Posts Tagged ‘export’

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.


Economists Cautiously Optimistic Over U.S. Import & Export Growth Forecast

April 16, 2013

Are we seeing enough economic recovery this spring to support growth in volumes of U.S. containerized imports and exports? Economists are seeing some hope, especially in the U.S., but the spring is still looking pretty chilly on a global scale. In the U.S., housing starts and employment are up, but much of southern Europe is mired in recession and growth in emerging Asian markets is slowing.

On the whole, a global recovery is under way, but there are plenty of risks that could cause growth to sputter, especially if it encounters another “black swan” event in the form of an unpredictable catastrophe such as the tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in 2011.

Any recovery in Europe could be upset by eruption of a fiscal crisis in southern Europe. “Optimism has started to take hold in recent months, but the economic hangover is still very much with us,” said Nick Kounis, head of macroeconomic research for ABN Amro Bank. Yet trade volumes are likely to get stronger this year and even stronger by the second half of 2014 when the global recovery takes hold. Global trade volume, which increased 3% in 2012, is likely to grow 3.3% this year and 3.9% in 2014, Kounis said.

US Containerized Exports

Source: PIERS/JOC Container Shipping Outlook, March 2013

But persistent global economic clouds are causing some economists to cut their forecast of U.S. trade growth. In March PIERS/The Journal of Commerce, economist Mario Moreno reduced his forecast for the growth of U.S. containerized exports this year to 2%, to a total of 12.1 million TEUs, compared with his previous forecast of 4.1%, “in light of the fourth quarter’s weak performance, the general deceleration of volume growth during 2012, and less optimistic economic forecasts across the globe.”

Moreno also cut his forecast for 2014 export growth to 3.4% from the 4.4% rate he estimated in December. “While fiscal uncertainty in the U.S. has been largely contained, in Europe, questions remain on how solid the commitment to austerity is, especially in Italy, where anti-austerity candidates made progress in the last election,” he said. “Such an outcome makes already nervous investors less willing to commit capital to projects and could delay the economic recovery across the European continent.”

Us Containerized Imports

Source: PIERS/JOC Container Shipping Outlook, March 2013

Moreno expects import volumes to grow 2.6% in 2013 to a total of 17.6 million TEUs, compared with just 1.5% in 2012. But he remains cautious in view of the 3.9% dip in total U.S. import volumes in the final quarter of 2012, which capped a disappointing 2012 for U.S. inbound container trade. Annual containerized import traffic expanded just 1.5% during the year, decelerating from the 2.7% pace set in 2011 and a far cry from the 14.5% increase posted in 2010.

He said the 2012 performance was significantly below the two-year moving average of 10.4%, which indicates further sluggishness going forward. Although the fourth quarter 2012 performance can be partially attributed to Hurricane Sandy and labor disputes at U.S. ports, he said the slowdown was primarily due to worsening U.S. economic conditions, particularly fiscal uncertainty and its impact on private investment, which was keeping a tight lid on containerized import growth. “I do not see these conditions appreciably improving during 2013 and am therefore compelled to lower our projection to 2.6% growth,” Moreno said.

For more information about PIERS trade intelligence visit or to learn more about The Journal of Commerce’s Container Shipping Outlook visit

Data In Motion: 2012 Year in Blogging

December 31, 2012

We are counting down to the end of 2012. This has been an interesting year; we’ve looked back through our archives for some of the most popular PIERS blog posts of 2012:



What Happens to Old Shipping Containers (February 7, 2012)

PIERS recently featured a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to an article about Starbucks’ creative use of an old shipping container. The new concept store that opened just south of Seattle features a “Reclamation Drive-Thru” made out of repurposed shipping containers.

A (Razor) Sharp Idea for Gaining Competitive Intelligence (March 20, 2012)

One of the world’s largest consumer brands and maker of popular men’s razor blades recently came up with a very clever and interesting way to use PIERS data for competitive intelligence.  The company suspected that one of their major competitors was getting ready to release a new razor blade in the U.S., but didn’t know what the new razor looked like or when they were planning to release the product.

ILA Strike Watch (October 11, 2012)

Contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance have been extended through Dec. 29. The extension averted the threat of a strike at the original Sept. 30 expiration. The ILA-USMX coast wide master contract affects approximately 15,000 longshore workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The master contract covers containerized and roll-on, roll-off cargo in 14 port areas.

