2nd Tier TI Providers, Part 1: Top Secret & Ultra Top Secret Sources for Customs Data

During the last several weeks, we’ve reported in-depth on the five top-tier Trade Intelligence Providers and purveyors of U.S. Customs (transactional) data, all of which are headquartered in the United States (possible exceptions are PIERS and Datamyne whose parent companies are headquartered in England and Uruguay respectively).

U.S. Customs, now under DHS

This week, we will outline second tier providers of U.S Customs data (or sellers of similar transactional data on one or more countries).  As you will notice, many of these venders are located in India or China.  The list of sources is mushrooming as prices are correspondingly plummeting.

One China based company is offering access and reporting on U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Manifest (BOL) data for 8 cents a day – $30 for an annual subscription.  Another, India based company’s cost per downloaded record is only 16 cents, thus to download 100 shipment records, the cost would be US $ 1.60.   Many offer subscription plans starting at $99 or less.

But let’s begin at the beginning. Many readers have requested information on how to source the raw data directly from Customs.  So, here it is.

List of the 40 Countries “Anonymous”; the unsearchable, unfindable TI Provider maintains transactional data for

U.S. Customs Data is now officially under the auspices of DHS – Department of Homeland Security.  They don’t make it easy to find them. Although they are required by federal mandate to release specified fields contained within the shipping manifests under the freedom of information act, they are not required by law to make the process easy.

There are two departments you have to deal with: one that handles and dispenses the data and the other that bills and collects the money. At last record the data center folks are headed by James Klosko, fax: 703-650-3144.  CBP form 3 (05/03) is required.  The $$ folks were headed by Deborah Wolfley fax: 317.298.1258.  Written request must be submitted – Customs form 368 – for collection of $$.

The cost is $100 per day or $36,500.25 (average) per year.  Buyers can now retrieve the data via FTP feed versus over night delivery, as it had been for many years.  You can even buy the raw data a year or two in arrears if you want to.  Sorry, no discounts are available.

On the theme of secrecy, I recently stumbled upon a mysterious unnamed data source while reviewing a survey about Trade Information providers conducted by the EU.  The report is available for download via our WTD Google Docs site.  Also check out WTD articles “Extraordinary (Top Secret) Report on TI Providers Published by the EU” Part 1 and Part 2.  This entity is conveniently referred to as “Anonymous”.

ANONYMOUS is a WEB application to access a cargo data-warehouse on import/export container records from about 40 countries. Sources can be queried from a single interface point. The data are translated and searchable in English.  Over 90% of the data is regulatory: the balance is derived from port authorities, carriers or other commercial data collectors.  However, this paid service is NOT ADVERTISED ON THE WEB.

They have the most comprehensive data collection on the planet.  “Anonymous” is the ONLY entity to have apprehended transactional data for Middle-Eastern Countries. I’d say they are the best-kept secret in the trade intelligence world.  Who are they?!

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