20, March 2019


North Dakota Exports Up 16% in 2018

North Dakota Exports Up 16% in 2018

Strong Growth in Petroleum Products, Machinery, Corn

North Dakota exported $6.78 billion in 2018, an increase of 16% over 2017 and the sixth highest annual growth rate among US states in the nation. North Dakota’s exports have increased 983% from 2000 to 2018, compared to a 113% increase for US exports. Excluding oil, North Dakota’s exports increased by 9% in 2018 over 2017, while US exports increased 7.62% in the same period. North Dakota ranked 36th among US states in 2018, ahead of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and neighboring South Dakota but behind Nebraska and West Virginia.

In 2018, petroleum products continued to grow their share of ND’s total exports to 63.9%. This increase is despite a 20% decrease in crude oil exports, as there were big increases in light oils and butane exports. Much of ND’s crude oil goes through a pipeline that crosses briefly into Canada and isn’t actually sold into Canada (but it counts as an export because it leaves the territory of the US briefly). Shifts in oil and non-oil exports can be viewed in the chart above. Several food commodities showed strong annual growth including corn (93.1%), wheat (26.8%), rapeseed (canola) (62.7%) and soybean oilcakes (70.6%). Soybean exports increased by 8% (to $62.4 million), with over $20 million going to Canada instead of China in 2018. Note that ND’s ag exports are undercounted due to ag exports being tracked based on the origin of their export journey, which is typically near ports. Several of North Dakota’s top-exported manufacturing products saw increases in 2018, including front-end shovel loaders (25%), tractors (16%) and electrical components (e.g. circuit boards, wiring, and switches, 13% increase). Ethanol exports fell 21.2% in 2018 to $91 million. Dried legumes exports showed large drops in chickpea (down 80.4%) and lentil exports (down 72.3%), and milled products such as malt, flours, etc. were collectively down 44.4%. There was a 2% increase in the number of unique items exported from North Dakota, from 1,400 items in 2017 to 1,430 in 2018.

Canada continues to be North Dakota’s number one export destination, taking in $5.8 billion, or 86% of North Dakota’s total exports (including the crude oil in the pipeline). Mexico is the second largest market for North Dakota products, importing $231 million (3.4% of ND’s total exports). Exports into Mexico decreased by 5%, caused primarily by a decrease in wheat exports. The UK, Dominican Republic, and Brazil all moved into the top 10 export destinations after strong increases in 2018, while Nigeria and Ukraine fell out of the top 20.

For information on the U.S. Commercial Service, call the U.S. Commercial Service – North Dakota office at (701) 239-5080, or email or visit



Article originally appeared here