE includes Ysleta PoE. YoY denotes year-over-year; MoM denotes month-over-month.
SOURCE: Hunt Institute calculations using U.S. Census Bureau data.
• However, nine of the top ten ports exhibited decreases in April with respect to March. Laredo PoE led the month-over-month declines, falling by roughly US $1.5 billion (-6.7%), followed by El Paso PoE with a decline of roughly US $493 million (-6.3%), and Hidalgo PoE with a decline of roughly US $411 million (-10.7%). Otay Mesa PoE was the only port to increase with a gain of US $118 million (2.6%).
• With respect to April 2020, all ten of the top ports increased in April of this year, with gains led by the top three ports from 2020. Laredo PoE, El Paso PoE, and Otay Mesa PoE exhibited gains of approximately US $10.7 billion (110.3%), US $3.6 billion (97.8%), and US $2.3 billion (103.2%), respectively.
TAKEAWAY: Total merchandise trade continued showing strong positive signs in April, with all of the top U.S.-Mexico ports increasing on a year-over-year basis and nine of them increasing during the first four months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. While reaching and exceeding year-prior levels is significant, it is important to remember that this is in comparison to the sharp declines of last year amidst strict economic regulations. Even more noteworthy is the fact that seven of the top ports also exceeded their 2019 numbers during the January to April 2021 period. The sustained gains and recovery for trade to both year-prior and 2019 levels will continue to be an important indicator in the coming months.
* 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