N.D. exports increase by nearly $900 millionNorth Dakota exports increased by about $900 million in 2011 led by strong global sales of agricultural and construction machinery and a record volume of crude that was shipped to Canada before returning to the U.S. by pipeline, federal Commerce Department statistics show.
By: By James MacPherson , Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — North Dakota exports increased by about $900 million in 2011 led by strong global sales of agricultural and construction machinery and a record volume of crude that was shipped to Canada before returning to the U.S. by pipeline, federal Commerce Department statistics show.
The state’s exports totaled $3.4 billion last year, up from $2.5 billion in 2010 and $2.2 billion in 2009, according to data from the department’s U.S. Commercial Service.
The biggest increase in export value came from oil shipments, which jumped from $248 million in 2010 to nearly $741 million last year, and some $26.4 million since 2005, data shows.
Last year was the first time in North Dakota that oil export value exceeded agriculture product exports, which were pegged at $551 million, up about $84,000 from 2010.
Commercial Service state director Heather Ranck called the increase in oil exports misleading since the oil ultimately ends up at U.S. refiners.
Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said the exported crude from the state’s oil patch is trucked or shipped by pipeline across the border to Canada, where it transferred to Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline network and then to the company’s terminal at Clearbrook, Minn. None of the barrels of North Dakota crude are refined in Canada, he said.
Even without the skyrocketing value of crude exports, all other North Dakota exports increased 17 percent to about $2.7 million, Ranck said.
Machinery exports totaled $1.03 billion last year, up from $827 million in 2010 but down from a decade-high of $1.18 billion in 2008.
Dean Gorder, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office, said machinery exports have rebounded after sliding in 2008 to $804 million due to an ailing worldwide economy.
“It was due in part to market constriction,” Gorder said of the drop in North Dakota machinery exports. “The economy is totally global. There was no available financing or cash.”
North Dakota has about 50 machinery manufacturers and distributors that export products, Gorder said.
The state’s biggest export markets for machinery are in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Australia and Germany, he said. Those countries also are the biggest importers of North Dakota goods overall, with Canada accounting for $2.2 million of last year’s total, federal data shows.
Ranck said her agency tracks exports based on the state where the product begins its journey to another country, and not necessarily where the product was produced.
North Dakota leads the nation in a dozen agricultural commodities. Gorder said wheat or another crop grown in North Dakota may be shipped from a port in another state, and that state would be given the credit for the export value under the tracking data used by the Commerce Department.
“We watch them,” Gorder said of the federal tracking data. “But we don’t necessarily hang our hat on them.”
Gorder said the total crop value in North Dakota in 2010 was about $3.2 billion. Last year’s totals are not available but should mirror the crop value in 2010, he said.