A jewel on the Rio Grande
No. 1 for international trade in the USA. Laredo TX (USA), on the US-Mexican border, only has approximately 250,000 inhabitants – but is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States of America. It also holds another important top spot in a decisive category for transport and logistics.
The value of goods transported through Laredo in the first half of 2023 was worth no less than USD 159 billion. This figure represents about 6.3% of the USA’s total foreign trade volume, and is higher than the value of goods shipped through Chicago ORD airport (USD 150 billion, 5.9%) or the port of Los Angeles (approximately USD 140 billion, 5.6%).
In a domestic comparison, Laredo is not only far ahead of the Texan ports of Houston (USD 113 billion, 4.5%) and Corpus Christi (USD 40.9 billion, 1.6%), but also leaves the El Paso Ysleta port of entry, more than 900 km upstream but still in Texas, far behind (USD 40.6 billion, 1.6%). The city’s trade with neighbouring Mexico (USD 155 billion), which accounts for 97% of Laredo’s total trade, increased by 9.9% compared to the first half of 2022. An increasing proportion of this is also handled by air at Laredo LRD airport.
These developments have also been facilitated by the presence at the airport of the only customs station jointly operated by the USA’s CBP and Mexico’s SAT, making it one of the leading US airports to focus on airfreight (see also page 20 of ITJ 36-38 / 2023).
LRD handled approximately 200,000 t of goods in the first half of 2023, a figure that was 6% below the total in H1 / 2022, but 67% higher than in 2021.
Laredo’s trading partners following in Mexico’s wake are China (USD 900 million, +11%), France (USD 639 million, +66%), Nicaragua (USD 334 million, +8.7%) and Japan (USD 324 million, –53%). The top five therefore account for 98.84% of all trade. This is much, much higher than the ratio for the USA as a whole (top 5 – 50.95%).