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Top US Tobacco Exporters

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Currently the planet's 4th largest exporter: the United States produces just over 200,000 Tons of tobacco yearly.

Approximately 590 containers of tobacco products leave the US every month.

While there is a sizable market for tobacco products in the United States, this article provides an in-depth analysis of producers and exporters of American grown tobacco specifically.

Almost all US tobacco exports ship from the East Coast. Major ports include Norfolk Virginia (42%), Newark New Jersey (12%), Savannah Georgia (11%), and Chester Pennsylvania (6%).

The primary destinations include The Dominican Republic (16%), Belgium (15%), China (13%), Oman (6%), and Germany (5%).

Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

US Tobacco Cooperative is a grower-owned cooperative that produces and markets tobacco leaf and other tobacco products. The cooperative is committed to providing high-quality tobacco products to its customers while ensuring the sustainability of the tobacco farming industry. The cooperative has a network of more than 500 tobacco growers across the US.

Nearly all US Tobacco Cooperative goods depart from Norfolk Virginia.

From there, US Tobacco Cooperative ships to numerous countries in all major continents; including: China, Taiwan, Russia, Germany, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia, United States

Universal Leaf North America is one of the largest tobacco leaf merchants in the world. The company sources, processes, and sells tobacco leaf to manufacturers of tobacco products. Universal Leaf North America has operations in over 30 countries.

A seasonal trend can be observed in both imports and exports (with imports peaking November-October and exports generally peaking February-March). Import and export volume are roughly even.

The majority of Universal Leaf exports depart from Norfolk Virginia (beginning to see a trend?).

Norfolk is also the destination for most Universal Leaf imports, with a decent amount of freight arriving in ports scattered across the east coast, west coast, and golf.

Headquarters: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. is a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., one of the largest tobacco companies in the US. The company produces several popular cigarette brands, including Camel, Newport, and Pall Mall.

RJ Reynolds primarily imports tobacco products; however, their export activity accounts for a consistent, albeit smaller, volume of their total freight movement.

In line with the pattern of other tobacco companies, RJ Reynolds freight movement is centered around the port of Norfolk Virginia.

Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

British American Tobacco Group is a multinational tobacco company that operates in over 180 countries. The company produces several popular cigarette brands, including Lucky Strike, Dunhill, and Rothmans.

While British American Tobacco exports flow through Norfolk Virginia, the majority of their freight movement is comprised of imports entering through the port of Houston Texas.

British American Tobacco freight arrives and departs from numerous countries in all continents.

But, unlike most US tobacco companies, British American Tobacco trade sees high volumes of freight moving across the US/Canada and US/Mexico border.

Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish Match is a Swedish company that produces and sells smokeless tobacco, cigars, and other tobacco products. The company is committed to responsible business practices and sustainable growth. Swedish Match is also involved in several sustainability initiatives, including sustainable tobacco farming and reducing its environmental impact.

Swedish Match breaks the trend observed thus far of tobacco product exports departing from Norfolk Virginia (Swedish Match products depart mainly through New York, NY and Miami, FL).

Swedish Match tobacco products account for only 63% of freight. The companies product portfolio includes nicotine smoke-free products, tobacco alternatives, matches, and lighters as well. This information can be found by looking through their website, or by a quick glance at their product classification graph below:

Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia, United States

General Cigar Co. is a subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, one of the largest tobacco companies in the world. The company produces several popular cigar brands, including Macanudo, Cohiba, and Partagas. General Cigar Co. is committed to providing high-quality cigars and upholding responsible business practices.

As a Cigar manufacturer, General Cigar Co. freight movement occurs primarily between the port of Miami Florida and South American countries (mainly Honduras and the Dominican Republic).

A reasonable insight to draw from this information may be that General Cigar Co., serving a US-based market, exports american tobacco to rollers and manufacturers in South America, then imports finished products for distribution within the United States.

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