In the saga of the well known US trade deficit, the solution to increasing more exports depends on the commodity. Historically, the US has been a strong exporter of meat products, such as beef, lamb and pork. According to the US Meat Export Federation, these have been very tough times for the meat export industry. And ocean freight shipping rates, while promising, haven’t been able to “beef” up these low meat export numbers.
Let’s examine some of these recent numbers from early 2015. Between January and February, beef exports have been down 11% year over year totals. In the same time, pork exports have been down 10% year over year. And lamb exports are down 19% year over year. Something is really wrong with the meat export sector. These exporters should speak with a trusted freight forwarder.
These low numbers go beyond transportation issues. Although the West Coast port dispute impacted meat exports during the early part of the year, the situation has settled and the congestion of containers at the ports is being to thaw. The recent problems with meat exports are due to economic circumstances. Meat exports are facing blockages to different markets, international competitors and a strong US dollar that has problems abroad.
The top three markets for US meat exports include Japan, Korea and Mexico. While the total volumes to these three nations have been lower in 2015, the value of the shipments has increased upward. And pork exports to Korea are seeing new higher totals. The key for the US meat export industry is through the West Coast to Asia.