Archive for May, 2012

What Impact is Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers Having on Ocean Freight?

May 31, 2012

Import shipments arranged by Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) outpaced that of total import growth by 0.9 percentage points in 2011, according to the “PIERS NVOCC Market Report– Import Market Dynamics 2011 vs. 2010”. While NVOCC growth is positive, the industry has slowed considerably from its performance between 2006-2010, as previous reported in  Data in Motion just weeks ago. PIERS recent NVOCC Market Analysis Report provides a detailed assessment of the performance of NVOCCs in U.S. ocean liner shipper market.


The report is available for a complimentary download by visiting

How much do you currently know about NVOCCs?  Take our quiz



How Will the Panama Canal Expansion Alter Global Trade for U.S. East Coast Ports?

May 29, 2012

The shortest path between two points is a straight line, it just so happens that this line is 50 miles long and the two points are the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Photo Credit: AP


Global trade has grown dramatically, as we all know, but one of the most vital transit routes – the Panama Canal – has remained the same since it opened in 1914. This will all change by the end of 2014 when the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal should be completed, enabling the movement of larger vessels with a maximum draft of 50 feet instead of the current draft limit of 39.5 feet. With a deeper draft, 25% longer and 50% wider ships can pass freely through the canal carrying two or three times the cargo with a maximum of 12,600 TEUs. This will alter the pattern of trade, impacting the Unites States most as being the destination or origin of two-thirds of the goods that pass through the canal.

This is a project of massive proportions; the scene is frantic with non-stop activity from workers and machines laboring in the tropical heat. Giant hydraulic excavators scoop and remove blasted rock and soil…ever wonder how much canal crews are dredging for the expansion? 130 million cubic meters of rock and soil…enough to fill the Empire State Building nearly 130 times. Interesting!

East and Gulf Coast developments are of great importance to West Coast ports with the Panama Canal Expansion project; the West and East Coast ports in recent years have engaged in a battle over market share. This battle will only intensify when big ships are able to transit the canal in 2014. Container trade will see one of the biggest changes, as expansion will enable massive post-Panamax vessels to use the canal. Shipping companies in Asia will be able to use the canal to bypass the West Coast and sail directly into ports such as New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Jacksonville, and Norfolk.


Source: PIERS

The Port of New York-New Jersey is the one to keep your eye on. It is the largest on the East Coast, with room to expand. Currently only 50% of its 12 million TEUs of capacity is being utilized, in addition to the construction on the Bayonne Bridge and fast rail intermodal being serviced by two railroads – the East Coast is getting ready. The number of vessel calls on the East and Gulf Coasts will increase significantly as cargo shifts away from the West Coast, which at “boom” times experiences congestion.

The challenge is predicting the extent and location of the impact. How will you prepare for the altered pattern of trade?

Use PIERS data to identify which ship lines, ports, terminals and trade lanes are being used and so much more. Visit PIERS to find the solution that’s right for you.

New Trade Agreement with Colombia: A “Bold Job-Creating Trade Agenda”

May 23, 2012

A controversial free trade agreement with Colombia took effect last week after several revisions by President Obama since he took office. For Latin America’s fourth-largest economy, the deal will allow producers of everything from cut flowers to textiles to agricultural commodities to ship their products tariff-free to the U.S.

The trade agreement, created under the administration of President George W. Bush, allowed more than 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Colombia to become duty-free immediately, while remaining tariffs will be phased out over 10 years. U.S. exports previously paid tariffs of between 7% and 15%.

PIERS sister company, The Journal of Commerce, recently reported that the free trade agreement with the South American country is expected to boost bilateral trade and tap into the emerging economy.

“This landmark agreement opens the door to new business opportunities, economic growth, and job creation in the U.S. and Colombia,” said Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Rather than rest on our laurels, we must continue to push forward with a bold job-creating trade agenda.”

U.S. exports to Colombia have quadrupled in the last 10 years and hit $14 billion last year, according to the Chamber. Bilateral trade reached nearly $30 billion, and the U.S. bought about 38% of all Colombian exports, making it by far Colombia’s largest market.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the first products shipped tariff-free were crates of Colombian roses and other flowers that landed last Tuesday morning at Miami’s airport. Heading the other direction was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which previously paid a 15% tariff, that was due to be unloaded at Bogota’s airport, fresh off a factory floor in Kansas, a Colombian trade ministry official said.

The long-negotiated agreement was not without controversy. It had met with strong opposition from U.S. labor organizations for several years, which are worried about jobs being sent abroad and union-busting violence in Colombia. The Obama administration said in April that Colombia took the needed steps to improve labor conditions, the last hurdle to implementation of the agreement.

How do you plan to keep an eye on new trade developments in Colombia? PIERS offers comprehensive coverage of Columbian and other South American countries’ imports and exports for all modes of transportation including waterborne, rail, truck, air and pipeline.  For more information on our international data visit and request a FREE sample.

Cargo Import Volume Expected to Show Modest Growth

May 15, 2012

NVOCC-Arranged Import Market Remains Uncertain Even As It Outpaces Overall U.S. Inbound Ocean Liner Market, Says PIERS Report

Imports of shipped cargo will continue to show modest growth in 2012 while the outlook for cargo shipments arranged by Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) remains uncertain, according to the “PIERS NVOCC Market Report– Import Market Dynamics 2011 vs. 2010.” The report, however, notes that NVOCC-arranged imports showed higher growth than the overall U.S. inbound ocean liner market.

NVOCC-arranged import volume grew 2.8 percent in 2011, while traditional carrier cargo volume grew by 2.2 percent, the report adds. Likewise, NVOCC-associated cargo value in 2011 increased by 1.9 percent compared to an overall containerized import cargo value increase of 1.7 percent. In relative terms, NVOCC market share showed the largest gains in the Oceania trade (+18.1%), West Coast South America (+15.5%) and Central America (11.9%) and NVOCC cargo value market share increased in seven of the fourteen trade regions.

