Archive for January, 2013

The Demand Outweighs the Supply

January 31, 2013

ImageFootball and chicken wings go hand-in-hand, especially on Super Bowl Sunday!

Unfortunately, last summer’s drought has the potential to impact this delicacy and alter one of the nation’s biggest days in sports.

This happens to be peak season for chicken wings, which by no small coincidence is also peak season for many sports lovers – January through March, a span when the NFL Playoffs, the Super Bowl and March Madness take place.

The National Chicken Council states that the demand for wings this year is at “an all-time high” with it currently the highest priced portion of a chicken. However, record high corn and feed prices due to last summer’s drought have resulted in chicken companies producing about 1% fewer birds last year, as stated in an earlier PIERS blog).

How will these rising food prices and depressed supply of corn and grain continue to affect the U.S.? Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn!


Chinese Lunar New Year: Year of the Snake

January 29, 2013

Doing business in other countries means working within the cultural context. Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is fast approaching! It is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.

Manufacturing plants across China typically shut down and tens of millions of workers make long trips back to their home towns from the industrial cities where their jobs are. It has a huge impact on global supply chains originating in China and it’s not always back to business as usual, before and after the 15 day celebration.  The celebrations are also expected to affect port operations in terms of loading, barging schedule and possibly product availability.

Container shipping lines servicing the Asia-Europe trade lanes are moving to cut back on capacity, maybe even skipping a series of sailings during these two weeks, in preparation of volume lulls following the start of the holiday on February 10th


February is traditionally the slowest month of the year for imports; this is the time of the year when the U.S. can narrow the trade deficit with China, fewer goods and services are imported. In 2009 and 2012, the CNY fell in January affording 2 plus weeks of celebration with many Asian factories closed during the duration.

According to PIERS data, the volume waterborne imports from China during of the first quarter of every year is significantly lower than any other quarter of the year. In 2009, 12.9% less TEUs were imported compared to the previous quarter; 26.3% less in 2010; 8.1% in 2010; 8.4% less in 2011; and 8.7% less in 2012. Want to learn more about the details behind these container imports? PIERS solutions provide the support needed to accurately track vital trade intelligence around the world. Contact us today to have a PIERS solutions expert show you more.

Are Transpacific Container Rates Set to Rise in 2013?

January 24, 2013

As early as September of 2011, members of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) confirmed their dedication to reversing 2011 and 2012 losses. How? According to the TSA, raising the baseline for dry and reefer cargo freight rates as they head into a new round of 2013-14 contract negotiations with customers is essential, as shipping lines have experienced declining sales growth due to slow demand and the growing surplus of new, larger vessels.

Shanghai Container Freight Index

Courtesy of Shanghai Container Freight Index (SCFI), via

As of January 15, 2013, member lines in the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have begun recommending rate increases of $600 per 40-foot container (FEU) to the U.S. West Coast and inland coastal state destinations, and $800 per FEU to all other destinations. Yet SCFI data for the week of January 18th shows rates have only increased modestly with rates to the U.S. West Coast up $179 per FEU and rates to the East Coast up $145 per FEU.

The current climate of the industry includes freight rate increase, restrained demand and volatility – all which will be discussed at the 2013 TPM Conference, the largest shipping and logistics event in North America.

“By the time TPM in early March comes around, the results of carriers’ early 2013 efforts to boost spot rates in advance of service contract negotiations will be better understood. Carriers are aiming to reverse the negative trend of eastbound rates in the second half of 2012 but will be doing so against a backdrop of global overcapacity but also rising layups and scrappings. This combustible mix will make for an interesting Market Outlook session and indeed an interesting event this year,” said Peter Tirschwell, Senior Vice President of UBM Global Trade.

Keep abreast of current spot rate changes by visiting PIERS for up-to-date Shanghai Container Freight Index rates for the U.S. West Coast, U.S. East Coast, to Europe and to the Mediterranean.

PIERS January Food of the Month: U.S. Tangerine Imports

January 22, 2013

Originally indigenous to Southeast-Asia, tangerines have become one of the most popular winter fruits!

The word “tangerine” is derived from Tangier, a major city in Morocco. Located in the Northern part of the country, Tangier was well suited to trade with European countries; large assortments of items (commodities) were exported through Tangier. In 1710, the word “tangerine” entered the English language to describe things from that city and the word was adopted for the fruit specifically in the 1800s.


