Up In The Delta - Global Trade Magazine
  June 14th, 2015 | Written by

Up In The Delta

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  • Companies located in the Mississippi River states are learning how to survive in our still-recovering American economy
  • Read here for key state-by-state export data, plus examples of recent export successes enjoyed by small businesses

Although they don’t have the advantage of West or East Coast ports, many companies located in the Mississippi River states are learning how to survive in our still-recovering American economy by learning how to export intelligently. Connections with well-networked agencies and unique state programs are helping support these burgeoning efforts.

What follows are some key state-by-state export data, plus examples of recent export successes enjoyed by small businesses with help from the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) and its nationwide network of 100-plus U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC).

MISSISSIPPI
State exports supported 51,892 U.S. jobs in 2014; 2,022 companies exported from here in 2013.

Tallahatchie Lumber of Charleston is a small company manufacturing wood mats used in the oil and gas industry. The USEAC in Jackson helped the firm identify potential customers in Canada by providing customized market research about that nation’s oil and gas industry, and sources of grant money used to develop a list of potential buyers in Canada. After closing some deals, the company discovered transportation costs for shipping its products were much higher than anticipated, an issue which severely affected its ability to profitably complete the sales.
To solve these logistics issues, USEAC connected the firm to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which found a way to reduce the shipping expenses from $75 to $5.50 per piece. As a result, Tallahatchie Lumber increased export sales and has grown from six to 45 employees since April 2012.

Mississippi’s 2014 merchandise exports totaled $11.4 billion. Canada received merchandise exports of $1.8 billion last year (or 15.9 percent of all goods exported). Other top markets: Panama ($1.5 billion), Mexico ($1.2 billion), China ($639 million) and Honduras ($531 million). Petroleum and coal products made up $3.9 billion of all 2014 goods exported.

IOWA
State exports supported 107,366 U.S. jobs in 2014; 3,420 companies exported from here in 2013.

Based in Spirit Lake, Brownmed is a manufacturer of pain relief products marketed in the U.S. and overseas. The firm reached out to the Des Moines USEAC to help expand sales in European countries and also locate a U.K. distributor. USEAC provided counseling, market research and information for attending Medica (the largest global healthcare trade show) and also coordinated introductions at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Medica 2012 participation resulted in combined orders of $400,000 from the U.K. and The Netherlands, plus a new U.K. distributor. These sales allowed Brownmed to hire 14 employees between 2012 and 2014.

Iowa exported $8.7 billion of goods (on average) each year to all markets in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between 2012 and 2014. During this period, 60 percent of Iowa’s total goods exports went to the entire TPP region. Last year, Canada received $4.6 billion in goods representing 30.5 percent of all merchandise exports. Other export markets: Mexico ($2.3 billion), Japan ($1.2 billion), China ($943 million) and Brazil ($502 million).

KENTUCKY
State exports supported 137,138 U.S. jobs in 2014; 4,420 companies exported from here in 2013.

Headquartered in Louisville, Zoeller Co. is North America’s oldest independently owned professional pump manufacturer, with operations in North America and Asia. The USCS has helped Zoeller export all over the planet; with South Africa being one of the company’s major markets. (The firm expects double-digit in its overall export business. For example, thanks to USCS assistance, Zoeller set up a distributor agreement with Maskam Water, a South African distributor from the Western Cape. The distributor agreement covers Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, Zoeller systems have been installed in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana and Nigeria since 2009.

Activity stemming from U.S. free trade agreements made up $12.1 billion (44 percent) of Kentucky’s exports in 2014. Since 2005, exports to these markets grew by 58 percent, with NAFTA, Singapore, Australia, Colombia and Korea showing the largest dollar growth. Kentucky’s 2014 merchandise export shipments totaled $27.5 billion, with $7.6 billion (27.7 percent) ending up in Canada. Additional major markets: Mexico ($2.3 billion), the U.K. ($2.3 billion), France ($2 billion) and China ($1.7 billion). Transportation equipment accounted for $13.7 billion of Kentucky’s total 2014 goods exported.

ILLINOIS
State exports supported 345,050 jobs in 2014; 22,770 exported from here in 2013

Railroad transportation equipment company S&C Distribution of Tinley Park tasked the USCS team in Illinois with helping it find global reps in Australia and Brazil. Subsequent connections made in Sydney and Sao Paulo led to the company signing agreements in both countries in less than three months. The company attended a Brazil trade show last November and is investing $120,000 to expand its facilities, with plans to hire more employees to meet increased global demand. Company President Jon Schaefer noted that due to USCS support, “doors have been cracked open that would never have been cracked open otherwise.”