How Will the Panama Canal Expansion Alter Global Trade for the U.S. East Coast Ports? (May 29, 2012)

The shortest path between two points is a straight line, it just so happens that this line is 50 miles long and the two points are the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Who Tops This Year’s JOC Top 100 Importer & Exporters (June 22, 2012)

2011 was extraordinary in terms of natural catastrophes and disasters – all of which cause a bit of global turbulence in the trade industry. The economic burden doesn’t only affect where the disaster occurred but also ripples through the world economy by affecting global trade volume. A single natural disaster can cause a domino effect that can cripple supply chains as was evident in the auto parts industry after the Japan earthquake last March. These crises “coupled with a soft post-recession consumer market and mixed macroeconomic environment, growth undoubtedly was restrained,” stated the Journal of Commerce in the “Coming Full Cycle”.

Foreign-Trade Zones: A Quiet Source of Economic Stimulus (June 19, 2012)

Foreign-Trade Zones allow producers in the United States to bring in foreign materials for processing into the United States at zero or reduced tariff duties. These zones, which include facilities such as the Virginia Port Authority and Nissan’s two manufacturing facilities in Tennessee, help offset customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with domestic industry.

Acrylic Acid: From Diapers to Paint (October 2, 2012)

After an abnormal chemical reaction, a fire broke out at Nippon Shokubai Co.’s plant in Japan. An acrylic acid storage residue tank exploded around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, the fire later spread to another acrylic acid tank and a toluene tank. The plant produces about 20% of the world’s SAP and 10% of global output of acrylic acid.

We look forward to another year of blogging in 2013!

The Westernization of the Asian Diet

December 4, 2012

In emerging countries, the economic growth results in the rise of a new middle class. A change of diet is the first change that takes place when the standard of living increases. Rapid economic and income growth in Asia, along with urbanization and globalization, have led to a dramatic shift of Asian diets away from affordable staples to animal protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables.


Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ study on Agriculture towards the year 2015/2030 indicates that the trends in international trade of food, which have seen developing countries turn from net exporters to net importers of food commodities, are expected to continue in the future.

The dietary pattern of the Chinese population has changed (over the last twenty years). People’s diets have become more westernized, especially in larger and medium sized cities. The rapid increase in China’s consumption of both corn and soybeans is due, in part, to a growing middle class that is already larger than the entire U.S. population. Greater disposable wealth has resulted in more animal protein in the Chinese diet, meaning larger livestock herds that require a lot more feed grain.

The U.S. a longstanding global corn exporter, and in the past 10 years has also become a major meat exporter. Whether China ultimately chooses to import more corn, more fresh meat, or balance the two – U.S. agriculture will be poised to capitalize on the increase in these exports. As an example, Port Miami has a number of infrastructure projects in development, to serve as a transshipment hub when Asian trade is dropped at Port Miami and then quickly trans-loaded. The infrastructure changes being made at the port with Florida East Coast Railway will increase the flow of goods up North (as stated in an earlier PIERS blog).

Port Miami is actively working with the largest exporters to China, to re-fill Asia-bound containers filled with many different kinds of products. Some include:

  • Soybeans
  • Grain
  • Scrap metal
  • Paper
  • Resins
  • Frozen poultry
  • U.S.-manufactured automobiles
  • Raw-baled cotton
  • Alternative fuels

How do you plan to keep an eye on new trade developments to China? PIERS offers comprehensive coverage of U.S. waterborne exports to China.  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)

ILA Strike Watch

October 11, 2012

Contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance have been extended through Dec. 29. The extension averted the threat of a strike at the original Sept. 30 expiration. The ILA-USMX coastwide master contract affects approximately 15,000 longshore workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The master contract covers containerized and roll-on, roll-off cargo in 14 port areas.

The ILA has not had a coast-wide strike since 1977. However,  cargo interests were concerned about this year’s negotiations, the first under ILA President Harold Daggett. The 2002 lockout of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union during the ILWU’s contract negotiations caused many shippers to diversify their supply chains to include East and Gulf coast routings. When ILA negotiations broke down during the summer, there were signs that some cargo might shift back to the West Coast. As the Sept. 30 expiration approached, some shippers implemented contingency plans by accelerating shipments or diverting some cargoes to the West Coast or Canadian ports.

We were interested in seeing how much cargo would be affected should the ILA strike happen. Using the PIERS database of U.S. import and export activity, we were able to track waterborne trade activity at each port in 2011. The numbers were staggering; ports such as New York and Savannah handle well over 1,000,000 TEUs each year…in both directions. The Top 10 ILA East and Gulf Coast ports totaled – 13,546,689 TEUs of imports and exports that passed through these seaports in 2011. That’s 1,100 New Panamax sized ships! Visit the for continued up-to-date coverage of the ILA-USMX negotiations.

