WTD Editorial: Starting Up a New Company to Sell U.S. Customs Data

We’ve written a handful of WTD articles on new TI (Trade Intelligence) Suppliers coming on the scene with off-the-shelf BI (Business Intelligence) tools sitting atop U.S. Customs Waterborne Data:

Recently, yet another would-be TI Provider (from China) contacted me asking guidance. The following are excerpts (with notes) from our email correspondence (my responses in italics).

“I just wanted to check if you receive my message and have interests in sell AMS data to me. I’m in China and I’m also interested what kind of data your are selling.  In China, TI products are mainly used by manufacturers to find foreign customers. All major providers have customs data. I’m also curious how large is the TI market in the US? Do you still offer any TI products? May I ask besides WTD blog, do you engaged in any other TI products which is still available in market? Is PIERS based on your processed data?

With regard to the AMS (U.S. Customs) Data, you may apply directly to CDP (U.S. Customs) which is now under DHS (Department of Homeland Security).  They only used to distribute it via DVD by overnight FedEx shipment each day (with Sat. Sun. Mon. data overnighted on Tuesday).  Now they make it available via FTP. It is $100 per day. You are billed every month, thus around $3,000 for each installment. They may not sell it directly to an offshore (foreign company).

A word of caution. The $100 per day data disc you get from U.S. Customs is very raw and virtually unusable. We spent 10 years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the most advanced processing system (which we call our A.I. Engine) that exists on the planet, and years developing various refinement processes.

PIERS bought several of the applications that sat upon our technology last year.  Since the PIERS purchase in May 2010, we have not bought or processed new data. Nor do we offer retail products. In time, we hope to find a partner, investor or buyer who will find value in the underlying technologies and databases we maintain. 

Two of the lead PIERS products that were purchased from us last year are Prospects and StatsPlus. These applications use data (including AMS /U.S. Customs) in uniquely innovative and integrative ways. 

I never told him how large the T.I. Market is in the U.S.  I really don’t know.  I know it should be larger than it is. I know it’s growing. I suspect that the growth is not keeping pace with the new companies that are sprouting up in China and elsewhere.

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