The 2020 Top 100 Importers and 100 Exporters Journal of Commerce List is out. Now if there was an award show, maybe an ocean blue carpet or a sky blue carpeted run way would be good for the nominee. The international freight industry simply does not have time for such fanfare and luxury from my vantage point. Our clients all work too hard moving product to celebrate in such a manner, but it is fun to think about.

No shocker here as Walmart stayed at the top of the importer list with Target, The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ashley Furniture in the top five spots. Together they imported 2.47 million TEU in 2019.  (TEU is a 20 foot container) For you math folks that is 6,767 twenty foot equivalent units a day, 365 days.

Top 5 exporters on the list are Koch Industries, International Paper, America Chung Nam, DeLong and ExxonMobil Chemical. Together they exported 959,588 TEU in 2019.  They are very interesting lists and I usually have a few surprises, but I wanted to pass along some of my observations on the lists.

The companies are spread all over the country and they represent virtually every geographic area.  No one commodity dominates the lists and basically the products imported and exported are very diverse. The companies for the most part have been on the list before and have been importing and exporting consistently for many years. It is not a recent strategy or a trend, but more of a commitment to their customers and clients around the world and in the United States.

This is my take away. It is about serving your customers and clients and doing it every day. Big or small. Consistently meeting and exceeding client expectations.  Getting on these lists does not happen nor do they do it alone. It takes thousands of dedicated people within an industry to deliver this type of volume to include, ocean carriers, airlines, truckers, port and terminal staffs and operations, maintenance crews, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and the lists can continue. Congrats to those on the list and to those that will be on it in the future!

Written By: Scott Hoffman


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