Zepol's Blog of U.S. Imports and Exports

Fourth of July Fireworks | Import Facts

The United States imports tons of fireworks, literally. In May of 2014 alone, over 29,000 metric tons of fireworks were shipped to the United States, which amounted to over 4,100 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).

The Midwest is the most patriotic region that purchases these pyrotechnics, which is mainly due to the state of Kansas. Kansas is by far the largest importer of fireworks; the state brings in 29% of all firework imports to the United States. So why Kansas? Well, it’s home to the massive fireworks importer, Jake’s Fireworks, which has wholesale warehouses and pop-up stores across the country.

Most of the fireworks (HS 3604.10.1000) for Independence Day actually originate from China. In 2013, China exported over $209 million in fireworks to the United States. So far in 2014, January through April, China has already sold over $87 million to the country, a 21% increase compared with the same time in 2013.
US Fireworks Import Graph

If you would like more information about the trade of fireworks, Zepol’s database offers a no-hassle free trial.

5 Tips to Fight Summer Sales Slump with U.S. Import Records

The summer can be the greatest time ever for a sales team, but it can also be the worst. With what seems like 1000s of “out of office” replies and less leads coming in, it’s important for sales teams to find alternative and creative ways to beat the summer sales slump. Searching U.S. Customs import records is a great way to think outside the box to generate quality leads in this time of ‘heat.’ These 5 tips are some of the ways our 1000s of customers use import records (bills of lading) to find the best leads, even during a slow season.

(Below is an example of a bill of lading/U.S. import record)

1. View and qualify lists of companies based on import volume. Analyzing import history allows you to see if this company even meets your qualifications. Upward import trends or downward plummets also give a pretty big hint at whether a company is buying or not.

(Below is an example of import companies bringing in coconut oil. Which company would you call first? Cough, cough… green) 

2. Search for companies who import the products you sell. This seems like an obvious use to searching import records but many companies still don’t know that this information is out there. Zepol provides all ocean import records from U.S. Customs which includes the bill of lading field “Product Description.” This field provides detailed descriptions for the product of import and often includes an HS classification code. This way, even if you have a niche product, you will be able to find specific buyers based on your search.
(Below is in example of a bill of lading product description) 

3. Discover which importers are in your territory (geographically). Because the importer's address is released on the bill of lading, sales professionals can search by city or even down to a specific zip code to find leads in their surrounding area or territory. Lists like this are easy to download to Excel and find contact information fast.
(Below is a sample list of importers with zip code 55112) 

4. Find what companies your competitors are selling to. Companies trade patterns are easy to find within Zepol’s bill-of-lading database. If a U.S. company is importing from your competition, you would be able to see what products they are buying, how much, and how often, which gives you the competitive advantage.

5. Try something new for free. Don’t let searching U.S. Customs trade data become a hassle to try. Zepol offers a no-obligation Free Trial (no credit card needed). Get out of your summer slump, try something new, and use these tips.

2013 U.S. Port Report Published

U.S. Port Report ButtonZepol has published its much-coveted U.S. Port Report for 2013. Thousands of professionals download this report every year to get free trade statistics on the top 20 ports in the United States. The report compares import trends from 2013 to 2012 based off Zepol's U.S. Customs and U.S. Census derived data. Learn about the millions of shipments these gigantic infrastructures handled in 2013 and the amazing variety of products they bring in, from oil to men's underwear.

Thousands of trade professionals download Zepol’s ‘Port Report’ every year because it provides impactful insights for transportation companies, importers and exporters, steamship lines, and more,” says Zepol’s CEO Paul Rasmussen. “The data included lets trade professionals take a glimpse at what’s going on at U.S. Ports and what that means for their company’s trade lanes.

Each port has its own profile with a trend of imports by month compared to last year, a list of key importers and master carriers, and the top-sourced countries for its goods. In addition, commentary for each port highlights what happened, in terms of imports, for 2013 and what types of products each port specializes in.

Top 10 Imports in the United States for 2013

U.S. imports in 2013 decreased from the total value in 2012 by 0.38%. Not surprisingly, the top import for the United States is oil. Oil accounted for 12.5% of the total U.S. imports in 2013. Automotive vehicles are the second largest import in the United States. Foreign car imports were valued at over $152 billion in 2013, which was an increase from 2012 by 4.1%. Cell phones, medicines, and clothing make up another huge portion of American imports as seen in the table below.

The table shows the top 10 U.S. imports by total value for 2013 listed by HTS code (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) and NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System)

Top 10 HTS Codes
Total Value
Top 10 NAICS Codes
Total Value
1 Petroleum Oils - 2709.00 $273,494,624,173 Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas - 211111 $283,131,222,983
2 Passenger Motor Vehicles - 8703.23 $82,981,537,230 Automobiles - 336111 $152,962,966,668
3 Passenger Motor Vehicles - 8703.24 $62,126,272,098 Radio and Television Broadcasting Equipment - 334220 $97,483,137,407
4 Petroleum Oils - 2710.19 $52,552,323,170 Petroleum Refinery Products - 324110 $90,746,455,033
5 Imports of Articles Exported and Returned - 9801.00 $51,841,567,386 Electronic Computers - 334111 $59,494,499,150
6 Telephones for Wireless Networks - 8517.12 $49,724,298,691 Goods Returned to Canada (exports) Goods Returned Reimported (imports) - 980000 $55,193,278,330
7 Portable Digtl Data Processing Machines - 8471.30 $42,640,245,049 Pharmaceutical Preparations - 325412 $50,779,917,165
8 Medicaments - 3004.90 $33,756,253,227 Women's, Infants, Apparel - 315240 $45,615,959,917
9 Light Oils and Preparations - 2710.12 $33,588,869,815 Semiconductors and Related Devices - 334413 $39,288,212,505
10 Machines for Transmission of Voice - 8517.62 $29,865,371,621 Jewelry & Silverware - 339910 $38,725,947,262

6 Things to Know About U.S. Trade with Russia

Russia is a relatively large trading partner with the United States. The recent talks of sanctions on oil and energy between the two nations could cause a significant impact on U.S. companies. So how much and what does the United States actually trade with Russia? These six stats give a brief visual on the current state of trade between the United States and Russia.

    1. Russia is the 18th largest nation the United States imports from and accounted for over $26 billion worth of U.S. imports in 2013.

    2. Heavy oil fuels make up almost half of U.S. imports from Russia. HTS code 2710.19.0635 made up over $11 billion worth of the U.S. imports from Russia.

    3. Most U.S. imports from Russia arrive through the ports of New Orleans, Louisiana and Houston, Texas which combined handle most of the heavy fuel imports.

    4. Over $48 million in duties were applied to U.S. imports of Russian goods last year (2013).

    5. 94% of Russian exports to the United States arrive by cargo ship vs. air shipments.

    6. The top U.S. exports to Russia are civil aircraft engines and parts, HTS 8800.00.0000, which accounted for $1.9 billion of the $11 billion in U.S. exports to Russia.

US trade with russia graph