Customs to Unveil C-TPAT Portal 2.0 on December 8th

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has sent out an alert to its Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) membership that the upgraded C-TPAT portal 2.0 is scheduled to launch its phase 1 on December 8, 2014. Customs has assured users that no data will be lost in the transition, but all passwords must be reset upon deployment.

The new portal will allow companies to maintain memberships in multiple programs such as C-TPAT, Importer Self Assessment (ISA), and additional partner government agency programs. Companies with multiple memberships in C-TPAT will be able to consolidate their C-TPAT accounts. In future phases of the portal 2.0, trade accounts will be able to be split or merged by authorized trade users to reflect mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, as well as to merge currently related C-TPAT accounts.

The security profile will be rebuilt in phase 2 and all C-TPAT members will be required to complete a new security profile as part of the annual review. Customs has not yet announced when phase 2 will be implemented.

The C-TPAT portal 2.0 user manual is available here.







Reminder: Biennial Food Facility Registration Required by December 31st

The Food Safety Modernization Act requires food facilities to renew their registration between October 1st and December 31st in even-numbered years. Domestic and foreign food facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food must renew their registration by December 31, 2014. Registrations that are not renewed by December 31st will be invalidated and subsequent entries will be held.

Food importers should contact their suppliers to ensure the registrations are renewed promptly to avoid clearance delays. More information on the renewal process may be found on the FDA website. FDA reminds food facilities that “updating” the registration is not the same as “renewing” the registration. The “Update” button will not be available until the registration is renewed.







Brazil and U.S. Consider Trade Agreement

As reported in the Journal of Commerce, the Brazil-US Business Council and Brazilian National Confederation of Industry have signed a cooperation agreement to study the potential for a trade agreement between the United States and Brazil, the U.S.’s ninth largest trading partner. The potential for a mutually beneficial agreement is considered favorable. At this time, the dialogue is in the beginning stages.







New Search Tool for the Consolidated Screening List

The Department of Commerce has created a new tool to help companies search the federal government’s Consolidated Screening List (CSL). The Consolidated Screening List consists of nine (9) different “screening lists” from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury that contain names of individuals and companies with whom a U.S. company may not be allowed to do business due to U.S. export regulations, sanctions, or other restrictions. The lists and source abbreviations are as follows:

  • Denied Persons List = DPL
  • Entity List = EL
  • Foreign Sanctions Evaders = FSE
  • ITAR Debarred = DTC
  • Nonproliferation Sanctions = ISN
  • Palestinian Legislative Council List = PLC
  • Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List = SSI
  • Specially Designated Nationals - SDN
  • Unverified List = UVL

The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) and Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) worked with the Departments of the Treasury and State to form an authoritative, up to date, and easily searchable list with over 8,000 company and individual names and their aliases. These improvements provide options to the downloadable CSL files currently on export.gov.

It is extremely important for U.S. companies to check the CSL before doing business with a foreign entity to ensure it is not flagged on any of the agency lists. The U.S. agencies that maintain these lists have targeted these entities for various national security and foreign policy reasons. The CSL will help businesses avoid penalties by checking the multiple lists of parties of concern and adhering to the policies of each agency.

In addition to using the search tool, the CSL is now available to developers through the ITA Developer Portal. The Consolidated Screening List API (Application Programming Interface) enables computers to freely access the CSL in an open, machine-readable format.

In early January, ITA intends to release a more comprehensive search tool.

The full press release can be found here.







Proposed Increase for Honey Fee

The Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed an increase in the honey fee from $0.01 per pound to $0.015 per pound over a two year period. The rate would increase to $0.0125 per pound for the period January 1 through December 2015, and to $0.015 per pound for the period January 1 through December 2016.

The honey fee is used for research and promotion projects designed to maintain and expand the market for honey and honey products in the United States and abroad. Comments on the proposed increase are due by December 18, 2014. More information may be found in the Federal Register notice of November 18, 2014.







Ocean Carriers Confuse Industry with West Coast Congestion Surcharge

The carriers have done an amazing job in collectively confusing the shipping public by their on again and off again tactics with reporting a hefty Port Congestion Surcharge for cargo destined to or via the U.S. West Coast ports. Some carriers have included Canada and Mexico; some have not. Some carriers have included all trade lanes, while others have kept it for Asia cargo only. Some carriers have included both export and import cargo, while others have included only import cargo. What we know for sure is all carriers have changed their minds at least twice in the past two weeks and have made announcements of congestion surcharges of generally $800/20’, $1000/40’, $1125/40’HC, and $1266 per 45’. While it is true that things are a mess on the west coast with serious congestion as the ILWU fails to extend its contract with the employers at the ports, the carriers have yet to find justification of such a hefty charge with such short notice.

