Archive for November, 2012

Decrease in China’s Toy Market Share

November 29, 2012

China may be considered the workshop of the world; with the combination of a large manufacturing base, relatively low labor costs and numerous support policies have made China an extremely attractive option for international business. With 1.3 billion people, cheap labor in China seemed unlimited at a time.

US Toy Imports Q3 2012

Despite its rapid growth in recent decades, many of the advantages that have fueled the expansion of Chinese manufacturing are beginning to deteriorate. Labor and raw material costs in China have seen a steady increase and many commodity-type goods can no longer be competitively sourced from China, such as toys. With Chinese wages rising at about 17% per year and the value of the Yuan continuing to increase, the gap between U.S. and Chinese wages is narrowing rapidly; increasing costs even before inventory and shipping costs are considered.

In a recent article in The Journal of Commerce, PIERS data showed China’s toy imports to the U.S. declined from an 82.4% market share in 2011, to 81.2% in 2012, while the next largest importer, Hong Kong experienced similar decline with its market share slipping to 6.5% from 6.9% a year earlier.

Meanwhile it seems China and Hong Kong’s decline in market share has been spread across a number of much smaller toy exporters.  The next largest source of toy imports after China and Hong Kong is Vietnam, which increased its market share position by .2% from 1.3% to 1.5%, which translates to 765 TEUs. Similarly, Germany increased their market share by .4% to 1.1% and showed the most significant increase in terms of import volume with an increase of 1,315 TEUs over the same period last year.

PIERS/JOC, Economist, Mario Moreno, offers a possible explanation for the recent shift in production, “Labor supply in labor-intensive industries is very tight, which has prompted many owners to move their (Chinese) factories inland, but even then they are still struggling to find enough workers for their export production activities. Many owners have relocated their shops to Vietnam in order to lessen their labor supply problems in China.”

Looking to keep track of a specific commodity? PIERS products give you a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading it. Analyze commodity growth trends, leading producers, source suppliers and more! Click here to register for a free demo.


Quotes in Motion

November 27, 2012

“To me the sea is a continual miracle; the fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, what stranger miracles are there?”  –Walt Whitman

Happy Thanksgiving from PIERS

November 22, 2012

We at PIERS send a special greeting this Thanksgiving, to express to you our sincere appreciation for your confidence and loyalty.

We are deeply thankful and extend to you our best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season! Wishing you a Thanksgiving overflowing with love and laughter; may your holiday be filled with joyful noise!

Have a happy and healthy Holiday.

Holiday Savory Sips

November 20, 2012

Uncork a great Thanksgiving this year with a bottle of red! Before you toast and sip in honor of Thanksgiving, consider these figures pulled from PIERS StatsPlus of the top sources of U.S. wine imports.


Planning what wine(s) to serve at your Holiday meals can be overwhelming. You don’t need a personal wine steward at your side to make decisions about matching wine with your menu. Holiday foods tend to be rich and full-flavored; red wine has long been the classic choice for Thanksgiving because its light berry brightness contrasts well with the heartiness of the traditional menu…ever wonder the difference between red wines?

  • Pinot Noir: Younger wines are fruity with essence of plums, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. Older wines have a smoky edge to them.
  • Syrah: Strong spice and black pepper qualities. Older syrahs are fruitier, with some smokiness. Also called Shiraz if it comes from Australia.
  • Zinfandel: Lots of intense, plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.
  • Beaujolais: Light and dry with fresh, fruity flavors. Choose more recent vintages and serve it slightly chilled.

Enjoy your turkey and red wine!

U.S. Energy Self-Sufficiency

November 15, 2012

Do we dare call it…an energy renaissance? 

The global energy supply is rapidly and dramatically shifting; the fracturing of underground shale rock formations to extract oil and gas has led to a much needed economic boom across the U.S.  A combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has helped increase U.S. supplies, that will significantly reduce imports from traditional suppliers like Saudi Arabia, like the North Sea, West Africa. In a turnaround that would have seemed far-fetched a few years ago, the United States is projected to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2020 while cutting its own energy use faster than any other nation, the International Energy Agency reports.

New fuel efficiency standard for cars and light-duty trucks along with increased use of renewable energy and biofuels, will slash the nation’s per-capita fossil-fuel usage between 2010 and 2035.  The U.S. relies on imports for 20% of its energy needs, but the report said increased production and higher vehicle-fuel standards will help make the country “all but self-sufficient” by 2035. It is also projected that a reduction in domestic oil demand will help decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 2035.

North America’s new role in the world energy markets will accelerate a change in the direction of international oil trade toward Asia. PIERS data can reveal the details behind every waterborne shipment of crude oil into the U.S. in addition to details on exports of oil derivatives like gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.

Recycling and Reusing Old Shipping Containers

November 13, 2012

Big, strong and seemingly unbreakable — shipping containers are a great place to start for a new style of building! The rise of innovative green architecture has created in increasingly in-vogue practice: stacking and linking rugged, versatile freight shipping containers and transforming them into fully inhabitable structures.

In an earlier PIERS blog we asked, how do you get rid of shipping containers when you don’t want them anymore?


This distinctive structure was inspired by the endless shipping containers visible outside of the windows of Starbucks corporate offices in Seattle…since the containers are used to ship their coffee all over the world. This drive-thru location was created from 4 containers: one 20-foot container and three 40-foot containers.