According to PIERS data, Peru and China dominate the U.S. tangerine market with 14,789,313 and 10,967,356 MTONS respectively, which represents a combined share of U.S. tangerine imports of 49.2%. The 3rd largest importer by volume is Chile, which imported 3,821,957 MTONs, while South Africa and Morocco round out the top 5 with 2,824,925 and 2,492,581 MTONS respectively.

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

January 17, 2013


“Separately there was only wind, water,
sail, and hull, but at my hand the four had been given purpose and direction.”

– Lowell Thomas



Traffic Jam

January 15, 2013

Coal, crude oil, petroleum, steel, cement, corn, wheat, soybean…all commodities that travel on along the Mighty Mississippi connecting the Gulf of Mexico with the Midwest.


The worst drought in 70 plus years is crippling the nation’s busiest waterway with river levels at record lows. One boat has already gone aground as water levels fall and giant barges have been bumping against the bottom and possibly bringing all traffic to a halt south of St. Louis. Prolonged stoppage of shipping on the Mississippi could have an economic impact reaching into the billions of dollars with the movement of goods reliant on river for transit. Shippers trying to move cargo to inland ports, ocean carriers and tankers waiting for cargo to reach the Gulf and the reverse, unloading cargo which has nowhere to go… all face the potential of being effected by dangerously low water levels in Mississippi .

The same drought that devastated crops throughout the Midwest over the summer was just as unkind to water; the Mighty Mississippi is dangerously narrow and shallow, exposing submerged rock formations. Dredging and rock removal near Thebes will continue through this month, with hopes that at the end of this week the channel will be at least two feet deeper to provide 10 feet of water to accommodate vessels. Work will continue to widen the river at several bends in its course.

If there’s a disruption to your supply chain, do you have the intelligence you need to act quickly? PIERS can help! Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.

Special Offer to PIERS TI® Subscribers

January 10, 2013


Upgrade Your Account and SAVE!

Current PIERS TI subscribers are entitled to our customer appreciation discount of 15% off if you upgrade your account to iPIERS by February 15th!

iPIERS is the leading solution for comprehensive searching and reporting on U.S. imports & exports. With cleansed, standardized data from iPIERS you’ll spend more time analyzing and less time manipulating the data.

The same trade data you trust with more advanced search capabilities:

  • Mixed cargo shipments broken out by individual commodities
  • Standardized company names & commodity descriptions
  • Company addresses parsed out by address, city, state & zip code fields
  • Download unlimited records
  • Run multiple searches simultaneously
  • Pay for only the commodity groups of interest to you



Shrimp Tales

January 8, 2013

Q1 - Q3_2012_U.S._Shrimp_Imports

Over 80% of shrimp consumed in the United  States is imported, a drastic change from just 20 years ago!

Gulf shrimpers seek relief from foreign, subsidized shrimp imports by seeking the implementation of duties to offset the unfair trade advantage. Petitions were filed with the federal government by the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries December 28th, 2012, which seek duties imposed to shrimp from:

  • China
  • Ecuador
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The petitions document numerous programs benefiting shrimp producers in these seven countries; Thai government purchasing domestic shrimp and processing it at artificially low prices, the Indian government helping to reduce shrimper processors’ ocean freight costs with added subsidies specifically for exports to U.S. markets and the Malaysian government investing millions of dollars to build shrimp farms and processing facilities to target various export markets.

Based on PIERS data, approximately 204,360 MTONs of shrimp were imported from these seven countries during the first three quarters of 2012; with the top share among Thailand (32.48%), Ecuador (18.81%) and Indonesia (14.13%). The coalition maintains that the countries covered by the petitions exported $4.3 billion worth of shrimp to the U.S. in 2011, accounting for 85% of imports.

PIERS offers instant access to details on U.S. import shipments. Our international trade data combined with market specific intelligence can help provide a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading. Register online for a demo.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from PIERS

January 1, 2013

This Holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to our loyal customers. There is no more fitting time to express our heart-felt thank you; the loyalty of those we service is the foundation for our success!


We hope that you rejoice in the spirit of the season and may joy warm your home and your heart.

We at PIERS wish you a jolly,  blissful Holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

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