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

Zepol Launches New Website

Zepol is happy to launch its new website to the public after a lengthy research and design process. Zepol hopes the new site will help its customers and prospects find the information they are looking for more quickly and with fewer clicks. The less-busy design now helps visitors better understand how Zepol’s U.S. import and export application can improve their business.

Zepol’s application lets users search the documents of over 130 million U.S. import and export shipments. This information is used to monitor competition, generate targeted sales leads, and even find and track suppliers overseas. The new site includes customer reviews, client case studies, videos, and more, to help prospects see how the thousands of Zepol customers benefit from its tools.

“We are excited to already see a change in web traffic and visitor behavior with our new site.” says CEO of Zepol Paul Rasmussen, “Our goal was to simplify our visitors’ experience and give them a better way to research and evaluate our application, which is clearly working.”

Below is a before and after of Zepol's new website.

Zepol Website Before and After image

Zepol's New Beta HS Code Search

Zepol is thrilled to announce that subscribers now have access to the beta version of our HS Code search in TradeIQ Import. An HS Code is a 6-digit code that identifies an imported product and determines the amount of duties owed. In the first phase of this enhancement, subscribers can navigate to the HS Code they are interested in by clicking the HS Code tab. With the new HS Code search subscribers can:

  • View lists of HS Codes for importers and suppliers
  • Search by 6-digit HS Codes in addition to product keywords
  • Narrow down a broad Product search by selecting an HS chapter

Also, Master bill of lading numbers are now clickable links to reports that show the Master bill of lading and the House bill of lading you were viewing. The Master bill of lading can show additional information regarding the product, ports, and companies involved in the transport of the shipment.

To see these enhancements in action, please view the short video demonstration below or Contact Us for more information.

U.S. Import Update January 2014

Zepol’s TradeIQ Import reports that U.S. cargo imports for January of 2014 were up 5.7% from January of last year and 4.6% from December. The majority of the increase in import volume is attributed to Asia and Europe. Both regions rose in exports to the United States from last January by 6.7% and 8%, respectively. Since July of 2013, U.S. imports have gradually increased from 2012 and don’t look like they will slow down, especially with recent legislation.

In a recent article by the Los Angeles Times, President Obama announced that his new order will make the process for importing and exporting goods more efficient. Obama stated that U.S. Customs would shift the wait-time for import and export permits from a few days to a few minutes. This will be done by streamlining required import and export documents to make them all electronic, and all in one place. Obama has given agencies until December 2016 to complete this new system.

The new order will likely save importers time and money and contribute to the overall increase in imported and exported goods. The online system has already begun implementation and is known as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). Many importers already submit their forms with ACE, and in fact, this is the system that Zepol receives its data from.

The graph below shows monthly U.S. imports from 2012 through 2014.
US Monthly Imports Graph

The table below shows U.S. imports in January of 2014 compared to January of 2013.
Port Region
January 2014 TEUs
% Change from
  Jan 2013 
January 2014
% Change from
  Jan 2013 
Asia 1,157,369
6.7% 585,556 7.1%
Europe 188,197 8.0% 107,337 10.5%
Central America 123,154 -5.5% 48,601 -2.0%
South America
6.9% 20,805 0.6%
Middle East 28,993
22.4% 15,859 20.3%
Other 23,517
1.7% 12,200 8.0%
Africa 11,513
-5.7% 5,233 6.4%
Australia, New Zealand
and Oceania
11,126 -2.6% 5,528 -3.6%
North America 2,205
-33.7% 1,829 -14.9%
Total 1,594,855 5.7%
802,948 6.9%

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