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Dredging the Confusion Surrounding the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF)

Maintaining any form of infrastructure comes at a cost.  Developing and growing that infrastructure is equally costly.  Dredging isn’t free; nor is disposing of dredged materials properly. As importers into the United States, it is simply expected that the bill from your broker will likely arrive with a Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMT/HMF) line item.  However, […]

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4 Reasons Lower Bunker Fuel Prices Don’t Mean Lower Shipping Rates

Importers and exporters checking gas pump receipts have been looking around and scratching their heads…  If gasoline is so cheap, why haven’t shipping rates decreased? Since 2008, carriers have cited the rising cost of fuel for increases in shipping rates.  This made sense since fuel surged by a whopping 279% from 2008 through 2014, but […]

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Margie Shapiro’s Annual Outlook 2015

The January 2015 edition of the JOC Annual Review & Outlook contributes an industry barometer and analysis of the challenging year ahead including changes that may be coming in the broader economy, in the marketplace or in the regulatory world that will affect business in 2015 including Air Cargo, Government, Logistics, Maritime, Rail and Intermodal and Trucking sectors. The […]

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Low Sulfur Surcharge: High Confusion and High Costs

The maritime industry has been through quite a lot in the past few years, from carriers leaving the chassis business, to U.S. East and West Coast labor issues, to the introduction of mega-vessels, to atypical peak seasons, and rate fluctuations. And yet, another surcharge is about to take center stage. Say hello to the Low […]

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Why Do the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach Look like a Parking Lot? The 5-Minute Guide to Understanding the Congestion

Unless you just started your first logistics job today, you’ve heard about the chaotic situation at the ports of LA/LB.  It’s a lot more likely that you have not only heard about it, but that you have felt its impact to your supply chain, budget, and sanity. After enduring weeks of slow moving freight through […]

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6 Tips to Avoid Demurrage and Per Diem Detention Charges

Demurrage | Shapiro | Supply Chain

If you’re like most importers or exporters, you probably shuddered when reading the subject line. Oh, the horror of receiving an unexpected bill showing demurrage, detention, or per diem!  Not only did you not plan for those fees, you may not be completely certain of the cause for such charges. Well, I’m here to set […]

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11 Essential Questions To Ask Before You Consider Self-Filing Your Customs Entries

So there you are, going about your (crazy) business, and out of nowhere, your boss asks, “Hey, what if we started to self-file our Customs entries and did it all in-house? Wouldn’t that save us a lot of money?” Your world seems to temporarily collapse and you can’t breathe properly. How do you even begin […]

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Do’s and Don’ts of Supply Chain International Business Etiquette

For anyone who has attended a meeting with a vendor from China, I’m sure you’ve noticed, and hopefully you’ve reciprocated, that business cards are given and received with some ceremony, using both hands to give and accept.  A card isn’t merely a card in the Chinese culture; it’s a piece of the person to be […]

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Fun Facts You Did Not Know About Importing

After three decades providing Customs brokerage services, I’ve come across some strange shipments (at my first employer, we had regular shipments of sand to Saudi Arabia) and stranger people, but that’s for another day. In this blog, I’d like to share some of the more fascinating and odd facts of our import world. Did you […]

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5 Indisputable Reasons the Logistics Industry is Awesome!

“Once you get in, you can’t get out.”  That’s what you hear from folks that have been in the logistics industry for years.  Those same people can quickly spot the rookies who aren’t going to make it; the logistics vets are in the corner saying, “That poor kid, he just can’t handle it.”  The international […]

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