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Bill of Lading Database, Import Export Data: PIERS

Access US customs trade data through bill of lading search

PIERS is the leading provider of import and export data at the detailed, bill-of-lading level – a heritage rooted in 40 years of amassing the industry's largest US waterborne trade data set. Every day, on average, the PIERS team processes close to 60,000 bills of lading that are filed with US Customs. Within hours of receipt, we verify, standardize, enhance and load the data into our products so that you can spend your time on business decisions rather than data collection. The PIERS team integrates this transactional trade data with standardized company details so you can also identify imports and exports by company. In addition to US trade data going back to 2003, you can find detailed import and export transactions for 14 international markets and trade statistics for more than 80 countries. Many customers use PIERS as a complement to our aggregated trade data product, Global Trade Atlas.

The PIERS three-tier subscription model offers a scalable solution that lets you:

  • Increase operational efficiencies with decision-ready data
  • Make smarter decisions based on greater data accuracy
  • Capitalize on market opportunities by tracking supply-demand shifts
  • Benchmark competitor shipments, trading partners, suppliers and strategies
  • Generate sales leads by targeting companies based on their trade activities
PIERS US Data Coverage
  • US waterborne import and export trade data covering 100% of US port locations
  • Total bills of lading: 20,747,997 processed in 2015 with over 10 billion data fields
  • Company records: 45 million records with 2.2 million distinct company names
  • US export bills of lading: 3,986,093 processed in 2015, including:
    • Non-containerized export MTONs: 418,353,584
    • Distinct containers: 5,195,210
  • Average daily bills of lading processed: 56,844
  • Trading countries: 213
  • Historical data: Back to 2003
PIERS Non-US Data Coverage
  • Data for 14 countries in Central & South America, India, China and Vietnam
  • Import and export bills of lading, including importer and exporter names: Central America, Chile, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam
  • Detailed import and export data, including company names: Colombia, Costa Rica, Panamá, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina (Argentina, importer names only)
PIERS Data Fields
  • Bill of lading number
  • Vessel name, IMO code, voyage number
  • Ocean carrier/shipping line
  • Consignee name/address (only for US imported shipments, not for US exported shipments)
  • Shipper name/address (included for both imports/exports, unless the company has applied for confidentiality from US States Customs)
  • Notify name/address (only for US imported shipments, not for US exported shipments)
  • Location and country of lading
  • Departure date (included for US exports, arrival date indicated for US imports)
  • Location and country of destination
  • Port of discharge/transshipment port
  • Description of goods (full description and PIERS-generated summary)
  • Weight
  • Container number(s)
  • Six-digit HS code
  • Master and house bill of lading numbers
  • Estimated value
  • Vessel flag/country of registry
  • Containerized/non-containerized
  • Refrigerated, potentially hazardous, roll-on/roll-off cargo

PIERS Subscription Levels

Choose a PIERS subscription that offers the right amount of content, functionality and customization you need.


PIERS TI provides entry-level product access to the PIERS database for basic research.

Use the PIERS TI web application to search the database by:

  • Shipper, consignee and notify party
  • Commodity type, HS code, PIERS commodity description
  • Units, weight, packaging, volume (TEUs)
  • PIERS estimated value
  • Ship line, bill of lading number, vessel name and unload/load ports

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PIERS Level 2: Prospects 2.0

Welcome to the new era of lead generation. PIERS Prospects 2.0 integrates PIERS transactional trade data with Dun & Bradstreet company information to equip you with a powerful prospecting tool. Prospects 2.0 not only provides aggregate information on maritime importers and exporters, but also delivers unrivaled detail on shipments, partners and demographics for each company. To ensure you buy only the data you need, Prospects 2.0 offers three additional subscription options - basic, advanced and finance. All three levels include import and export data but vary in terms of search features, company profile/bill-of-lading views and download allowances, and training and support.