Starbucks in Tukwila, WA

Fawood Children’s Centre 

The Fawood Childrens’ Centre in Harlesden, London, provides a delightful safe environment for pre-school children. Three recycled shipping containers, resembling giant children’s building blocks, have been specially adapted, decorated and fitted out to provide the necessary indoor play and teaching areas.

Fawood Children's Center in London, England

Fawood Children’s Center in London, England

Puma City 

Puma City is an 11,000-square-foot store and nightclub, crafted with 24 red shipping containers, located a mere stone’s throw from Boston’s Fenway Park. Puma City is a three level indoor-outdoor structure, constructed out of 24 steel shipping containers. The building acts as a store, lounge and mobile home base at different ports around the world. The structure is designed to be easily taken apart, shipped and reassembled anywhere in the world.

Puma in Boston, MA

Puma in Boston, MA

What other examples of “container chic” have you seen or read about? Let us know by joining the conversation on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn!

Port of Miami: Post-Panamax Access

November 8, 2012

The nature of global trade is about to change.

For the second-time in its almost 100-year history, the Panama Canal will significantly alter global trade…with the main impact being felt here on the U.S. East Coast and Gulf ports (as stated in an earlier PIERS blog). The Panama Canal will soon have a third lane that can accommodate mega-ships nearly three times larger than any vessel that has ever transited the isthmus over the past century.

The canal upgrade encompasses modifications on both the Pacific and Atlantic ends of the canal, construction of new lock complexes, deepening of the navigation channels, water-saving basins, and excavation of new access channels and elevation of the maximum operating level of Gatun Lake, a huge artificial lake that forms a major part of the Panama Canal. The likelihood of increased import/export shipping and high anticipation of economic windfall from the larger capacity post-Panamax ships, sparked years of studies and planning efforts to deepen ports and create landside infrastructure. Currently, four West Coast ports are already post-Panamax ready while Norfolk is the only East Coast port that is post-Panamax ready. Baltimore, New York and Miami are all scheduled to be post-Panamax ready (dredging, rail, highway improvements, raising bridge height) between 2013 – 2015.

With Miami’s geographical advantage, it is poised to ride an economic wave with the completion of the canal expansion. The unique mix of services at the Port of Miami and its relationship to local, regional and international economies makes it the natural maritime transshipment point for cargo in both the north-south trade between the Americas and the growing east-west trade with Asia. Their goal – be the first port of call for many vessels after passing through the canal with a new focus on logistics and international trade. How?


Bringing the Biscayne Bay channel depth to 50 feet to accommodate the larger, fully laden post-Panamax ships and provide ships with a more efficient, reliable and safe navigational route into the Port of Miami.


Reestablishing the link between the port and the Hialeah Intermodal Rail yard that connects to national rail lines (Norfolk Southern and CSX in Jacksonville); create a 400-acre, rail serviced logistics park with 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space adjacent to Miami International Airport and Hialeah yard where imports in 40-foot containers can be swapped to 53-foot domestic containers, stored or reconfigured for final delivery.

Truck Tunnel

Construction of a tunnel that will serve as a dedicated roadway connector linking port facilities with Florida’s Interstate 1-95—only four minutes away.


Creating an on dock intermodal facility for ease of ship-to-rail container transport, allow greater access to inland port facilities (Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale) where an intermodal transfer facility (ITCF) will be built for a seamless connection to major railroads.

All of these infrastructure changes are designed to increase the flow of goods heading north. The Port of Miami and Florida East Coast Railway are currently focused on not only enticing ocean carriers but also manufacturers, exporters, importers, 3PLs, freight-forwarders and custom house brokers for greater market penetration. Miami has been approached to work with Chinese business interests as a principal access point for Asian imports into the southeast U.S.; under consideration is a dedicated on-port office tower for Chinese multi-national firms located in the midst of a downtown Miami World Trade Center complex. Allowing opportunity for Chinese multi-nationals to display goods for the entire market of the Americas, as Miami is already a center of trade and commerce for Latin America as well as the southeast U.S.

PIERS’ U.S. port data now lets you drill all the way down to the individual terminal operators, learn more about PIERS terminal data. PIERS offers comprehensive, transaction level trade details for international countries’ imports and exports via waterborne, rail, truck, air and pipeline modes of transportation.  For more information on our international data visit PIERS and request a FREE sample.

New Jersey is Our Home Too!

November 5, 2012


UBM Global Trade, parent company of PIERS has taken the following steps to assist during this difficult time. Please see elements of our action plan below, and please send to UBM Global Trade for additional details.

Office Space: We are opening up our Newark, NJ headquarters to our customers. If an individual was displaced and needs a temporary place to work, please alert us. Similarly, if you are an organization that has space you can volunteer, or wish to rent short term, please send to UBM Global Trade. We will be sure to coordinate between all interested parties and hopefully find some matches for our clients to get people back on their professional feet.

Charity Donations: If you wish to nominate an organization to be part of UBM Global Trade’s giving program related to this disaster, please contact us.

On behalf of UBM Global Trade our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted during this difficult time. New Jersey is our home too. If there are other ways you think we can assist during this time, please feel free to suggest additional ideas.

Gavin Carter
EVP UBM Global Trade – PIERS

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