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

November Bumps 2013 Imports to 3.4% Higher Than 2012

Zepol reports that U.S. imports for the month of November are down 10.8% from October but are 18.5% higher than last year. November imports are consistent with the last few months where TEU (twenty foot container) counts toppled over last year's numbers and bumbed up total imports for 2013 to over 3.4% compared to 2012. As shown in the table below, Asia and Europe are the main contributors to the jump in imports from 2012. This November, Asia has exported almost 200,000 more containers than the same month in 2012. U.S. imports in 2013 started off slow, but this year is certainly finishing strong. Below is a chart of U.S. imports for the past 12 months by shipments and TEUs.  Below are the port regions of the world where U.S. imports originate. Port Region November 2013 TEUs % Change from   Nov 2012  ...

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The United States Loves Valentine's Day and Chocolate

Some version of Valentine’s Day is celebrated in countries across the world, but maybe none so strongly as the United States. The United States consumes on average about 17,500 metric tons of Valentine’s Day goods every year, but in 2013 that number grew to almost 20,000. In January of 2014 alone, importers have already brought in over 1,000 metric tons of Valentine’s goodies.

The products included in that pile of ‘love’ly imports are 1,462 metric tons of candy, 3,209 metric tons of Valentine’s Day cards, and 4,532 metric tons of decorations! Most of these goods come from China and are imported by major retailers, like Target, Kmart, Michael’s, Jo Ann Stores, and several major dollar stores.

While, cards, candy, and decorations are nice, what’s really important about Valentine’s Day is obviously the chocolate. So far in 2014, American candy makers have imported about 20,000 metric tons of that delicious, uplifting, milky gold. Not surprisingly, most chocolate imported comes from the European countries of Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, yum. Hershey, Storck, Barry Callebaut, and Lindt are just a few of the major chocolate importers in America but there are hundreds more.

With all these Valentine’s imports this year, there’s no excuse not to get something sweet for your sweetie… or some chocolate for yourself.
valentines day import graph

U.S. Imports in 2013 Were the Highest in Six Years

U.S. vessel imports were up 3.7% from 2012, which totaled over 18.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot container) brought into the United States last year. U.S. imports in 2013 started off at a slow start but ended with a surprising and unexpected surge from July through December. Annual TEUs haven’t been this high since 2007, which is a good sign for a strong recession rebound in the U.S. trade industry. So far in 2014, the first three weeks of imports in January are already 5.2% higher than the same time last year.

More U.S. Trade Updates

  1. Exporting Countries- U.S. ocean imports from Asia are up 3.7% from 2012 to 2013. China, which accounts for nearly half of the Asian exports to the United States, increased exports of TEUs by 4.5%. Vietnam, the fourth largest Asian exporter to the United States, increased a notable 13.8% from last year. European exports were also up from 2012 by 4.4%. Germany, the largest exporter from Europe, saw its largest year of exports to the United States ever in 2013, it increased by 2.4% and equated to 536,000 TEUs.

  2. U.S. Ports- The Port of Los Angeles is the top port once again for 2013 and handled over 3.9 million TEUs, but it actually decreased in TEU volume from 2012 by 3.2%. The Ports of Savannah and Norfolk were the fourth and fifth largest U.S. port in 2013, and both posted significant increases in TEUs by 5.8% and 10.4%, respectively.

  3. Carriers- Mediterranean Shipping Company was the largest U.S. cargo carrier in 2013. The shipping line brought in over 2.5 million TEUs to the United States last year and increased from 2013 by 7%. Maersk Line was the second largest carrier in 2013 but decreased from 2012 by 3%. Evergreen Line moved up to third place in 2013, passing APL Company and Hapaq Lloyd, and posted an increase of 6%.
The graph below shows U.S. imports in 2013 compared to 2012.

The table below shows U.S. imports in December of 2013 compared to December of 2012.
Port Region
December 2013 TEUs
% Change from
  Dec 2012 
December 2013
% Change from
 Dec 2012  
Asia 1,050,091
7.6% 537,148 8.7%
Europe 211,322 6.3% 127,678 8.7%
Central America 141,050 8.4% 55,026 6.8%
South America
3.3% 19,776 -1.3%
Other 24,187
16.2% 12,673 21.8%
Middle East 24,021
15.1% 11,798 -6.1%
Australia, New Zealand,
-8.7% 5,678 4.9%
Africa 9,551 -10.9% 4,319 0.3%
North America 5,055
42.9% 5,635 35.8%
Total 1,523,890 7.4%
779,731 8.3%

Zepol’s Latest Import/Export Report: Inorganic Acid and Oxygen Compounds

Organic acid, organic compound, Report download button,Inorganic acids and oxygen compounds are categorized under the harmonized tariff code 2811 and account for over $530 million U.S. imports and nearly $400 million U.S. exports. About 33% of the imports come from Mexico and 19% of exports go to Canada.

Zepol’s latest report shows that the demand of certain products are on the rise. Hydrobromic acid imports were 40% higher in 2013 than 2012 (Jan-Nov) and sulfamic acid imports have also risen from 2012 by 21%. Exports of hydrogen cyanide and silicon dioxide have increased 29% and 4%, respectively.

More info in the inorganic acid and oxygen compound report include:

  • Key suppliers
  • Key U.S. importers
  • Top trending imports and exports
  • Detailed info on silicon dioxide

Poinsettias, Eh? The United States Receives Most Poinsettias from Canada.

The poinsettia is one of the most beautiful contributions to Christmas décor and a Mexican tradition, but Americans actually buy theirs from Canada. On average, the United States imports about $3.2 million worth of poinsettias from Canada every year.

Your mind may be blown, but don’t get all sad ‘aboot’ your 'Feliz Navidad.' This year is the first time in seven years that U.S. imports of poinsettias have arrived from south of the border...Olé!? Maybe. Because these poinsettia imports still aren’t Mexican, but Guatemalan and a little El Salvadoran.

As of September 2013, Guatemala has exported $467,000 in live poinsettias to the United States and El Salvador has sent $4,500 worth. These numbers may increase in the poinsettia’s peak trade months in November and December.

But why the sudden change in supply? Canada could be getting too pricey, or maybe Americans just want some more authentic flowers. Time will tell. For now, let’s be happy we get to enjoy those vibrant red stars over the holidays. Thanks Canada.

The graph below shows annual U.S. imports of poinsettias by total value.