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.

Autumn is for Apples

September 25, 2012

One of the great delights of autumn is the abundance of fresh, ripe, local and delicious apples. Of course they’re available year-round these days, but they’re at their best right now. Not only are there more varieties to choose from in the fall but there’s something special about apples from the autumn crop!

PIERS can deliver the intelligence that you need! Keep your eye on agricultural imports and exports, learn more about this market segment and ascertain emerging trends that can assist in future strategic business decisions. Register to learn more about how PIERS Data can show you the details behind every U.S. waterborne shipment in near real-time.

U.S. Containerized Exports Slid 0.2% in Q4 2011

February 23, 2012

As predicted, by PIERS/JOC Economist Mario Moreno, U.S. container exports decelerated in Q4 2011 as European markets declined sharply and the foreign exchange value of the U.S. dollar stabilized. Exports dipped 0.2% year-over-year in Q4 to a total of 3,002,088 TEUs.

U.S. Containerized Exports Year-Over-Year Change


Major losses were mostly seen in fabrics, including raw cotton (-29%) and pet & animal feeds (-12%).  Other losses were seen in synthetic resins (-12%), foam waste & scrap (-12%), and motor vehicles (-7%).  Offsetting part of the losses were two major reefer goods: meat (+36%), and poultry (+28%). Other gains were seen in logs & lumber (+13%), waste paper (+2%), mixed metal scrap (+11%), and soybeans & products (+14%).

On a regional level, exports to Northeast Asia rose by the most, up by 1% Y-o-Y, mostly driven by gains in meat, wood pulp, and logs & lumber. This growth rate, however, makes for a sharp deceleration from Q3 which saw Y-o-Y gains of 12%. Outbound shipments to Africa also showed solid gains, up 24%. On the downside, exports to Northern Europe dropped 6% after a sharp deceleration in Q3. Exports to the Mediterranean declined for a second consecutive quarter to -9% Y-o-Y as the sharp deceleration of manufacturing activity in the region spurred losses in demand for paper & paperboard, PVC resins, and fabrics including raw cotton. As expected Westbound Trans-pacific trade decelerated markedly –– to 0.8% in Q4 from 11.4% in Q3, to a total of 1,707,425 TEUs.

On a country level, exports to top market China gained the most volume led mainly by increases in shipments of logs & lumber, waste paper, and meat. Exports to China rose just 3% (down from a 13% expansion in Q3). Other gains were seen in shipments to Taiwan (+5%), Saudi Arabia (+22%), and Vietnam (+12%). On the downside, exports to Hong Kong and Brazil declined by the most, down 14% each in the quarter.

Mario Moreno, PIERS/JOC Economist, concluded, “Overall containerized exports advanced 6% in 2011 to a total of 11,929,550 TEUs, and reached a new high. Actual fourth quarter figures confirmed what I had suspected and what led me to downgrade my 2012 export forecasts in early December: declining economic activity in Europe will have an adverse impact on U.S. container exports growth. Meanwhile, the dollar will keep the gains against the euro until all European fiscal uncertainties have cleared.”

PIERS is the only source for transaction-level U.S. export data. PIERS staff reporters cover every major U.S. port, collecting and processing over 300,000 export Bills of Lading each month to give our customers a complete view of U.S. trade. To learn more about PIERS export data, visit

Double U.S. Exports in 5 years… How do we do that?

February 14, 2012

During his 2010 State of the Union address President Obama boldly proclaimed his plans to double U.S. exports in 5 years, which in turn would create an estimated 2 million American jobs.

The National Export Initiative outlined a plan that would grow U.S. exports to $3.14 trillion annually by 2015, but how exactly does the Obama Administration plan to achieve this?  We’ve reviewed the 62-page document outlined in the Export Promotion Cabinet’s Report to the President on the National Export Initiative to give you a high level overview of what’s being done…

Who’s involved?

The Export Promotion Cabinet consists of:

  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • United States Trade Representative
  • Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
  • National Security Advisor
  • Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration
  • President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • Director of the United States Trade and Development Agency

What are the goals?

  1. Improve advocacy and trade promotion efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters
  2. Increase access to export financing, so good opportunities do not fall through due to the inability to finance an export.
  3. Reinforce efforts to remove barriers to trade, so as many markets as possible are open to U.S. products.
  4. Enforce trade rules, to make sure our trade partners live up to their obligations.
  5. Pursue policies at the global level to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth, so the world economy grows and our exports have robust markets.

