Top 100 US Importers
It’s not easy to be in the green while being green. That’s one of the lessons emerging from The Journal of Commerce Top 100 Importers and Exporters rankings for 2012.
It’s been seven years since Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club put forth their corporate objective to reduce packaging across supply chains by 5 percent by 2013, and their subsequent metrics for supplier scorecards — the so-called Packing 7 R’s: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue and Read — have trickled down into best practices and brought significant rewards across the industry for cargo interests.
When goods are densely packaged safely, transportation savings accrue in fewer container counts, lower drayage units, lower per-unit freight costs, and more goods in less space in warehousing and distribution centers and on the store shelves.
For ocean carriers, the downside may be more cargo in fewer containers with lower vessel capacity utilization rates.
So, is it accurate to compare container cargo liftings growth over the last several years without considering such stowage and packaging factors?
On a volume basis, containerized U.S. imports increased 2.6 percent year-over-year and were 2.3 percent ahead of pre-recession 2008. In contrast, U.S. exports in 2012 inched ahead just 0.4 percent year-over-year, but were 5.7 percent above 2008. While the export trade is leading in cargo growth, the liftings lack the velocity to achieve President Obama goals under the National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports in the five years through 2014.
Debuting in the importer rankings at No. 83 with 15,100 TEUs is First Solar. Its portfolio includes energy solutions such as a low-cost alternative to retail electric costs through nonsubsidized solar electric modules that have a proprietary semiconductor technology that is seen to have worldwide rural applications.