Alabama trade tidbits: What are our customers buying?

What is being exported from Alabama and where it is going

Cargo destined for other countries gets loaded onto the plane. Photo courtesy of the North Alabama International Trade Association.

Alabama exports soared to a new record in 2022, with $25.5 billion of Made-in-Alabama goods sent to 196 countries around the globe. And while the state’s top exported products — Alabama-made vehicles, aerospace parts, chemicals, minerals, metals and paper products — may not be that surprising, the state’s top metro area exporters might be, along with a few other interesting Alabama export facts.

Several Alabama locations ranked among the largest metropolitan area exporters in the U.S., according to a 2022 comparison of the country’s nearly 400 largest metropolitan areas. The comparison, prepared by the Office of Trade & Economic Analysis, Industry & Trade Analysis, International Trade Administration of U.S. Department of Commerce, shows the total value of exported goods in 2022. It’s helpful to note, however, that some dollar figures are withheld to protect the individual industries’ trade secrets, occasionally skewing the numbers.

44   Tuscaloosa, $9,236.4 million, mostly transportation equipment

89   Mobile, $3,102.2 million, mostly chemicals and primary metal manufactures

117 Birmingham-Hoover, $1,790.7 million, mostly transportation equipment

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129 Huntsville, $1,558.7 million, mostly machinery and computer & electronic products

157 Montgomery, $1,103.5 million, mostly transportation equipment

257 Anniston-Oxford, $363.7 million, mostly transportation equipment

242 Decatur, $400.6 million, mostly chemicals

311 Dothan, $185.6 million, mostly transportation equipment

316 Auburn-Opelika, $172 million, mostly machinery and transportation equipment

324 Florence-Muscle Shoals, $149.2 million, mostly chemicals and electrical equipment

375 Gadsden, $34.4 million, mostly processed foods

And while most Alabama exports go to Germany, China, Canada, Mexico and Japan, there also are much smaller countries on the list. Out of the 196 countries that imported Alabama goods last year, three island nations — the Caribbean’s Anguilla and Montserrat and the world’s least-visited country, Nauru in the Central Pacific — imported less than $5,000 in goods. But what are they getting?

Anguilla       Furniture, miscellaneous     $4,499

Montserrat  Furniture, miscellaneous     $3,270

Nauru          Medical instrument parts     $3,312

A few Northern Balkan countries where products exported from Alabama increased from 2,000% to 8,000% in 2022 over the previous year showed their product of choice from Alabama. The product was…coal.

Croatia     Coal       $26.5 million

Slovenia   Coal       $20.9 million

And countries where a single product accounted for increases of 100% to 700% were:

Southern Balkans

Kosovo   Medical instruments & parts $1.6 million

Albania  Medical instruments & parts $161,000


Guadalupe Medical instruments & parts  $1.8 million

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