Archive for June, 2013

U.S. Banana Imports Jump 12% in Q1 2013

June 26, 2013

U.S. containerized banana imports increased 12% to 105,203 TEUs from January to March, the fourth straight quarter of double-digit year-over-year growth, according to data from PIERS.

The increase brought banana imports to their second-highest quarterly volume in more than six years, surpassed only by the 108,869 TEUs in the second quarter of 2012. Import volumes were up 2.3% from the 102,843 TEUs imported in the fourth quarter of 2012.


The top countries of origin for U.S. banana imports in the first quarter were Guatemala, with a 32% share, up 4.7 percentage points year-over-year; Costa Rica, with 19.6%, up 2.1 percentage points; Ecuador, 18.8%, down 5.8 percentage points; and Honduras, 16.8%, down 2.7 percentage points.


Banana imports from Colombia jumped 70% in the quarter from a year earlier, to 6,420 TEUs. Containerized ocean imports from Mexico nearly doubled, to 5,108 TEUs from 2,748 in the first quarter of 2012.


Using Trade Data to Spot Counterfeiters

June 18, 2013

When most of us think about counterfeit goods we usually conjure up a familiar image of knockoff handbags and luxury watches being sold out of a trunk in some back alley. But the reality of counterfeits is that it’s a much larger problem than most of us could have imagined. The global market for counterfeit goods nets over $600 billion annually, costing U.S. companies $250 billion/year and 750,000 U.S. jobs. The rise in overseas manufacturing in recent decades, coupled with minimal penalties for offenders has led to a dramatic increase in counterfeits in the past 20 years, with counterfeits surpassing the drug trade as the world’s largest black market activity.

Counterfeiters quite literally, counterfeit anything and everything, from consumer goods like laundry detergent and extension cords, to prescription medication, and even aerospace components sold to the U.S. defense department. Aside from the obvious economic impact to the companies that are being counterfeited, counterfeits pose a serious threat to consumer safety. Because these products are not subject to safety regulations and proper testing, they are usually manufactured as cheap as possible to maximize profits. This often means leaving out or substituting expensive material and components with subpar material that can be a serious hazard to the consumer even when used correctly. Electronics might be manufactured using less copper, causing them to become a fire hazard, while toys may be made using cheaper, lead-based paint which can be harmful to children.

In 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over $200 million in counterfeit goods at U.S. ports and border crossings. While this may sounds like an incredible feat, it represents only a small fraction of counterfeit goods entering the U.S. each year.

With so much at stake, large brand name companies often take it upon themselves to protect their brand by identifying and prosecuting these illegal organizations for copyright and trademark infringement. One such tool at their disposal is PIERS trade intelligence. Increasingly, companies have been utilizing the detailed commodity description in PIERS U.S. import data to search for their company’s brand name among all waterborne shipments. Once they have compiled a list of all the shipments containing their brand’s name they can compare this list of shippers and consignees to the company’s list of licensed manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to look for discrepancies in their supply chain. Often times these products will be shipped and documented posing as the real product to avoid detection by U.S. Customs. But while this practice may help them avoid detection by Customs, it gives legal savvy brand owners the evidence they need to prosecute these counterfeiters.

On Wednesday, June 19th, Aliet Martinez, Director of Client Development at PIERS participated on a panel discussion, Crushing the Counterfeiters at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas to inform brand owners how they can use trade intelligence to identify counterfeiters. For more information about PIERS Trade Intelligence, please visit

U.S. Agricultural Exports Fall

June 11, 2013

Agricultural exports from the U.S. declined for a second straight month in April to $10.6 billion. This is the lowest agricultural export value since July 2012.

The value of the United States’ agricultural exports was down 3.6 percent from the level seen in April 2012 when it exported $11 billion worth. Prior to the past two months, exports had shown increasing year-over-year values for 10 straight months. When compared to March 2013, export value fell 9.5 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Agricultural exports have been down month-to-month for the past half year.

US Agricultural Trade Apr 13

U.S. agricultural imports, on the other hand, were at their highest value in April since the JOC began collecting this data in February 2011. They rose 7.2 percent year-over-year and inched up 0.8 percent month-to-month to reach $9.6 billion. The trade balance is now roughly a surplus of $1 billion, the lowest in over two years.

U.S. Containerized Exports Jump 5% in February

June 5, 2013

U.S. containerized exports were up 5% in February 2013 compared to February 2012, reaching 1,011,874 20-foot-equivalent units, according to PIERS data. This is the largest year-over-year increase since June 2012 when exports jumped 9.6%. Exports also increased 4.7% in February versus January. In the first two months of 2013, export volume is up 2.3% from the same period in 2012.

US Containerized Exports February 2013

Of February’s top 25 commodities, those that saw the highest Y-o-Y increases were edible nuts, jumping 75% versus February 2012; soybeans, up 62%; metal scrap, up 36%; and fabrics, up 29%. Animal feed and orange exports were flat in the month. The largest decline of the 25 was miscellaneous machinery, which was down 10%.

Among February’s top 25 destination countries, shipments to Vietnam jumped the most, by 53% Y-o-Y to 22,025 TEUs. Volume to Turkey advanced by 51% to 16,894 TEUs, while Russia followed with a gain of 16% to 10,027. The country with the steepest decline in exports from the U.S. in February was Saudi Arabia — shipments fell 8% to 10,936 TEUs. Shipments to Germany totaled 21,600 TEUs in the month, down 7% year-over-year. Exports to Japan dipped 5% to 67,837 TEUs.

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

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