Archive | August, 2012

Trade Data Report: Export /Import Profile of the Global and U.S. Coal Industry


Coal is a major worldwide source of energy. Mined in over 100 countries, more than 40% of the world’s energy comes from coal. In 2008 49% of United States’ electricity came from coal.  Coal is almost equally distributed throughout the world. Proven coal reserves are 265 billion tons in Europe, 245 in North America, and 228 in Asia. The United States sit atop most of the North American Coal supplies at 273 billion tons ( Informative 2010 report from World Energy Council ).

Coal Production

China is the world’s heaviest coal producer, producing 3240 million tons. They alone account for 48% of the world’s coal production. The U.S .comes in second, producing 984 million tons, accounting for 14.8% of the world’s production (Download of BP Energy Study).  More than 90% of coal mined in the United States is used to create electricity. Electricity produced from coal accounts for 45% of America’s total energy (Website for EIA- U.S. Energy Information Administration).  In 2008 China generated 81% of its electricity from coal.

Exporters of Coal 

Since America sits on heavy coal reserves, we are the third greatest exporter of coal by value. See Chart 1 below.

By country the United States exports most of its coal to Brazil, followed by Canada. China was our fourth biggest coal destination. See Chart 2 below.

China’s market for US coal has more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2009, growing from around 121 million dollars to more than 600 million dollars. See Chart 3 below.

United States Coal Import

The United States, on the other hand, acquires almost 70% of its imported coal from one source: Colombia, South America.  See Chart 1 below.

Colombia’s coal exports have seen great growth in recent years, rising from around 2 billion US dollars worth in 2004 to over 10 billion dollars worth in 2009.  See Chart 2 below.

Trade Data Report: MSA: Richmond, Virginia. Big Industries Include Coal & Tobacco

Richmond, Virginia: Where and What

Richmond Virginia is located at the fault line of the James river. The fault line of the river is where the terrain changes prohibiting the further inborn travel of ships. Richmond is a very historical location. Some of its history includes: the delivery of the famous Revolutionary War speech, “Give Me Liberty or Death” and being the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.  It is located close to Washington DC, the present capital of the U.S.

Richmond Today: Fortune 500 +

Richmond today is the location of a couple of fortune 500 companies. Dominion Resources is the area’s leading electrical supplier, dealing with coal, gas, nuclear, and other renewables. Car Max, the world’s largest used car company, is headquartered here. Owens and Minor, a major distributor of medical and surgical equipment, is the fourth oldest company in Virginia. MeadWestvaco, the giant packaging solutions company who offers specialty office papers, supplies, and chemicals, leads its industry and manages over 3 million acres of forest land from Richmond. Altria Group, the former Philip and Morris, is also based out of Richmond.

Richmond Exports

Richmond’s Exports for the first half of 2010 were almost two and one half billion dollars, led by chemical and paper manufacturing and mining.

Richmond Imports.

We can view Richmond’s top importers, ranked by annual import volume.

Virginia Electricity from Colombian Coal 

Virginia Power Energy Marketing Inc. is the largest importer. This is no doubt an importer for Dominion Resources.  A closer look reveals that all the 100 million dollars worth of imported material is from Colombia.

With the controversy surrounding mountain top removal, the destruction of ancient hills for coal, it is no wonder that it becomes cheaper to import the energy producing material. Even more in-depth and interesting is the number of shipments, which was only 51, yet is valued at over 100 million dollars.

Detailed records of each shipment including Columbian supplier(s), port of departure and arrival, carrier, vessel’s name, arrival date, etc. is available for download in the PIERS Prospects interface.

Trade Data Report: MSA: McAllen, Texas. Maquiladora Capital. U.S.- Mexico Bridge

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is located near the bottom tip of Texas.

McAllen was the location of the first inland foreign trade zone set up in the United States. Foreign trade zones are locations where foreign goods are brought into the United States tax-free and tariff-free. McAllen’s close proximity to Mexico and the inclusion of Mexico in the ratification of the The North American Free Trade in 1994, provided McAllen’s economy with ample opportunity for growth. The area’s population has increased 36% from 2000 to 2010, ranking it as the 11th fastest growing MSA (1).

With this huge growth, McAllen is one of the best cities for recession recovery. The foreign trade zone’s services have recently expanded to include full logistic support services in public warehouse services including pick & pack, order processing, inventory control, incoming/outgoing quality inspection and kitting (2).

McAllen’s exports are sizable.  During the first half of 2010, McAllen generated over  two billion dollars of exports, half of which were from the Computer and Electronic industry. Excluding the fellow NAFTA countries of U.S. and Canada, fully two-thirds of these exports had the APEC region as a destination.  Note in the charts below, the 1.494 billion in exports to NAFTA treaty countries is excluded from consideration.  It’s all a matter of how you put the numbers together.

Maquiladoras are also common in McAllen. A maquiladora is a U.S. or foreign-owned manufacturing facility that processes or assembles components into finished or semi-finished products for export to other countries.

With PIERS Prospects we can get a closer view of what is happening on the ground with regard to McAllen’s imports. A simple search leads us to the top industries in the McAllen area. The top imports include motor vehicle parts and household audio and video equipment.

Further research finds that Fujitsu Ten Corporation of America is one of the most prominent importers of the region. Here we can view Fujitsu Ten Corporations of America’s imports and exports from the McAllen MSA. On the bottom we can see imported product percentage and respective estimated value.

You can view and download details on all Fujitsu’s 395 shipments over the last year by downloading the Excel spreadsheet from our World Trade Daily Google Docs site by clicking here.