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Distribution & Logistics

S.C. exports drop in 2021, but state leads nation in 2 categories

Distribution & Logistics
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South Carolina exported $29.7 billion in goods in 2021 and led the nation in exports of tires and completed passenger motor vehicles, according to the state commerce department. (Photo/SCPA/Walter Lagarenne)

South Carolina’s 2021 export sales totaled $29.7 billion as the state led the nation in exports of tires and completed passenger motor vehicles.

The S.C. Department of Commerce’s 2021 International Trade Report, released Monday, found that the Palmetto State has 36.6% of the country’s market share of exported tires and 19.4% of its market share of exported passenger vehicles.

According to the report, S.C.’s total exports dropped 2% in 2021 from 2020’s total of $30.3 billion. The state’s export record was set in 2019 at $41.5 billion.

“International trade plays an incredibly important role in sustained economic prosperity, and South Carolina consistently demonstrates our ability to move products around the world,” Harry Lightsey, S.C. Secretary of Commerce, said in the report. “As industries transform, we are poised to prioritize our support, promoting resources to best equip companies in maximizing their reach overseas.”

Vehicles and parts led the state’s exports at around $13 billion, followed by nuclear reactors and related parts at around $3 billion. Rubber exports ranked third at around $2 billion, followed by plastics and machinery.

“South Carolina’s economy continues to grow, and the news that the state remains the national leader in the export sales of tires and passenger vehicles is a testament to our international connectivity,” S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said. “Looking to the future, South Carolina will continue to work hard to ensure that our state remains a globally competitive place to do business.”

South Carolina’s two largest export partners in 2021 were China and Germany, with each nation receiving $4.6 billion, or 15.5%, of the state’s products. Canada was third at $3.8 billion (12.8%), Mexico fourth at $2.1 billion (7.1%), and Belgium fifth at $1.5 billion (5.1%).

“As a top-10 U.S. container port, South Carolina Ports serves as a vital economic engine for the state,” S.C. Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “Big retailers, South Carolina farmers, advanced manufacturers and many other industries depend on our efficient operations to keep freight moving.

“The global supply chain continues to see great strain from handling unprecedented cargo volumes through the pandemic as consumers buy record amounts of goods. South Carolina Ports has invested more than $2 billion in port infrastructure in recent years to ensure we remain globally competitive. These significant investments have attracted world-class companies to South Carolina. Alongside our partners, South Carolina Ports will endeavor to build on our momentum, creating lasting benefits for South Carolina.”

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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