Archive for February, 2013

Quotes in Motion

February 28, 2013


No nation was ever ruined by trade.”  ~Benjamin Franklin


Preserve Perishables in Reefer Containers

February 26, 2013

Global trade has connected us, making it feel as if we are just a hop, skip and a jump away from different regions of the world, allowing us to gain access to distant markets. In reality the physical distance has not decreased, there is a need for atmosphere management to ensure the quality of perishable commodities.

Refrigerated cargo units (reefers) provide a regulated temperature and humidity and, in many cases, a controlled atmosphere as well.  There is very little margin for error when shipping perishable commodities – whether they be frozen, chilled or simply temperature controlled in an insulated container.  Reefer containers allow for optimum conditions of waterborne shipments of meat, pharmaceutical medications, fish, fruit, dairy produce, flowers and other perishable items serving the function of keeping cargo fresh for prolonged periods.

As stated in an earlier PIERS blog, the world is experiencing global economic growth. Regions with emerging economies (such as Asia, Africa and parts of Europe) now have a higher level of disposable income, affording higher quality foods and creating a demand for perishables products – especially animal protein, which is good news for the U.S.  Georgia is the U.S. leader in the export of poultry products.  Shipped in reefer cargo, Georgia’s meat industry grew by 21% in 2012, an increase of more than $220 million. Savannah is by far the leading exporter of poultry in the country, accounting for 40% of poultry exports in 2012 which explains why one of the country’s largest cold storage warehouses is moving in close proximity to the port.

2012 US Waterborne Reefer Poultry Exports

Planning to attend this year’s Trans Pacific Maritime (TPM) Conference in Long Branch, CA from March 3-6, 2013? Join us for a full day session regarding cool cargoes and the rapidly growing North American refrigerated cargo market. Topics include:

  • An overview of the U.S. reefer market
  • Slow steaming service
  • Reefer equipment management
  • FDA-proof cold chain
  • Sustainability

Can’t join us at TPM? Contact us today to have a PIERS solutions expert show you how PIERS reefer data can identify refrigerated cargo. We can also tell you the consignee, shipper, carrier name, commodity and more.

Transatlantic Trading Power

February 21, 2013

The European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, accounting for half of global economic output and close to $4 trillion in trade. Integrating the two economies with a pact would promote growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic; reviving growth and creating jobs in the face of competition from China and other emerging markets.

Following President Obama’s endorsement in his latest State of the Union Address, it was announced last Wednesday that each country will initiate the internal procedures necessary to begin negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. A joint statement from both countries vowed to complete talks on a new trade agreement within two years, as outlining an ambitious timeline for a project which coincides with the end of the current European Commission’s team.

2011 US Waterborne Exports to E.U.

2011 US Waterborne Imports from EU

The pact aims to not only to eliminate import duties and tariffs that currently exist between the U.S. and EU, but also to reshape global regulations governing products like cars, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The goal is to set the global standard for product safety and protection of intellectual property. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that eliminating trans-Atlantic tariffs would boost trade between the U.S. and E.U. (now worth about $1 trillion) by more than $120 billion within five years.

Want to learn more about the details behind these container imports? PIERS provides business solutions needed to accurately track vital trade intelligence around the world. Contact us today to have a PIERS solutions expert show you more.

Texas Remains on Top

February 20, 2013

In the 1990s, California was America’s export leader. Then, in 2002, Texas took the lead and never looked back.  For the 11th year in a row, Texas remains the top exporting state according to 2012 annual trade data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Total exports for the state increased 5.4% from 2011, reaching $265 billion, and ultimately outperformed overall U.S. exports.


Once dependent on natural gas imports, the U.S. has gone from a buyer to a potential seller after recent natural gas discoveries across the country (as stated in a previous PIERS blog) are made accessible with new extraction technology. The U.S. oil and gas industry has been surging and Texas has been a beneficiary of that trend with its top exporting industry in 2012 being petroleum and coal products. Other top exporting commodities were chemicals, computer and electronic products, non-electrical machinery and transportation equipment.

“The fact that Texas is ranked the nation’s top exporter for the 11th year in a row further demonstrates that our strong economic climate provides a broad range of opportunities for businesses to succeed,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Could it be that America is making progress towards the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2015? To learn more about the unique advantages of using PIERS U.S. Export Data visit or click here to register for a free demo.

PIERS February Food of the Month: Chocolate

February 14, 2013

The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend a collective $18.6 billion this year on flowers, candy, jewelry and other tokens of love for their love during the 2013 Valentine’s Day celebration. A mix of traditional and non-traditional Valentine’s Day gifts will be popular this year but more than half of gift givers will buy candy, chocolate most likely, to say “I love you”.


Imported with love, enjoy savoring your sweet treats today. Happy Valentine’s Day from PIERS!

Helping to Feed the World: Fertilizer

February 12, 2013

Fertilizers are well known for their contribution to the world’s food supply. Soil plus fertilizer can produce more crops than soil alone, which is essential to domestic and global food production.


