Pine logs again sailing out of BR-area port _lowres

Photo provided by the Port of Greater Baton Rouge -- Logs from Ralph Stewart Logging LLC are loaded last spring at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge onto a ship bound for China.

Goods exported from Louisiana supported 282,540 jobs in 2013, and the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles metropolitan areas ranked among the country’s top 50 exporters.

All three of the state’s major port cities reported record exports in 2013 and are among 26 metro area reaching record export levels, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metro area ranked No. 8 with $30 billion in goods exports, an increase of 23.3 percent from a year ago. The New Orleans area accounted for 65 percent of the state’s merchandise exports and was one of 10 metropolitan areas nationally exceeding $25 billion in goods exports last year.

Meanwhile, Baton Rouge ranked No. 45, increasing exports 8 percent to $6.3 billion. Lake Charles ranked No. 49 after boosting exports by 19.2 percent to $5.7 billion.

Key merchandise export categories for Louisiana included petroleum and coal products; agricultural products; chemicals; food and kindred products; and machinery, except electrical. China, Mexico, Canada, Japan and Singapore were the leading destinations for Louisiana exports.

“Big export sales means more revenue, which translate into economic growth and jobs for Louisiana,” said Donald van de Werken, director of the U.S. Commercial Service in New Orleans. “There is a great potential for more exporting — particularly among smaller businesses that have yet to explore their full export potential.”

More than 95 percent of potential consumers live outside the United States, and U.S. companies of every size are exploring those potential opportunities.

The report, “Jobs Supported by Goods Exports from States 2013,” shows Louisiana and the other Top 20 states accounted for 82 percent of the country’s export-supported jobs.

Since mid-2009, exports have driven nearly a third of the country’s economic growth, according to the Commerce Department. Exports account for nearly 14 percent of the economy.

Key merchandise export categories for the New Orleans-Metairie metropolitan area in 2013 included petroleum and coal products, crops, processed foods, chemicals and beverages and tobacco products. China, Singapore, Mexico, France and the Netherlands were the leading destinations for New Orleans exports.

Key merchandise categories for Baton Rouge included Canada, Mexico, China, Brazil and the Netherlands. Top export sectors were petroleum and coal products; nondurable manufactured goods; primary metal manufacturing); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; and chemicals.

Key merchandise export categories for the Lake Charles included petroleum and coal products, chemicals, transportation equipment, manufactured products and electrical equipment. Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, the Netherlands and Canada were the leading destinations for Lake Charles exports.

“This new research demonstrates that exports continue to drive our economic growth and create jobs,” said Stefan M. Selig, undersecretary of commerce for international trade.

President Barack Obama launched the National Export Initiative in 2010. The program helps firms and farmers overcome the hurdles in entering new markets and also offers financing assistance.

The program has helped the United States generate four consecutive years of record exports, capped by 2013’s $2.3 trillion total, according to the Commerce Department. Export goods supported 11.3 million jobs nationwide.