International Trade Report: Product- Heavy Construction Equipment; HS 8249

HS Code 842959 (Mechanical shovels, excavators and shovel loaders) is one child category under HS 8429- Heavy Construction Equipment (Stats Plus).  A complete hierarchical construct of the “family tree” is available at U.S. Census (2).  Precisely the category is described as “Self-propelled bulldozers, angle-dozers, graders, levelers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers”.

Wikipedia provides an interesting history and types of Heavy Equipment as well as a list of notable manufacturers.  The use of heavy equipment has a long history. The ancient Roman engineer Vitruvius (1st century BCE) gave descriptions of heavy equipment and cranes in ancient Rome in his treatise De architectura. The pile driver was invented around 1500. The first tunnelling shield was patented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1818. Click to view the article. (3).

From a bird’s eye view, Japan reigns with over $12 billion exports, commanding a 28% global market share.  Leading importers include China, Canada, United States and Germany.  The overall global demand appears to be quite spread out with the largest buyer accounting for only 7% of total imports.

China & Hong Kong dominate Japan’s exports with 36% between them.  However, Japan has also garnered many developing markets in their export mix including Vietnam, Indonesia, UAE, Russia and Thailand.

The U.S. imports 50% (over $1 billion) of all their Heavy Construction Equipment from Japan.  Other, secondary sources include Brazil (11%), Great Britain (8%), Korea (8%) and Sweden (7%).

Notwithstanding, the most significant U.S. import growth (from 2009 to 2010) was from Sweden (more than doubled), Great Britain (189% growth) and (Japan (111%).  Canada had the most notable decline as a source for U.S. Heavy Construction Equipment with a 78% decrease!

The United States exports a considerable amount of this product as well.  Canada purchases over $2 billion (52% of U.S. exports), followed by Mexico, Australia, Columbia and Chile.  Significant growth in U.S. exports to our Latin American neighbors should be noted particularly in Chile (153%), Brazil (106%) and Peru (73%).  Russia can’t be ignored either as the market almost quadrupled within one year.

From a state perspective, Illinois ranks #1 (27%) as the leading exporter of Heavy Construction Equipment followed by Texas (10%) and Iowa (8%).  The included chart lists the top ten Illinois manufacturers, distributors or exporters.  Of interesting note is Komatsu with two locations – Rolling Meadows and Peoria.

Although Komatsu is a foreign-owned (Japanese) manufacturer; U.S. trade statistics (from Census) and other trade intelligence sources (such as waterborne shipping detail from Customs) count its imports into the U.S and its exports out of the U.S. as “domestic”.

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