U.S. containerized banana imports increased 12 percent to 105,203 20-foot-equivalent units from January to March, the fourth straight quarter of double-digit year-over-year growth, according to preliminary data from PIERS, a JOC sister company.
The increase brought banana imports to their second-highest quarterly volume in more than six years, surpassed only by the 108,869 TEUs in the second quarter of 2012. Import volumes were up 2.3 percent from the 102,843 TEUs imported in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The top countries of origin for U.S. banana imports in the first quarter were Guatemala, with a 32 percent share, up 4.7 percentage points year-over-year; Costa Rica, with 19.6 percent, up 2.1 percentage points; Ecuador, 18.8 percent, down 5.8 percentage points; and Honduras, 16.8 percent, down 2.7 percentage points.
Banana imports from Colombia jumped 70 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, to 6,420 TEUs. Containerized ocean imports from Mexico nearly doubled, to 5,108 TEUs from 2,748 in the first quarter of 2012.