Archive for August, 2011

Making Sense of the Japanese Economy

August 23, 2011

Since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, it’s been difficult to make predictions for the Japanese economy—the third largest in the world. In April, Data in Motion warned of falling demand but possible opportunities for growth following the fall-out from the natural disasters. Four months later, PIERS’ sister company, The Journal of Commerce, continues to report the Japanese economy is shrinking and exports are declining with significant trade surpluses—signs that overall recovery could be more sluggish than predicted. 

The Japanese economy shrank 0.3 percent in the second quarter of this year from the preceding quarter, or at an annualized pace of 1.3 percent, in real terms, the government said in a preliminary report released August 15. The Cabinet Office blamed the decline primarily on slumping exports since March. 

Exports to the United States also fell for the fifth straight month, and U.S.imports are also down. Japan posted a second consecutive monthly trade surplus in July as the country’s exports recovered.

On the plus side, analysts now expect GDP growth to return to the positive territory in the July-September quarter as industrial production is recovering rapidly. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister, Kaoru Yosano, also told reporters he expects “relatively high” GDP growth later this year thanks to demand related to reconstruction.

Predictions and forecasts are important to businesses in the supply chain industry, but the numbers don’t lie. How will you keep your eye on Japanese imports and exports? Be ready for the next turn of the market. Contact us at (800) 952-3839 or register for a free demo to learn more about our solutions.


Kevin Burwell on the PIERS Difference

August 16, 2011

Nothing is more important than the feedback of our customers! The PIERS team was delighted when Kevin Burwell, Director of Foreign Trade Zone Services for the Virginia Port Authority, volunteered his comments on using PIERS data for a video on our YouTube channel.

In it, Burwell explains that PIERS data helps the Port Authority talk to customers from an educated perspective—they know what the competition is doing and are always looking for new opportunities using PIERS products and solutions. PIERS information recently played a major role in the Port Authority’s taking over of the APM Terminals—a $600 million investment—as well as the opening of the Heartland Corridor and other opportunities in the Ohio Valley. He described how he often looks to the PIERS support team to bring new information to them and provide helpful tips on getting the most out of their investment in PIERS.

See for yourself! Register to take a free demo today.


All Aboard! PIERS Rail Analysis Now Available

August 9, 2011

Approximately 60 percent of all intermodal traffic is generated by international trade—intermodal cargoes account for 21 percent of U.S. Class I rail carrier revenue, second only to coal. With growing problems on the road—such as aging infrastructure, rising fuel costs, congestion and higher emissions—rail is looking more and more attractive for long-haul freight movement.

PIERS brings you these and other insights on the rail industry in a free report, “PIERS Rail Market Analysis.” Register here and a PIERS account executive will email you the full report. In this report, PIERS provides an analysis of Class I Intermodal Volume, comparing the advantages of rail versus truck transport and detailing top rail commodities. The figures below display the Class I rail share of the top five imported commodities by volume at the 2-digit harmonized code level and the top five containerized commodities in U.S. outbound trade by volume and the Class I share of moving them to seaports.

With frequent access to PIERS data, you can track and analyze the U.S. supply chain and understand the movement of goods by identifying import and export activity by origin, destination, commodity, etc. PIERS helps railroads research import and export trade activity, view U.S. and foreign port volumes, analyze cargo flow and volumes, identify cargo type by container, bulk, refrigerated, RoRo  and breakbulk, identify container size and more. Register at and a PIERS account executive will email you the full report.

PIERS data is put into perspective in this report by Dr. Mike Fusillo, who has provided numerous analyses of the transportation industry. He holds over 20 years of experience in applied economics in the fields of maritime transport and international trade, infrastructure economics, economic development, survey research and design, traffic and revenue models and forecasts, antitrust and industrial economics, and studies of pricing and demand. A sought-after speaker and educator, he has also engaged in projects related to construction risk analysis and environmental quality.  To learn more about Dr. Fusillo’s services, please contact him at

A Debt Deal Has Been Reached — Now What?

August 2, 2011

The compromise between Congressional leaders and the White House reached on Sunday allowed us to all breathe a sigh of relief, for now. But, as always, the devil is in the details and new economic figures are not painting a pretty picture of the recovery we assumed to be ahead.

The New York Times reported yesterday that any relief over the last-minute agreement on a framework in Washington to raise the United States debt limit was short-lived. After a short burst that put the three main Wall Street indexes up more than 1 percent, they turned negative as reality caught up with investors.

The dip coincided with the release of new data that showed American manufacturing growing more slowly. The Institute for Supply Management reported that its index registered 50.9 percent in July; with a reading over 50, that means the manufacturing sector expanded for the 24th consecutive month. But it did so at a slower rate, registering below the 55.3 of June, the survey showed. Production and employment also showed continued growth in July, but at slower rates than in June.

In the article, Nick Kalivas, vice president of financial research at MF Global said, “The market is focusing on the global growth picture.” This means the focus is off Washington and back on the volatile European markets, as well as Asia export, which remains embroiled in a dollar vs. yen stand-off.

The debt woes in the United States had undermined the dollar’s value in international currency markets in recent weeks, especially against the yen—a worrying trend for Japanese exporters, as a strong yen makes their goods more expensive for shoppers overseas.

We are sure to see the consequences of U.S. and global events take a toll on various import and export markets in the weeks and months to come. As the Times reports, trade with Asia and the health of European markets have widespread effects on business strategies globally. How are you tracking the effects of current events on your business? Open up markets and track trends using PIERS intelligence to keep up.

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