Increasing world populations are placing greater demands on U.S. agriculture to produce more food – hence requiring more fertilizer. The U.S. is the largest importer of fertilizer in the world, as domestic supply is inadequate for some nutrients; imports account for the majority of North American fertilizer consumption. The U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows farmers today are using fertilizer nutrients with the most efficiency in history. Farmers in the U.S. are highly productive, providing food and grain to meet domestic demands while also producing and exporting for a large portion of the world.

Fertilizer mixtures contain various concentrations of nitrogen, ammonium sulphate, potassium chloride (potash) or urea; all considered straight or basic materials. These can be applied directly to the soil or combined to become compound fertilizers; compound fertilizers are needed depending on the crop and the condition of the soil.




Forecasts estimate the world’s population at nine billion by about 2050. Without fertilizer to boost crop production in the areas already cultivated, additional land would need to be used for production to keep people fed and healthy.

Want to learn more about the details behind these fertilizer 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.

The JOC Launches a New Tool to Benchmark Port Productivity

February 7, 2013

Faster services, upsurges in cargo transported, quicker turn-around time…increased efficiency is the answer.


Port efficiency ranks high on the priority list for ocean carriers and shippers alike, as it benefits more than just the ocean carriers’ bottom line – it can affect global supply chains. Getting ships in and out of port quickly is critical for ocean carriers seeking to take maximum opportunity of slow-steaming while keeping their ships on schedule. Over the past 30 years, the size of container vessels has steadily increased; In the 1980s, the average containership carried just 1,600 containers. As that number currently continues to increase tenfold and as fuel prices remain high, slow-steaming is becoming entrenched as the industry norm with growing attention on berth productivity.

More than 5 years ago, The Journal of Commerce began collecting productivity for individual ports and terminals by obtaining this data from carriers. One-by-one, carriers agreed to share their operating data confidentially — the time their ships arrived and departed and the number of moves achieved during that time at the terminals they call globally, down to the individual vessel call. Currently 17 carriers, representing a large share of the cargo transported globally, are contributing to this project.

The data is aggregated, standardized and validated for over 450 ports and 650 terminals worldwide. The data allows ports, terminals, investors and others with an interest in terminal productivity to benchmark productivity against other terminals and ports, identify possible berth-turn-around time issues, analyze performance, isolate cost savings, optimize operations and assist in making solid investment decisions. Port Productivity data provides:

  • Berth Productivity by Ship Size
  • Productivity by Terminal
  • Productivity by Port, by Region
  • Berth Productivity by TEU Range
  • Berth Productivity by Call Size (# of Moves)
  • Berth Productivity (TEU Range) by Location
  • Berth Productivity (Call Size) by Location

Port Productivity Ranking by Region

The above chart shows that container ports in North Asia, a region including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, consistently handled more total containers per hour than any other region in 2011 and 2012. North Asian ports collectively surpassed more than 70 gross moves per hour in 2012, an increase over the 67 recorded for 2011. The second most productive port region in 2012 was the Middle East, with 62 moves recorded on average per hour, an improvement on 2011’s total of 58. Last year, North American port productivity slipped to 47 moves an hour, causing the region to slip to a fourth-place tie with the Indian subcontinent.

Port Productivity can provide insight to performance trends and issues, the support needed to improve efficiency. Those interested should Contact the JOC .

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Furniture Imports Expand

February 5, 2013

U.S. imports of furniture jumped 13.4% Y-o-Y in October 2012, marking its 16th straight monthly advance and totaling $3.8 billion in constant dollars. Through October, imports were up by 12.2%, in line with a rebounding housing market.

China is by far the largest source of U.S. furniture (HS code 94) imports, accounting for a 51.5% share in 2011 according to ITC estimates. A great number of U.S. furniture makers had to shut down operations over the years as they saw production and jobs being transferred to China to take advantage of lower wages and costs. In fact, back in October 2003, a concerted coalition of furniture makers and unions petitioned the International Trade Commission for money repairs, arguing China was dumping furniture into the U.S. market (Drayse, 2008). A duty on Chinese furniture was later imposed; however, furniture shipments from China to the U.S. continued rising.


This outsourcing trend bolstered China’s share of U.S. furniture imports significantly from 29.3 % in 2001 to 52.8 % in 2010. Nevertheless, China’s share declined in 2011 and in 2012 year to date according to U.S. International Trade Commission figures, while the share of Mexico and Vietnam rose in those same years. Mexico’s share of U.S. furniture imports increased from 14.9% in 2010 to 15.8% in 2011 to 17.6% in 2012 through October.

In 2012, through October, imports from China in constant dollars were up by 9.8 %, but imports from Mexico, Vietnam and India were up by double-digit growth rates. In terms of volume I see a similar pattern, with containerized shipments from China nearly flat this year while shipments from Vietnam and India were up by double-digit growth rates.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

For FREE, instant access to details on U.S. import shipments, register online for PIERS TI Basic.

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