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

West Coast Port Imports | Potential Strike Impacts June and July Supply Chain

West Coast Port Imports 2014West Coast port contracts for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association were up as of July 1st. According to a Forbes article, the two unions account for about 20,000 workers across 29 West Coast ports. If these unions actually cease work it could put a giant dent in U.S. trade. 

U.S. importers and retailers have prepared for a potential strike by ramping up imports for the month of June, which experienced some unusually high import volume. U.S. TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units or containers) imports at West Coast ports in June were nearly 10% higher than June of 2013 and totaled over 880,000 TEUs.

Most of this surge was seen at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Combined, the two ports account for 75% of all imports to the Pacific West Coast. Long Beach increased TEU imports in June by 8% compared to June of 2013 and Los Angeles rose 14%.

Other West Coast ports experienced high imports as well. The port of Tacoma posted its highest TEU import volume ever in June. The port brought in about 80,000 TEUs, which was 22% higher than May and 29% higher than its monthly average for the last 12 months.

So far in July, West Coast ports aren’t ‘dockin and rollin’ as hard as June in terms of imports. In the first 23 days of July, West Coast ports imported a little over 655,000 TEUs. That’s about 3% less compared to the same time last year. June may have been the peak month for holiday imports, or volume could pick back up in August as the threat of a supply-chain nightmare sails into the past. Either way, just the whisper of a strike had a drastic effect on U.S. imports for June, let’s hope one doesn’t actually happen. 

top 5 west coast ports graph 2014

*Data Note* The data and import numbers in this report do NOT include empty containers or containers labeled as freight remaining on board a ship. These numbers come exclusively from Zepol's U.S. Customs database, TradeIQ Import.

Zepol Now Offers Dun & Bradstreet Data

zepol partners with D&B ImageZepol has partnered with D&B to offer additional company and contact information to its U.S. Customs databases: TradeIQ Import and TradeIQ Export. Now Zepol’s customers have the flexibility to add more comprehensive company fields to their downloaded reports with just one click. This new feature includes validated fields like the D-U-N-S® Number, employee titles and names, phone number, sales volume, employee count, and more.

“D&B data included in our company reports offers even more targeting opportunities for our customers,” states Zepol’s CEO Paul Rasmussen. “The new feature helps qualify sales leads and validate global suppliers. We now not only provide a company’s bill of lading shipment and volume details, but even more ways to reach out to prospects and potential suppliers.”

Zepol’s D&B information is available for purchase as an add-on to its TradeIQ Import or TradeIQ Export subscriptions. Users are able to add extra company and contact detail to Excel reports for easy analysis and upload into a CRM. Zepol also provides this D&B data in the form of a customized report, which is available upon request.

Zepol offers a free and personalized demo of this information. To schedule a demo to see D&B data from Zepol, click the button below or call 612-435-2191.

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.

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