Steel is one of the most searched products on ImportGenius.com among U.S. importers and freight forwarders. Recently we’ve also seen that steel imports have had a significant rise in one region of the country. The spike in steel imports at Port of New Orleans is evident when looking at shipments received throughout 2012 compared to the previous year.

Shipments received in 2011 breached 96 million pounds, whereas 2012 saw total shipments weighing 131.2 billion pounds. This difference accounts for a 35.8% increase in weight last year. The majority of shipments received in New Orleans containing steel came from Japan.  “2012 proved to be a marquee year overall for the Port of New Orleans... we are working diligently to grow new markets and build upon successful ones to deliver benefits to all of our customers and tenants,” says Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange.  Looking at the Import Genius pulse tool, shipments of steel imported nationwide dropped off after November 2012. We see shipments sharply decrease by over 11,500 shipments comparing numbers in November to December.  This same trend was also seen at the Port of New Orleans as 2012 neared to a close, with 124 shipments received in December being less than half the 267 shipments in November.  According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce collected by StreetInsider.com, “...Steel imports fell 17.1 percent year-over-year in March and declined 11.7 percent year-to-date”. Street Insider also reports that the rise in the price of steel has caused many U.S. imports to slow their orders.  Steel imports into New Orleans have fluctuated in the first three months of the new year. Looking at numbers for national imports, after a rather sharp drop from December to January, both January and February remained steady while there was a 13 percent drop from February to March. If foreign steel prices continue to be unreasonable throughout the remainder of the year, we expect to see a decrease in imports and may even anticipate a significant low compared to previous year-to-year changes.  Sources:

March Steel Imports Decline but Sector Remains in Shambles

Strong Steel Imports, Chemical Exports Produce Year-End Cargo Gains

Steel imports boost New Orleans port in 2012