Who does Maine trade goods with?

Photo from Flickr

Photo from Flickr

BROOKINGS recently published a report on the nature of goods trade in the U.S.  Some of the key findings of that report:

The country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas drive national goods trade, with more than 80 percent of all goods either starting or ending in these areas. In total, $16.2 trillion in domestic and international goods flow annually through the largest metropolitan areas, which specialize in moving advanced industrial products.

Just 10 percent of the country’s trade corridors move 79 percent of all goods, the most valuable of which are concentrated in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. The vast majority of the nation’s goods trade tends to be highly concentrated in corridors between the largest metropolitan areas.

Every region of the country relies on at least one major network hub to move large volumes of goods along different corridors domestically and internationally.Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are the clear hubs of the national network, while other large metropolitan areas like Houston and Detroit are centralized traders based upon specialties. These large and diverse markets often represent critical points in the national network and highlight the need to prioritize places for infrastructure investment.

Metropolitan areas tend to trade more goods with each other when they are located close together, employ a sizable number of logistics workers, and house large populations. Controlling for all other factors, each additional 100 miles separating two regions reduces expected trade volumes by 3.2 percent. Every additional 10,000 logistics workers increases expected trade between two regions by over 12 percent, and an additional one million residents increases expected trade volumes by over 1.5 percent.

With over 77 percent of the nation’s freight moving between different states, the United States must establish a more coordinated freight strategy across all levels of the public and private sectors. Since most regions move goods across state lines, they depend on a well-connected freight network to reach distant markets and drive economic growth. Some metropolitan areas, such as Las Vegas and Baltimore, exchange over 90 percent of their goods beyond their respective states.

Brookings also posted interactive data on its website which displays the trading partners for markets within the U.S., including Maine’s three metro areas (Bangor, Lewiston, Portland) and Maine’s non-metro areas.  Here is a breakdown of the intra-state trade between those four observed regions:

Bangor–Lewiston:  $76.2 million

Bangor–Portland:  $280.2 million

Bangor–Non-metro:  $541.4 million

Lewiston–Portland:  $2.188 billion

Lewiston–Non-Metro:  $742.6 million

Portland–Non-Metro:  $2.217 billion

And here is a breakdown of inter- an intra-state trade by region (all numbers in billions):

Bangor total:  $4.7 bn

Bangor intra-state:  $1.4 bn

Bangor inter-state/national:  $3.3 bn

Largest trading partner:  Non-metro Maine:  $0.54 bn

Largest international partner:  Canada:  $0.15 bn


Lewiston total:  $7.5 bn

Lewiston intra-state:  $3 bn

Lewiston inter-state/national:  $4.5 bn

Largest trading partner:  Portland:  $2.1 bn

Largest international partner:  Canada:  $0.14


Portland total:  $28.8 bn

Portland intra-state:  $4.7 bn

Portland inter-state/national: $24.2 bn

Largest trading partner:  Boston:  $5.5 bn

Largest international partner:  China:  $0.62 bn


Non-metro total:  $20.7 bn

Non-metro intra-state:  $3.5 bn

Non-metro inter-state/national:  $17.2 bn

Largest trading partner:  Portland:  $2.127 bn

Largest international partner:  Canada:  $0.57

A couple of things to highlight.  Portland is the largest trading partner for 2 of the 3 other Maine areas (Bangor being the exception), and is the only area whose largest trading partner is outside the state of Maine.  Moreover, Portland represents roughly half ($24.2 bn of $49.2 bn statewide) of the state’s inter-state/national.

Lastly, Maine’s largest international trading partner is Canada at $1.43 bn, slightly ahead of China at $1.41 bn.

John Haskell

About John Haskell

John graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Political Science, and from the University of Maine School of Law. He has worked in both the public and private sectors, and currently, works with a small business services company in the Mid-Coast area.