The report further shows that while NVOCC growth is positive, the industry has slowed considerably from its performance between 2006-2010. It adds that the remainder of 2012 is not expected to show markedly better performance for the NVOCC industry as global growth is forecasted to range from between 2.5 percent and 4.2 percent with ocean cargoes suffering another year of only marginal growth.  The report emphasizes, however, that the performance of the NVOCC industry in the coming years will hinge on whether shippers will prefer to work more with NVOCC and other third-party logistics providers during down times than during periods of higher growth.

“In general, the report shows NVOCCs faced a thinner market in 2011 than in 2010, and global growth forecasts show 2012 will not be much different,” said PIERS Executive Vice President, Gavin Carter. “Because PIERS has been documenting the NVOCC involvement in the market since 2002, we can offer detailed business intelligence to the container shipping industry with highly targeted insights on NVOCC participation.”

The report enables users to track import growth of NVOCCs in the U.S. and around the world. It includes both aggregate NVOCC industry and individual NVOCC company market share by major trade region, volume, value of trade and carrier (VOCC) association. These assessments offer a view of performance over time so the U.S. can compare NVOCC performance with overall market growth. The report is available for a complimentary download or by visiting

The PIERS NVOCC Market Report series is intended to be a catalyst that will spark dialogue and build a greater sense of community within the waterborne transportation industry. Visit for more information, or join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to discuss these findings.

PIERS Supports Local Habitat for Humanity Project

May 11, 2012

Yesterday PIERS employees joined their fellow UBM Global Trade colleagues and traded in their laptops for hammers and hard hats at a local Habitat for Humanity volunteer project in Newark, NJ.  Altogether 17 volunteers participated in helping to rehabilitate a local home to provide affordable housing for low income families.

“Our UBM GT Gives Back initiative is an opportunity for our teams to make a positive impact on the lives of those that are less fortunate.   We had an amazing day together, everyone found it to be extremely rewarding to give back to the community that’s been home to our headquarters for the last 12 years, and we look forward to finding more ways to give back to our local community,” said Penne Gabel, Vice President of Human Resources at UBM Global Trade.

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About Habitat for Humanity

Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.

Today, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 500,000 houses, sheltering 2.5 million people worldwide.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity or find volunteer opportunities in your area visit

Lightering the Load to Meet Underserved Ports

May 8, 2012

PIERS products empower our customers by providing them with valuable insights that help them make informed and profitable decisions.  As the leader in global trade intelligence, PIERS has the most comprehensive database of transactional data passing through U.S. and international ports.

But what happens when cargo is offloaded prior to coming in to port?  Lightering is the process of transferring cargo between vessels of different sizes, usually to reduce a vessel’s draft in order to enter port facilities which can’t accept larger vessels.  Although not nearly as common place as it was at the turn of the century, lightering is still a fairly common practice among the oil tanking industry.


Recently, a major oil company approached PIERS for help in assessing the effects of lightering on oil imports to the US. They wanted to know specifically:

  • How much fuel was being offloaded before coming to port?
  • Was their competition underreporting the volume they were bringing in?
  • Was their competition offloading to smaller ships to service smaller ports?

By running a special customized report, PIERS was able to deliver a wealth of data to their client, giving them valuable insight into how lightering was effecting oil imports.  Armed with this information, they not only have a clearer picture of what their competition is doing, they also have the ability to assess opportunities in smaller ports that may be underserved due to lack of access by larger tankers.

For more information about how PIERS data can help grow your business, visit us online or call +1-973-776-8660 to speak with a solutions expert.

U.S. Container Imports Up 7.3% in March

May 1, 2012

Driven by a surge in furniture and auto parts shipments to the U.S., containerized imports in March rose 7.3% over 2011. This increase came on the heels of a 5.9% decline in February.  On a month-to-month basis, overall imports climbed 15.2% in March, following a contraction of 19% in February.

“Latest TEU data supports my view of very modest imports growth through the second half of the year,” said Mario O. Moreno, economist for The Journal of Commerce/PIERS. “Although the U.S. economy is showing signs of deceleration, it will likely be momentary as the FED has made it clear it is prepared to do more if conditions worsen. Imports growth should regain speed in the second half of the year.”

Leading the gains were furniture, up 15%, empty containers & drums, up 178% and auto parts, up 15%.  Sales of existing homes declined for two consecutive months through March, which is a concern for the short-term imports outlook of furniture and other home goods. Solid gains were also seen in miscellaneous plastic products (+17%), bananas (+12%), and miscellaneous metal ware (+18%). On the downside, miscellaneous fruits lost 17% of TEU volume, while imports of footwear and menswear were down by 9% and 10%, respectively.

On a regional level, imports from Northeast Asia rose by the most, up 11%. North Europe followed, advancing 6%, while shipments from the Mediterranean surged 12%. Leading the losses were the Indian Subcontinent and East Coast South America, down 7% and 8% respectively.

On a country level, shipments from China showed the most gains, up 13%. This sharp jump in shipments from China is mostly owed to an easier year-over-year comparison with March 2011 base as the 2012 Lunar New Year came early. Vietnam followed with a remarkable gain of 32%, while imports from Germany jumped 11%. Leading the losses, shipments from Brazil lost 16% TEU volume in the month.

Overall U.S. containerized imports advanced 2% in Q1 year-over-year, to a total of 4,032,857 TEUs. This growth compares favorably to Moreno’s forecast of 1.5% as presented in the March 2012 issue of JOC Container Shipping Outlook.

To learn more about how PIERS data can help your company visit or call 973-776-8660.

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