Use Prospects 2.0 to:

  • Generate quality leads in minutes by targeting companies based on their trade activities
  • Search importers and exporters by company, commodity, HS or SIC code
  • Access Dun & Bradstreet standardized and updated company information
  • See comprehensive international buyer and seller rankings
  • Download company search results or bill-of-lading details by company

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PIERS Level 3: PIERS Enterprise

PIERS Enterprise is an advanced data and business intelligence portal for enterprise-class organizations that require complex and tailored trade intelligence on US maritime imports and exports. Data analysts and power users access cleansed, standardized and enhanced data sets using our state-of-the-art data query tool interface. Senior executives, line managers and sales professionals can get decision-ready intelligence via dynamic interactive dashboards built to their workflow specifications in consultation with PIERS business intelligence experts. PIERS Enterprise customers also have optional access to top-tier account management services, including primary points of contact with industry subject matter experts, research and data analysis support, and end-user usage reporting.

Key features:

  • Fast reporting – Our new cloud database technology means your reports will publish 94% faster than before
  • Larger data transfers – Download years of trade data, back to 2003, in just a few minutes
  • Interactive dashboards – See your market share by commodity, shipper/consignee or ship line

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Is PIERS right for you?

Nearly all of the top 20 ocean carriers, many of the world’s biggest NVOCCs and 3PLs, and transportation, energy, chemical, agriculture and finance companies trust PIERS for their trade data.

Who uses PIERS? How?
Port Operators
  • Monitor and analyze transshipment hubs and opportunities
  • Conduct carrier lifting analysis by port pairs
  • Perform commodity or customer targeting analysis
  • Review competing ports and terminal activity by carrier
  • Measure competing carrier market share shifts by region, country, port pairs
  • Conduct customer or commodity targeting sales campaigns for increased liftings at designated ports
  • Perform trade lane analysis for new service expansion
  • Maximize profits by focusing on customers moving high-rated commodities
  • Monitor competing country and company inroads
  • Oversee designated supplier and customer activities to ensure they remain within contractual compliance
  • Penetrate new markets
Insurance companies
  • Expand sales by locating and identifying specific companies meeting required parameters for sales targeting
Government agencies
  • Provide lists of companies within specific geographic parameters
Trade organizations
  • Find aggregated company data on all companies that import or export from the US and that export from non-US countries
Freight forwarders
Transportation firms
  • Identify sales leads by searching for shippers and consignees within certain parameters

Customer Testimonials

"With the platform that PIERS developed for us, I am able to get an immediate snapshot of how my business is trending, drill into my competition’s shipments and find new sources of supply all while drinking my morning cup of coffee. With other products I couldn’t get the details behind the Bill of Lading, but with PIERS I can quickly drill into the Master Bill of Lading to uncover the details behind my competition's business. Uncovering my competition’s shipments in a certain tradelane or the consignee on imports has given me a great advantage. I am also able to identify which big shippers are using NVOCCs and recently negotiated better rates and more suppliers. I was shocked at how quickly I started seeing results. Within just two months of using the PIERS Enterprise platform, I broke into a new country and secured a $200K deal with an additional $1.5M in revenue currently being negotiated. With a return like that, I’d say it’s worth the investment!"

John Yohanan, CEO / President
Gulf South Forest Products, Inc.

"We were amazed how PIERS Prospects so quickly and easily allowed our sales team to identify and target new business in an area and also give us unknown insights into the activities of our existing clients."

Mignon Crawford, Director of Global Trade Solutions
SunTrust Bank, Inc.

The PIERS Difference

When you subscribe to PIERS, you are getting the highest quality data, which our specialists have cleansed, standardized and enhanced through a six-step process.

Step One: Structure
PIERS specialists structure disparate data sources into a single model.

Step Two: Standardize
PIERS specialists normalize various names, abbreviations and codes for ports to a reference set.

Step Three: Validate
PIERS specialists validate voyage information against port entry and exit logs published by US Customs.

Step Four: Code
PIERS specialists parse raw text cargo descriptions into brief commodity descriptions and assign Harmonized System (HS) codes.

Step Five: Calculate
PIERS specialists calculate consistent weight and TEU values across the entire data set, accounting for consolidated shipments, multiple commodities, filings errors and other special cases.

Step Six: Enhance
PIERS specialists use PIERS historical reference sets and algorithms for added value data points – identifying refrigerated cargo, adding company data and more.

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