Total traffic for all imports entering all U.S. ports was up 1% in week 21, 2011, compared to the same week in 2010, according to U.S. import market data compiled by Zepol Corp. For the year to date, overall traffic is up 7% over the same period in 2010.

Continuing a recent trend, steel imports had the biggest positive gain in week 21, being up 13% over the comparable week in 2010. The next-best performing sector were food & beverage imports, which were up 3%.

However, electronics imports were down by 13% in week 21, compared to the same week in 2010. Furniture imports were down 8%, mineral & stone were down 7%, and wood & pulp imports were down 6%. The other categories were basically flat (0%-1% change from a year ago).

On a regional basis, activity at the East Coast ports was up 16%, paced by steel imports (up 42%). Similarly, a dramatic increase in steel imports (71%) also helped the Gulf Coast ports see an uptick in activity of 9% compared to the previous year. Activity at the West Coast ports was down 8%), and at all other ports was down 18%.