Posts Tagged ‘containerized imports’

U.S. Containerized Imports of Furniture Up in 2Q

September 11, 2013

U.S. containerized imports of furniture continued to grow in the second quarter of 2013, with volume up 1% year-over-year to 561,689 20-foot-equivalent units. This increase, the seventh consecutive quarterly year-over-year rise, was at a slower rate compared to the past four quarters, but despite this, import volume reached its highest level since the second quarter of 2007.

PIERS- Furniture Imports Q22013

Second quarter 2013 containerized furniture imports jumped 5.7% from the first quarter. Mainland China, not including Hong Kong, held 71.7% of the U.S. furniture import market in the second quarter of 2013. Other top countries of origin for U.S. furniture imports in the second quarter were Vietnam, with a 9.4 % share; Malaysia, 3.2%; and Indonesia, 2.9%. Furniture imports from Indonesia in the second quarter jumped 19 % in volume year-over-year.

Italy remained the sixth-largest supplier of U.S. furniture imports in the second quarter, with containerized volume up 10 % year-over-year.

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JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: U.S. Containerized Apparel Imports Up 3.7% through April

July 30, 2013

U.S. domestic imports of apparel, not knitted or crocheted (HS code 62), are modestly recovering from 2012’s dip. Year to date, through April, apparel imports were up 3.7%, and totaled $12.4 billion. Last year, imports totaled $36.8 billion for a dip of 0.4%, while in 2011 imports totaled $36.9 billion for an increase of 8.0%. 2012 was a mediocre year for apparel imports partly because real disposable personal income per capita experienced sluggish growth.

U.S. Apparel Imports by Dollar Value


China is the largest supplier of apparel (not knitted or crocheted) to the U.S. by dollar value. China sourced 40% of all U.S. apparel imports in 2012, down by 0.6% from 2011. Year to date, through April, China saw its share of imports declined further to 36.8%, despite an increase of 3% of exports to the U.S.

Share of U.S. Apparel Imports by Country and Annual Growth Rate

Imports from other low-cost producers such as Bangladesh and Vietnam are growing faster this year, partly as a result of the fast-pace rising production costs in China. Vietnam’s share has grown steadily in recent years, boosted by rapid export growth. Year to date, Vietnamese exports of apparel to the U.S. jumped 17%, and Vietnam’s share of imports increased to 8.4%. Second-ranked Bangladesh also saw its share of imports increased in recent years and it’s currently holding 10.8% of the total U.S. apparel imports trade year to date. Ultra low wages, which have remained flat for years, spurred an $18 billion garment industry. According to some estimates, average monthly pay in 2009 for workers in Dhaka was $47 compared to $235 in Shenzhen China.

Bangladesh’s exports of apparel to the U.S. rose 8% year to date, a good improvement over the 1% dip seen last year. Nevertheless, exports growth will likely be challenged for the rest of the year in the aftermath of the April 25th collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building in Savar, Bangladesh, killing over 1,000 garment workers. Some apparel retailers have signed a safety pact agreement with the intention of raising payment to suppliers so that factory owners undertake major safety upgrades. Furthermore, the Bangladeshi government has agreed to International Labour Organization proposals that include worker protection rights and liberty to form unions. How will new safety measures and regulations impact container apparel imports from Bangladesh going forward?


U.S. container imports of apparel from Bangladesh were up 7.6% year to date through May, and totaled 34,544 TEUs. By extrapolating the data we can determine the expectation of apparel import volumes from Bangladesh over the next 6 months as the graph shows. This is important because we can estimate the impact of the Rana Plaza disaster and new safety measures and regulations over future container imports of apparel from Bangladesh. For June, apparel imports from this country are expected to grow by 7.4% year over year.

 US Apparel Imports from Bangladesh

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

U.S. Banana Imports Rise Sharply

April 2, 2013

PIERS shows containerized banana imports into the U.S. rose sharply in the fourth quarter of 2012, continuing a trend of year-over-year growth seen throughout the year.


Imports in the fourth quarter grew to 103,121 TEUs from 85,245 TEUs in the fourth quarter of 2011. This was the seventh straight quarter of increases for banana imports.

The fourth quarter’s 21% rise was the largest year-to-year increase in the past few years. Banana imports had grown 14% in the third quarter, more than 13% in the second quarter and more than 5%t in the first quarter, according to data from PIERS.

The total number of TEUs of bananas imported into the U.S. in the full year of 2012 was 413,640, up 13.4% or 48,873 TEUs from 364,767 TEUs in 2011.

The top countries of origin for U.S. banana imports in 2012 were Guatemala, with a 30.2% share of imports, with its share down 2.1% from 2011; Costa Rica, with 21.2%, up 0.2%s; Ecuador, 19.%t, down 0.5%; and Honduras, 17.4%, up 0.7%. Imports from Panama more than doubled in 2012 from 3,531 TEUs in 2011 to 7,322 in 2012. Also, imports from Mexico via ocean container nearly doubled in 2012 with 16,089 TEUs imported, 85% more than the 8,712 imported in 2011.

Additional trade data stories provided exclusively by The Journal of Commerce can be found on

Shamrock & Ale

March 14, 2013

It’s that time of the year again. By now, you should be getting ready to dust off your “Kiss Me,  I’m Irish” t-shirt and prepping the corned beef to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Parades, events, festivities and beer…lots of beer.



Even if your Irish heritage is a bit “contrived”, no one asks questions as long as you’re wearing green. Any Irish lad or lassie will tell you that this truly is a celebration for all, just grab a beer!

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.

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.

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.”

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U.S. – Panama Free Trade Agreement Goes Into Effect October 31st

October 25, 2012

Legislation was signed to implement free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea this time last year, a bipartisan effort aimed at using foreign trade to drive America’s economic growth (as stated in an earlier PIERS blog). Panama needed to amend its tariff schedule and property regulations before the pact could take place; United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk announced that the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will become effective October 31, 2012.

More than 86% of U.S. consumer and industrial exports (averaging tariffs of 7%) will enter Panama duty-free beginning Oct. 31 and nearly half of U.S. agricultural products, including high-quality beef, bacon, soybeans, wheat, barley and nearly all fruit and vegetables (averaging tariffs of 15%), will become duty-free. Most remaining tariffs will be phased out over 15 years.

The advantage for U.S. exporters:

  • Businesses can drop their price relative to your non-U.S. competitors. That gives you a competitive advantage.
  • Increased margins, the 7 – 12% that went to paying the tariff now goes to your business
  • Simplified paperwork, business will now just have to document content of origin.
  • Clauses in the FTA will make the public procurement process in Panama more transparent and will give the U.S. Government increased leverage to ensure that you are competing on a level playing field.
  • Panama is a service-driven economy with almost no industrial sector; U.S. exporters will not face increased competition from Panamanian companies due to the FTA.

How do you plan to keep an eye on new trade developments in Panama? PIERS offers comprehensive coverage of U.S. waterborne exports to Panama.  Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.

Quotes in Motion

October 16, 2012


“The sea is the same as it has been since before men ever went on it in boats. – Ernest Hemingway

Port Norfolk
(taken by a PIERS employee via Instagram)

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