Archive for May, 2013

JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Meat Exports Decelerate in 2012

May 28, 2013

U.S. containerized exports of meat (HS code 02) rose 3.2% in 2012, following a jump of 21.7% in the prior year. The index shows that exports more than doubled from 2004 to 2011. Between 2007 and 2012, exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of 10%. Index is up by 140% from 2004 January base.

US Meat Exports in TEUs

The Port of Savannah handled the most outbound shipments of meat in 2012, accounting for a 20% of all meat exports, unchanged from 2011. Th e largest recipients of U.S. meat shipped from the port of Savannah last year were China, Angola, Hong Kong, Georgia, and Taiwan. Port of Oakland follows Savannah with a 16% share. Los Angeles holds a 12% share while Houston and Norfolk each hold a 7% share. The share of each port is unchanged from 2011. These 5 ports account for 63% of all U.S. meat outbound shipments.

US Meat Exports

Japan and Mexico are 2 of the largest markets for U.S. meat exports by $ value. Japan held an 18.9% market share in 2012, up slightly by 0.2 percentage points over 2011, but still down by a 0.2 point from 2010. Mexico accounted for a respectable 17.2% market share last year, but its share is down by almost 2 full points. Meat exports to Japan and Mexico have grown modestly last year. Meat exports to Russia and China increased by 27% each last year. Russia used to be a top market up until 2009, but due to import limitations and the country building toward self-sufficiency in its meat sector, Russia is not a top market anymore. China’s share of exports is rapidly increasing, from 2.6% in 2010 to 6.2% in 2012. Exports to that market jumped 157% in 2011 but slowed the pace to 23% in 2012. Demand for meat will stay strong as long as the incomes on millions in China continue rising.

Losses in market share were seen in Taiwan and Vietnam. Taiwan holds a share of 2.1%, down from 3.1% in 2010, while Vietnam holds a share of 1.4%, down from 2.1% in 2010.

Chart 3

Source: International Trade Commission; author’s own calculations

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


U.S. Containerized Imports Drop 7% in March

May 22, 2013

U.S. containerized imports experienced a 7% year-over-year drop in March 2013, according to recent figures from PIERS. Total U.S. containerized imports fell to 1.26 million TEUs, the first month with a volume below 1.3 million TEUs since February 2012.

US Containerized Imports - March 2013

“Box imports fell markedly in March mainly because the regular 2-week closing of Chinese factories on Lunar New Year festivities was late compared to 2012, inducing tough year-over-year comparisons. This is evidenced by a sharp volume contraction of 18% YoY from China,” said, PIERS/JOC economist Mario Moreno.

Imports fell in March versus February 2013 by 11.2%, which is abnormal for this time of year. February 2013 had seen a year-over-year jump of 20%.

The largest declines among the top 25 imported goods were in computers, down 24%; lamps and parts, down 20%; and toys, down 19%, all compared to March 2012. Leading the gains were fruits, jumping 20% versus March 2012; non-alcoholic beverages and bananas, both up 11%; and still wines, up 10%.

Among the top 25 source countries, shipments from Hong Kong decreased the most in March, by 26.5% year-over-year to 20,876 TEUs. Mainland China followed with an 18% year-over-year drop to 473,530 TEUs, while Taiwan’s volume fell 17% to 34,550. Of the largest increases, U.S. imports from Costa Rica jumped 23% to 17,805 TEUs. Shipments from Guatemala totaled 26,591 TEUs in the month, up 21.5%. Imports from the Netherlands saw growth of 21.3% in March to 24,102 TEUs.

For more information about how PIERS Trade Intelligence can help you track U.S. imports & exports for any commodity or region visit

Top U.S. Imports & Exports with Europe

May 14, 2013

‘Auto parts’ was the top containerized import commodity from Europe in February 2013, up 14% over February 2012. The top 10 commodities shown above accounted for 36% of the total box import trade from Europe.

Top U.S. Containerized Imports from Europe

‘Paper & paperboard’ was the top containerized export commodity to Europe in January 2012. A sharp increase was seen PVC resins shipments, up 179% Y-o-Y. The top 10 commodities shown above accounted for 42% of the total export trade to Europe.

Top US Exports to Europe

For more information about how PIERS Trade Intelligence can help you track U.S. imports & exports for any commodity or region visit or for more trade and economic analysis subscribe to JOC Insights.

Transloading Growing Faster Than U.S. Imports

May 7, 2013

The transloading of merchandise from marine containers to domestic containers and trailers isn’t a new phenomenon in supply chain logistics, but for a variety of reasons, its use by retailers and direct importers is increasing faster than imports in general, especially in Southern California.

While transload volumes rose 6.6% in 2012, total containerized imports through Los Angeles-Long Beach increased only 2% over 2011.

Transloading volumes are affected by developments in the transportation industry, so they can accelerate or decelerate from year to year. For example, if railroads increase their IPI (inland point intermodal) rates for moving containers intact to inland destinations, retailers will normally increase their use of transloading.

Transloading Containerized Imports

Generally, the contents of three marine containers can be transloaded into two 53-foot containers, so there is an immediate savings in transportation costs.

Still, the long-term trend has been for transload traffic to increase at twice the rate of containers that move intact from Southern California, said John Doherty, CEO of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. Transloading grew 5% a year on average from 2000 to 2012, compared with 2.5% per year growth for intact containers.

Overall, almost 46% of the containers that leave Southern California by rail were transloaded first, up from 33% 10 years ago, Doherty said.

Since the beginning of transloading, the core constituency of the sector has been large retailers and importers with multiple distribution centers across the country. These larger companies stop their imported containers from Asia on the West Coast and transload the merchandise into domestic containers destined for their distribution centers.

Small and midsize shippers that had moved all of their containers intact to one import distribution center recently have begun to open additional distribution centers. They are delaying allocation of their inventory until it reaches a West Coast port, and then they transload the cargo and ship the domestic containers to the distribution centers where they’re needed.

Jeff Lindner, Pacer’s vice president of sales cited two examples of how delayed allocation can reduce supply chain costs and increase the velocity of shipments. An importer that had shipped all of its imports through the West Coast to its import DC in, say, Columbus, Ohio, only to ship 40% of the merchandise back to its stores on the West Coast, can stop the containers in Southern California, strip out the local cargo and ship the remainder to the eastern half of the country.

A second example involves an importer that designates merchandise for Dallas before the shipment leaves Asia, only to discover the product is selling better in Chicago. By delaying allocation until the container arrives in Los Angeles-Long Beach, the shipment is sent directly to Chicago. “They ship to the right DC the first time,” Lindner said.

To learn more about the effects of transloading on the U.S. supply chain, attend the JOC’s Inland Distribution Conference, September 18-19th in Kansas City, MO.  To learn more about how PIERS can help you track U.S. import and export shipments register online for free demo.

Top U.S. Imports and Exports from Asia

May 2, 2013

‘Furniture’ was the top containerized import commodity from Asia in January 2013, up 1% over January 2012. The top 10 commodities shown below accounted for 41% of the total box import trade from Asia.


“Paper & paperboard” was the top containerized export commodity to Asia in December 2012. A sharp drop was seen in pet & animal feeds. The top 10 commodities shown below accounted for 57% of the total export trade to Asia in the month.


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