How does the NEI plan to achieve these goals?

The NEI Executive Order has outlined 8 priorities that they deem as critical in achieving the 5 goals or components of the NEI.

  1. Facilitate exports by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by identifying SMEs which can benefit from exporting and providing them with the tools they need to continually gain access to foreign markets.
  2. Improve the federal government’s core trade promotion programs to create opportunities for U.S. sellers to meet with foreign buyers.
  3. Increasing the number of trade and reverse trade missions
  4. Commercial advocacy
  5. Increasing access to export financing by making more credit available to exporters, increasing the awareness of Government assistance, and streamlining the applications process.
  6. Work with G-20 partners to maintain a healthy global economy that provides ample opportunities for U.S. exports.
  7. Reducing barriers to trade to open new markets to U.S. exporters through free trade agreements and other U.S. trade policy tools vital for obtaining enhanced market access.
  8. Build on the efforts outlined in 1-7 with an enhanced focus on the services sector.

How do we measure how we’re doing?

Since the launch of the National Export Initiative in 2010, U.S. exports have been steadily increasing, but by how much depends largely on what data you’re looking at. Publicly available census data is good for a high-level aggregate view of U.S. exports as a whole, but it lacks the granularity and in-depth view provided by PIERS transactional data.

From January 2010 to December 2011the U.S. Census Bureau shows total exports increasing by 19.7% to $178.7 billion, while over the same period PIERS Containerized Waterborne Data shows exports expanding by only 13.2% to 1.02 million TEUs. For most people the distinction between export value in dollars vs. export volume in TEUs is not something of interest, but to us in the transportation industry this can be an important distinction to make.

PIERS is the only company that gathers detailed U.S. export data at the ports for every shipment. Organizations can use this data to find U.S. exporters, identify growing markets and learn what commodities companies are exporting.

To learn more about the unique advantages of using PIERS U.S. Export Data visit and check out our new interactive graph that shows actual monthly values for PIERS TEU volume and U.S. Census data as well as projected values to reach the National Export Initiative’s goal.

PIERS Supports the Global Appalachia Export Initiative

January 30, 2012

The Appalachian Regional Commission (a regional economic development agency consisting of 13 member states) is now using PIERS, The Standard in Trade Intelligence, to support their Global Appalachia Export Initiative.

To support ARC’s effort, two key trade intelligence solutions from PIERS, PIERS Prospects™ and PIERS StatsPlus™ are being implemented across 10 of the 13 member states. Utilizing PIERS Prospects, participating ARC member states will gain access to actionable intelligence that combines company profiles from Dun & Bradstreet with the granularity and richness of data from export Bills of Lading. This data will allow each state to focus their programs and marketing around companies within their state that export goods or have the potential to export. PIERS StatsPlus combines international trade statistics with market specific trade information to provide a global picture of commodities that can help identify growing markets for commodities specific to each states’ exports.

“As an economic development partnership between the federal government and our 13 member-states, the Appalachian Regional Commission understands the importance of developing the Region’s export success.  Helping us position Appalachia for the future, our new multi-year partnership with PIERS is providing our members with the key international trade data that the Region needs to engage, compete, and succeed in the global economy of the 21st century,” said J. Scott Hercik, Transportation and International Trade Advisor, Appalachian Regional Commission.

Global Appalachia has made available to each ARC member-state up to $100,000 in ARC Co-Chair funds to match, dollar-for-dollar, individual state or state-secured investments that support the goals of the National Export Initiative.  With an emphasis on small-to-medium size businesses and the unique challenges and opportunities of Appalachia’s rural areas, Global Appalachia encourages a stronger partnership between ARC member-states, the federal government, and Appalachian businesses to increase the number of businesses that want to export and increase the value of exports for businesses currently exporting.

Wael Jarous, Vice President of PIERS said, “The formation of this partnership between PIERS and ARC speaks volume to our commitment to helping support the efforts of individual states as they strive to reach the goal set forth by the National Export Initiative.  As the only trade intelligence provider that offers export data with transactional details, PIERS is uniquely qualified to assist economic development agencies with their strategic planning and business development efforts.”

To learn more about the unique advantages of using PIERS U.S. Export Data visit and check out our new interactive graph that shows actual monthly values for PIERS TEU volume and U.S. Census data as well as projected values to reach the National Export Initiative’s goal.

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