Containerized banana imports into the U.S. rose sharply in the fourth quarter of 2012, continuing a trend of year-over-year growth seen throughout the year.
U.S. Containerized Imports of Bananas
TEU Volume and Year-Over-Year Percent Change
Imports in the fourth quarter grew to 103,121 20-foot-equivalent units from 85,245 TEUs in the fourth quarter of 2011. This was the seventh straight quarter of increases for banana imports.
The fourth quarter’s 21 percent rise was the largest year-to-year increase in the past few years. Banana imports had grown 14 percent in the third quarter, more than 13 percent in the second quarter and more than 5 percent in the first quarter, according to data from PIERS, a JOC sister company.
The total number of TEUs of bananas imported into the U.S. in the full year of 2012 was 413,640, up 13.4 percent or 48,873 TEUs from 364,767 TEUs in 2011.
The top countries of origin for U.S. banana imports in 2012 were Guatemala, with a 30.2 percent share of imports, with its share down 2.1 percentage points from 2011; Costa Rica, with 21.2 percent, up 0.2 percentage points; Ecuador, 19.2 percent, down 0.5 percentage points; and Honduras, 17.4 percent, up 0.7 percentage points. Imports from Panama more than doubled in 2012 from 3,531 TEUs in 2011 to 7,322 in 2012. Also, imports from Mexico via ocean container nearly doubled in 2012 with 16,089 TEUs imported, 85 percent more than the 8,712 imported in 2011.