The FMC stepped in to question the legality of imposing such a surcharge each time the mass announcements were made (one was effective with cargo tendered to the carrier on November 17, and after that one was cancelled, another one was announced for cargo tendered to the carriers November 26). Each time the carriers announced that they had filed the surcharge in their tariffs two years ago, but each time the FMC questioned how could they justify not giving 30 days’ notice prior to the actual effective date of the surcharge.

As the holidays approach the majority of carriers generally decided to postpone implementation of the Congestion Surcharge until further notice. Call it a holiday gift or another attempt to confuse us all.







Nicaragua Announces Construction of New Canal as Alternative to Panama Canal

According to the Journal of Commerce, Government Officials in Nicaragua have announced the start date for a Nicaraguan Canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, to compete with the Panama Canal. Construction on the Pacific side of the canal is set to begin on December 22nd, with the canal scheduled to be completed by 2020. Although this canal is set to be longer, deeper, and wider than its rival in Panama, many are skeptical of its economics, competitiveness, environmental impact, and whether a third canal is even needed for international trade.

This announcement comes at the heels of the arrival of the final sets of locks to be installed for the expanded Panama Canal. Once the expanded canal finally opens, it will be able to handle most of the world’s container ships raising the size from 5,000 TEU ships to 12,500 TEUs. The Panama Canal Authority is already investigating the possibility of building even larger locks to accommodate current and future megaships.







Seattle and Tacoma Want Mediators in PMA-ILWU Negotiations

The ports of Seattle and Tacoma are advising President Barack Obama to assign federal mediators to assist on the contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Both ports form the third-largest container gateway in North America, representing a connection to Asia and Alaska.

Senior executives from both ports have asked the President to reconsider his decision not to assign federal mediators to help resolve pending contract negotiations. They believe the lack of resolution has affected the efficient flow of commerce through ports along the West Coast for several weeks.

John Wolfe, the chief executive officer of the Port of Tacoma, and J. Fick, the chief executive officer of the Port of Seattle, have explained how this situation is affecting both port workers and cargo owners across the country. “Shippers and transloaders are incurring higher costs for trucker-standby time; and there are examples of storage and rail car demurrage due to backlog at ports. We are also aware of shippers who have diverted their cargo to non-US ports, resulting in the loss of American jobs to foreign competitors.”







Horizon Lines Sold; Shuts Down Puerto Rico Service

Horizon Lines, a U.S. Jones Act carrier which operated between Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii, is being broken up and sold to its other Jones Act competitors, as reported in the Journal of Commerce. Matson Inc. the U.S.’s largest Jones Act carrier will acquire its Alaska service which includes three container ships operating from Tacoma to Anchorage, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor. Pasha Group will acquire Horizon’s Hawaii market, expanding its ro-ro service with the addition of three ro-ro vessels previously deployed by Horizon.

It’s important to note that Horizon’s Puerto Rico service, which was second in market share with 28.8% of total container volume, will be completely shut down. With Horizon’s exit from the Puerto Rico trade lane, this leaves only three Jones Act carriers serving that market - Crowley, Sea Star, and Trailer Bridge - leading some analysts to speculate increasing rates on this trade lane.







ESC Asks Ship Owners to Stop Constant Congestion Surcharges

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) represents the freight transport interests (import, export, and intra-continental, by all modes of transport) of businesses in Europe. Seeing no reason to impose congestion surcharges, the ESC urges ship owners to minimize surcharges and bring all costs into a single negotiable freight rate wherever possible.

Businesses are being hit with congestion surcharges in several parts of the world, among them Oman, the Philippines, India, the United States, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. According to operators this mechanism is “necessary” due to the new organization of the ship-owner through alliances, VSA, slot exchanges and other means of rationalization. Per ESC, these forms of organization are supposed to help to improve the service quality offered to customers and not to increase revenues by creating new surcharges.

The ESC requests ship owners to minimize the effect of these new organization models by solving problems which would provide more transparency and predictability to the partnership with the customer, rather than impose surcharges on shippers.