U.S. free trade agreements were responsible for $37.4 billion (55 percent) of the state’s 2014 exports. Since 2005, exports to these markets have grown by 105 percent, with NAFTA, Australia, Chile, Korea and Colombia responsible for the biggest dollar growth. Illinois merchandise shipments totaled $68.2 billion in 2014, with $22 billion (32.2 percent) going to Canada. Additional top markets: Mexico ($7.9 billion), China ($4.7 billion), Germany ($2.9 billion) and Japan ($2.6 billion). The machinery-except electrical category accounted for $12.9 billion of total 2014 merchandise exports.

LOUISIANA
State exports supported 170,200 U.S. jobs in 2014; 3,825 companies exported from here in 2013

Reserve-based DSC Dredge, LLC is a world-class designer and manufacturer of portable dredges. In the past few years, the company has become involved with a variety of USCS export programs, trade shows, market research and business matchmaking opportunities that has led to sales in new markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria and Guatemala among other nations. CEO Bob Wetta says this assistance “has enabled us to dramatically increase our export sales, increase revenue, and hire many new workers to meet the demands of the global market.” Currently, DSC exports make up about 80 percent of overall sales; nearly 80 percent of its workers are dependent upon exports for their jobs.

U.S. free trade agreements accounted for $24.2 billion (37 percent) of Louisiana’s exports in 2014. Since 2005, exports to these markets grew by 232 percent, with NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, Colombia, Panama and Singapore showing the largest dollar growth. Last year, Louisiana’s merchandise export shipments totaled $65.1 billion; of that, $8.7 billion (13.3 percent) went to China. Additional key markets: Mexico ($7.3 billion), Canada ($3.3 billion), The Netherlands ($3.3 billion) and Japan ($2.8 billion). Petroleum and coal products accounted for $25.7 billion of all 2014 goods exported.

MINNESOTA
State exports supported 128,863 jobs in 2014; 8,579 companies exported from here in 2013

Crary Tile Pro, located in rural Morgan, Minnesota, manufactures and sells drain tile plows used to dig, lay and bury drainage tile in farmland. Unsure of how to develop an international business plan, the company contacted the Minneapolis USEAC office, which encouraged the company’s owner to sign up for the ExporTech program. He learned to develop an export plan and pursue the firm’s first targeted market, Canada. Office staff also identified an agribusiness trade show to attend where meetings could be set up with potential partners. As a result, Crary Tile Pro signed with a Canadian distributor and secured a sale.

U.S. free trade agreements were responsible for $10.1 billion (47 percent) of Minnesota’s 2014 exports. Since 2005, exports to these markets grew by 82 percent, with NAFTA, Singapore, Korea, Australia and CAFTA-DR showing the most significant dollar growth. In 2014, goods exported totaled $21.4 billion; of that amount, $5.6 billion (26 percent) went to Canada. More key markets: Mexico ($2.2 billion), China ($1.8 billion), Japan ($1.2 billion) and Belgium ($886 million). Computer and electronic products accounted for $3.8 billion of all 2014 merchandise exports.

WISCONSIN
State exports supported 124,913 U.S. jobs in 2014; 8,737 companies exported from here in 2013

Since 1934, Waukesha-based Hydro-Thermal Corp. has been manufacturing patented heating equipment using steam to precisely control water and other liquid temperatures. Almost a decade ago, the firm began consulting with the Milwaukee USEAC for advice on global markets, classifications and export controls. The assistance from USEAC and Department of Commerce staff in U.S. embassies/consulates abroad allowed Hydro-Thermal to successfully export into global markets. In 2014, the company was honored with the President’s “E” Award for Exports in recognition of its contributions to U.S. export expansion. Company President Jim Zaiser says, “Exportation has opened many doors for our company and is a large contributor to our growth.”

American free trade agreements were responsible for $13.2 billion (56 percent) of Wisconsin’s 2014 exports. Since 2005, exports to these markets grew by 65 percent, with NAFTA, Peru, Australia, Chile and Korea showing the biggest dollar growth.

2014 merchandise export shipments totaled $23.4 billion; of that, $7.9 billion (33.9 percent) in goods were sent to Canada. Additional major markets: Mexico ($2.8 billion), China ($1.6 billion), Japan ($902 million) and the U.K. ($848 million). The machinery-except electrical export category made up $5.4 billion of all 2014 exports. Other top categories: computer and electronic products, processed foods, transportation equipment and chemicals.


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