Find out which ports are importing the most goods with SONAR

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Did you know? You can track the market share of each U.S. port in regard to all U.S. imports.

What is it?

Port Import Market Share (PIMS) – Port Import Market Share of U.S. Customs Maritime Import Shipments (PIMS). This is the market share that each U.S. port is capturing of the total U.S. Customs Maritime Import Shipments on a monthly basis. The U.S. ports labeled in this ticker are the U.S. ports that were identified as the ports of entry on the bill of lading when the import shipments were cleared for entry by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. There is only one port of entry for each shipment.

Port Import Market Share for the 5 Largest U.S. Ports

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The five largest ports in the United States are: Port of Los Angeles, Port of New Jersey/New York, Port of Savannah, Port of Oakland and the Port of Long Beach. In the chart above, SONAR users can see what percentage of U.S. imports these ports are capturing.

Who needs it?

Analysts: PIMS is an important metric for tracking U.S. import volumes into specific regions of the country. Anyone who is monitoring any facet of the domestic U.S. freight market will be interested in seeing which ports are handling the greatest volume of U.S. imports. Since a large portion of these shipments are moved into distribution centers in nearby markets, this metric has a direct impact on how many domestic U.S. truckload or less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments will originate from those nearby markets.  

Carriers: Carriers should monitor PIMS since it has a direct impact on the volumes of domestic truckload and LTL shipments that will originate from portside markets. When you see a port increase in market share, then you should assume that any truckload markets that contain that port are likely to increase in volume. This is also a major indicator of long-term trends in how shippers are routing their shipments into the U.S. 

Brokers: If you are routing shipments into the U.S. for a shipper, then it is important to understand how various U.S. ports are trending in terms of volume. If you see a port capturing more market share, then that could be a major indication that the port is likely to continue receiving more volume in the long-term. If that occurs, you may want to reach out to your ocean carriers to see about options routing into that port since they may be offering cheaper rates to help boost their services into that port. 

Shippers: Shippers can utilize PIMS to better understand how their shipper cohorts are choosing to route their shipments into the U.S., as well as monitor any major increases or decreases in volume to a specific port to better understand if there is likely to be more or less congestion in that port as a result of how volumes are trending. If you see a port capturing more market share, then that could be a key indication that the port is likely to continue receiving more volume in the long-term. If that occurs, you may want to reach out to your freight forwarders and ocean carriers to see about options routing into that port since they may be offering cheaper rates to help boost their services into that port. 

What can I do with it?

PIMS tells you how many shipments are being cleared through each port by U.S. Customs. In other words, of all maritime import shipments that are being cleared through U.S. ports each month, what percentage is moving through a specific port of entry. PIMS shows you the clear shifts in volume each month between all U.S. ports of entry. This can be important when trying to distinguish how U.S. importers are choosing to route their shipments and can be a lead indicator for which parts of the country are receiving more import shipment volumes. Consequently, you can determine which are likely to create more outbound truckload and intermodal volumes.

Show me how!

1) As in the example below, click 3D Map and add seaports via the “points of interest” tab:

  • Click “points of interest,” and then click the drop-down for “seaport width index” and type in PIMS into the field. Then, click on “PIMS” and then click “Submit” to add the seaports to the map with the width of each circle being representative of each U.S. port’s market share of U.S. imports.

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2) As in the example chart below, you can add a chart widget to your page and type in “PIMS” to show you all of the U.S. ports that you can choose from to display their market share changes over a specific time period.

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Pro Tip: Use PIMS with ICSTM (U.S. Customs Imports Shipments by Port) to see the exact number of shipments that each of the ports is managing, which brings a deeper level of visibility and granularity to each specific U.S. port.