New York/NJ Ports Plan for Gray Chassis Pool

Industry officials for the Port of NY/NJ have agreed to a tentative plan to create a “gray” chassis pool that would allow truck drivers to freely interchange chassis throughout the port. This announcement is a major step towards improving the productivity of the busiest port on the east coast. Creating a chassis pool for the port has been a topic discussed over the past few years in response to ocean carriers no longer providing chassis. The chassis pool was approved by the Council on Port Performance whose purpose is to implement recommendations of an industry-wide port performance task force.

Currently, chassis are provided by three competing companies that do not allow an equipment interchange. This forces truckers to make unnecessary trips to exchange equipment and creates a supply imbalance among port terminals. When completed, all chassis will have the same markings. Users will have access to the equipment by entering into a commercial contract with an individual chassis contributor. The commercial contract would not be part of the market pool’s management, but would be a market based entity.

Chassis contributors will be able to offer unique products and services by operating private pools outside of the market pool at a non-common location in the NY/NJ region. The next step towards the implementation of this plan is drafting a proposal for a property manager which will be completed by early December. If a suitable manager is identified, the port wide pool could be implemented by the second quarter of 2015.







Robust Container Cargo Growth Forecasted Worldwide

As the world experiences lower growth rate volumes, the ports will be expected to absorb hundreds of millions of additional TEUs over the next decade which will surely challenge the infrastructure of ports globally with the era of megaships.

As larger vessels are becoming more prevalent, marine terminals are struggling to transition to higher volumes being brought in. Crowe forecasts that there will be a 5 percent growth in container volume each year for the next 10 years. TEU lifts will grow from 692 million in 2014 to 1.15 billion by 2024, an additional 458 million TEUs. The figure refers to total lifts, including empties.







Airline Freight Capacity Keeps Pace with Demand As Rates Still Climb

Even though demand and rates are rising, capacity may still keep the air cargo market in check with larger more efficient freighters, and especially wide body aircraft coming into carriers’ fleets. We have seen a strong peak season this year from China and despite the rate increase and booking delays, the signs are that the market may be subsiding from the frenetic climb. That doesn’t mean that rates will go down anytime soon, but the opportunities to negotiate for spot rates are still there.







Asiana Halts Flights to SFO

South Korea’s transportation ministry ordered its own Asiana airlines to suspend flights to San Francisco for 45 days as a result of the July 2013 crash at SFO. This action must be taken within six months unless appealed. IATA and other airlines urged authorities against such a penalty.







Lufthansa Launches Weekly Freighter from Atlanta to Manchester

Lufthansa has launched a weekly freighter from Atlanta to Manchester, England. Fresh off the assembly line and christened “Good Day USA,” the Boeing 777 has 20% more space than Lufthansa’s old MD-11’s as well as a larger opening. Reports are that it will run an Atlanta-Manchester-Frankfurt-Atlanta loop once on the schedule.







Portland Searches for Freighter Service

Portland, Oregon is on the search for new air freighter service. Freighter service was offered in Portland in the past until subsidies ran out. Positioned between Seattle and Los Angeles, the service could gain traction with the growing high tech, apparel, and perishable products sourced from the region. Portland offers a nice alternative to avoiding the crush when LAX gets backed up.







LA-Long Beach Congestion Pushes Up Trucking Costs

As congestion mounts and delays continue at the LA-Long Beach port complex, the cost of shipping by truck for those ports is skyrocketing. After weeks of congestion and delays at the port, the truckers have had no choice but to increase their rates. Many truckers in the market have refused to run ocean carrier boxes and have opted for handling domestic cargo only as they can’t afford to have their drivers wait for hours in lines to pick up containers and/or equipment. Owner-Operators typically do not want to go to California but for the right price, they will. Importers at points inland in the U.S. are reporting that service levels are being impacted negatively and in some cases it is because the Owner-Operator companies that they once relied on are chasing the higher paying cargo out in California.







Employee of the Month

As previously featured in Shap Talk, Shapiro has been sharing with you the names of employees who have been recognized for their exceptional efforts and contributions to our Company. At Shapiro, we continually work to develop, challenge, and inspire all of our employees to grow individually and with the Company. This month, we would like to recognize Devin Turner, Global Logistics Specialist in Philadelphia, for his outstanding performance and contributions.

We encourage you to provide us with employee feedback! Please email us at hr@shapiro.com.