Lobster exports dipped, but remained Maine’s top export

The Maine International Trade Center on Monday received a top award for helping promote exports from Maine, an area where lobster has come to dominate in recent years.

The award gives occasion to revisit Maine’s export history, with census data that goes back to 2002 for a range of 5,808 different commodities (coded by the U.S. International Trade Commission’s Harmonized Tariff System).

Lobsters have been the top commodity since 2013, when electronic circuits fell from the top spot. That was due in that year to a change in the shipping route for semiconductors produced in Maine.

Though lobster exports fell last year, they remained the top export.

The 2013 change in semiconductor shipments reflects an important caveat to the export data, which is that it doesn’t reflect all Maine-made products that are ultimately sold abroad.

Civilian aircraft and parts, in second, give another example of a caveat with comparing one year to another, as one major plane delivery can boost those year-end figures.

And in 2015, it appears shipping routes changed again for semiconductors, bringing them back to be the state’s third-highest export, in the category of electronic integrated circuits.

Maine exports last year were up by more than $10 million from 2014, or about 0.5 percent.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.