Truck in front of a container ship in a port

Where do you get import and export data from?

In many countries, import and export data are issued on the basis of national laws (Transparency Laws / Freedom of Information Act). Since the 1970s in the USA, for example, all bills of lading for export and import shipments at seaports have been recorded and published in print magazines. Since the 2000s and the spread of the Internet, such data have been available electronically. For national security reasons, import shipments also include those that are not ultimately destined for the USA but remain on board of a sea cargo (FROB: Foreign Cargo Remaining on Board) or are delivered to Canada or Mexico as transit shipments overland through the USA. Accordingly, it is possible, for example, to make flows of goods from China to all countries of the world visible if container shipments are recorded in the USA.

The details from the goods shipments are very multi-faceted: starting with the type of shipment (e.g. sea, air, truck, rail, pipeline), many details can often be identified in granular form (e.g. suppliers, customers, goods descriptions, goods quantities, goods values, INCOTERMS, routing information).

In addition to governments, there are other institutions that offer trade data, e.g. UN Comtrade. Almost all countries in the world regularly report their macro trade data to UN Comtrade. Based on this, statistics on exported and imported products per country are possible. Aggregated across all countries, the general world market situation and development can be mapped by using this data.

As the data are reported on a voluntary basis, there are also countries that do not regularly supply UN Comtrade with data or do not always report on a monthly basis but only on a condensed annual basis, which is the case with China, for example. Using detailed algorithms, however, both annual figures can be broken down to monthly values and gaps can be interpolated very well, so that the most accurate picture of reality can be determined. Estimates prepared in this way can be found for all products in world trade in the Market Intelligence, precisely structured by means of an internationally uniform product coding system (HS codes, Harmonized System), which was introduced in the 1980s by the World Customs Organization, WCO.

How can you use Bills of Lading to gain more customers?

Since both the sender (supplier) and the recipient (customer) are declared in the bill of lading, you can easily find out which companies (regularly) buy products that your company, for example, could also supply. Often hundreds of qualified leads are only 2-3 mouse clicks away.

Access to targeted national markets is very easy: in the tool Market Intelligence from ABRAMS world trade wiki you can first evaluate interesting countries and then explicitly search for customers in these countries. This is done by linking the tools Market Intelligence and Selling Intelligence. There you can find out, for example, details about the purchasing behavior of potential customers for the relevant product classes. From such data, you can directly deduce the probability that further purchases will occur on a regular basis. This enables you to contact such potential customers specifically and at the right time.

Of course, you can analyse potential customers in detail before contacting them. In Company Transparency you can easily call up details of the international supply chains of millions of companies. In this way, you can find out which products are bought (and by the way, sold) in addition to your specific HS code class. This could possibly result in further sales potential for you.

Furthermore, in many cases you will be able to find out whether you are competitive in terms of price. With just a few clicks in millions of real shipments, you can identify price differences in individual countries and align your international expansion strategy accordingly. Focus your capacities on those markets that obviously offer the most attractive margins for you.

Can you process the data from governments of individual countries on your own?

In theory, yes. In practice, however, this would be a very long way, which we have actually gone in the development of ABRAMS world trade wiki over 5 years and an investment of several million Euro. In general, it can be said that each country has its own laws and it requires, for example, individual contracts to be concluded to obtain the data as raw data. We have gone this way in many countries and have taken such raw data as a basis to structure, standardize and above all to eliminate errors and to enrich further information per data set. What uses a raw information in the form of a number "146" for an export port if you do not have a reference database to decode this number as "Port of Valparaiso in Chile"?

It is only through this laborious detailed work that raw data in the sense of international supply chains become human-readable and, above all, usable for strategic decisions. It therefore makes no sense, neither in terms of workload nor cost, to acquire raw data in individual countries. We have long done this preparatory work for you, have intensively prepared and visualized the data, and can provide access to this valuable knowledge at a fraction of our own costs due to economies of scale.

All in all, we have created a tool for you which is unique in its compression of data from many important trading countries worldwide. The valuable knowledge is always only a few mouse clicks away, and if that should be too much for you: You can also simply let ABRAMS world trade wiki work for you automatically. Our customer support team will work with you to set up our monitoring service so that you automatically receive information tailored to your questions about shipments from interesting companies - e.g. simply as a notification on your smartphone. Customer acquisition has never been more comfortable ...

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