import data

Everything you need to know about U.S. import data for freight forwarders

Achieving a prominent position in the global trade market is not an easy thing to do. There are all sorts of competitors, from large global corporations to new tech players to be aware of. But any freight forwarder can act strategically by using U.S. import data to follow trends and find business opportunities.

A data-driven approach to foreign trade is not a future competence, it is a must right now for any entrepreneur who wants to grow.

There is important information available for freight forwarders to use for commercial and business purposes. Most of these are spread around public and private platforms, which makes collecting, comparing, and analyzing such a large mass of data a difficult task.

In this article, you will learn the importance of monitoring U.S. import data for freight forwarders. Also, we compiled some of the sector’s key trends and information sources you can use from now on.

  1. Why do freight forwarders need to monitor U.S. import data?
  2. U.S. import trends
    1. Most imported goods by category
    2. Most imported goods specified
    3. Main import partners
    4. Industries that import the most
  3. Where to find import data: learn the possible sources

Enjoy your reading!

Why freight forwarders should monitor U.S. import data?

As much as you need to monitor financial indicators to make sure your business is healthy, you also need to analyze quantitative and qualitative information to push your growth forward. Data analytics is already a standard for entrepreneurs who want to make the right decision, as it diminishes the verdicts based on assumptions

Besides, using the public data at your disposal, plus your own generated statistics and indicators, you can create better strategies resulting in: more efficient spending, more accurate client prospection, and faster conclusion when solving problems.

The global trade industry has a lot of useful information that freight forwarders can freely benefit from. U.S. import data, for instance, can be used to highlight the opportunities and trends to follow

Imagine you specialize in a certain type of cargo, like electronic goods. By analyzing updated statistics and figures, you can take notice early of the growing demands of certain products, suppliers, and terminals.

The constant use of an import database helps you make better decisions. And the usage of proper tools to gather, cross, and structure those in graphic models, cuts the time and effort that would be spent on doing so manually.

Read also: Freight Forwarders: 7 Tips To Find New Customers 

Is U.S. import data public?

Yes, customs data in the United States is public information. Every import or export movement leaves a paper trail behind, making it possible to quantify and organize data on the internalization of products, commodities, capital goods, and services.

To get data directly from its source, you can use the Freedom of Information Act as a base to get information from the Department of Homeland Security. But each request can come with a fee of up to U$25.

To maintain an updated database – which is fundamental to make assertive analysis and base decisions on – this method would cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars, especially when adding the time spent and the people allocated to it.

Are there other data sources available?

Yes, there are other tools, platforms, and governmental agencies that provide data and ready-made graphics on a monthly basis (we’ll list the most important ones at the end of this article).

Also, there are tools and platforms that automatize the job of collecting and organizing this information while charging an accessible recurring fee. This way, your only preoccupation is to properly search and examine the rich information that is of your interest.

U.S. imports: 4 trends you need to know

Since one of the main efforts needed in a data-driven operation is to observe trends in import movements, we compiled some key information from the U.S Trade Commission and UN Comtrade databases that you need to put in perspective when analyzing this sector.

Most imported goods by category

Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers$428.83B2021
Electrical, electronic equipment$415.98B2021
Vehicles other than railways, tramways$283.11B2021
Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products$223.93B2021
Pharmaceutical products$149.50B2021
Commodities not specified according to kind$120.53B2021
Optical, photo, technical, and medical apparatus$106.15B2021
Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins$91.90B2021
Furniture, lighting signs, prefabricated buildings$81.39B2021

Most imported goods specified

HTS 6ProductValueYear
2709.00Petroleum oils and oils from bituminous minerals, crude$133B2021
8703.23Passenger motor vehicles with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engines, cylinder capacity over 1,500 cc but not over 3,000 cc$75B2021
3004.90Medicaments, in measured doses, etc. (excluding vaccines, etc., coated bandages, etc., and pharmaceutical goods), nesoi$65B2021
8517.12Telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks$60B2021
8471.30Portable digital automatic data processing machines, weight not more than 10 kg, consisting of at least a central processing unit, keyboard & a display$59B2021
8517.62Machines for the reception, conversion, and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data, including switching and routing apparatus$42B2021
2710.19Petroleum oils, oils from bituminous minerals (other than crude) & products containing by weight gt=70% or more of these oils, not biodiesel or waste$36B2021
3002.15Immunological products put up in measured doses or in forms or packings for retail sale$35B2021
8703.24Passenger motor vehicles with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engine, cylinder capacity over 3,000 cc$33B2021
8471.50Digital processing units other than those of 8471.41 and 8471.49, n.e.s.o.i.$32B2021
8473.30Parts and accessories for automatic data processing machines and units thereof, magnetic or optical readers, transcribing machines, etc., nesoi$29B

Read also: 6 Sales Prospecting Mistakes Freight Forwarders Make (And How To Avoid Them) 

U.S. main import partners

South Korea$94B2021
United Kingdom$56B2021

Read also: What are Brazil’s import requirements? 

Industries that import the most

Electronic products$572B2021
Transportation equipment$427B2021
Minerals and metals$261B2021
Agriculture products$194B2021
Textiles and apparel$145B2021
All other sectors$427B2021

Where to find import data: learn the possible sources

As we mentioned before, there are many sources to get data on U.S. imports. Aside from the Department of Homeland Security, which might charge searches on its databases that are worth more than $14, those offer public information through personalized search engine models and interactive infographics.

These are some of the official sources where you can find customs quantitative and qualitative information and trends:

As you can see, there is a large amount of structured data spread through many sources. The whole process of gathering and organizing it can take a lot of work and time, even if streamlined by a crawling bot.

In the end, what is valuable to you is the information and not the methods to get it. That’s why it is recommended to use automation platforms that perform the hard work for you, allowing you to focus on making better decisions based on the data collected.