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Shap Talk

Featured Headlines:

FDA Guidance for Seafood Detentions Smells Fishy

Yes or NOP…Does Your Organic Product Need a Certificate?

A Means to an Electronic ENDS Product

FMC Sings Loud and Proud

Highway Heroes

Mexican Maritime Maneuver

Seafreight Soar Tug-o-War

Zim Is All Grown Up

West Coast Best Coast?

FDA Guidance for Seafood Detentions Smells Fishy

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued recommendations for collecting test samples of fish and/or fish products that are subject to detention without physical examination (DWPE).
  • Officials can issue a DWPE for several reasons, such as appearance of adulteration caused by pathogens, unlawful animal drugs, scombrotoxin (histamine), and/or decomposition.  How could ANYBODY put something called “scombrotoxin” on food?!
  • The guidance is intended to assist foreign manufacturers and other processors of fish and fishery subject to DWPE under an import alert (IA) with collecting and providing evidence to the FDA that supports the product’s removal from DWPE.
  • Please note that the newly issued guidance does not establish legally enforceable responsibilities; and instead describes the FDA’s current thinking on this topic. Therefore, the documents should be viewed as a recommendation only—unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited.
  • For additional details, please review the FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry.
  • Let’s hear about your “see” food! Reach out to Shapiro’s Compliance Experts to chat about your seafood imports today!

Yes or NOP…Does Your Organic Product Need a Certificate?

  • Beware the Ides…and Tides…of March, importers! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will require an official NOP import certificate for organic products labeled and certified by a USDA-approved vendor beginning March 19, 2024. Keep reading to see if you need a certificate for your organic product!
  • According to the USDA, there are three (3) labeling categories subjected to the new NOP import certificate requirements—which include the following:
    • 100% Organic
      • Must be certified as 100% organic.
      • Can display organic seal and/or “100% organic” claim on the front display.
      • The name of the certifier must appear on the label.
    • Organic
      • Must be certified as 95% organic.
      • Can display organic seal and/or “organic” claim on the front panel.
    • Made With Organic
      • Must be certified 70% organic.
      • Organic seals must not be displayed.
      • Up to 3 ingredients or ingredient categories can be identified as organic on the front panel.
  • The USDA also includes a fourth labeling category for products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients. However, this category does not need to be certified.
  • For more information, please refer to the USDA’s Labeling Organic Products page.
  • Don’t get into an organic panic—make sure your organic imports are compliant with the new USDA guidelines before it’s too late!

A Means to an Electronic ENDS Product

  • On February 15th, the FDA announced that a new document is now available related to ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System).
  • The FDA regulates imports of products that meet the definition of a tobacco product. The new document provides helpful information to importers for successful filing of ENDS.
  • Visit the Information for successfully filing entries of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) Productsto read the full document.
  • Additional details regarding this announcement can be found in CSMS #59426813.
  • Frankly speaking, we wish the FDA would simply put an end to ENDS altogether, but we’re not supposed to say things like that in public!

FMC Sings Loud and Proud

  • The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has told ocean carriers to knock off the “it’s our way ON the highway” approach to chassis selection for cargo owners and their road warriors, potentially turning the US container transport scene on its head.
  • Earlier this week, after much anticipation, the ruling dropped like a ton of bricks—or perhaps loaded cargo containers—on carriers. Final arguments from the Ocean Carriers Equipment Management Association fell on deaf ears, as FMC officials refused to overturn their decision.
  • As it turns out, forcing shippers and their truckers to buddy up with a specific intermodal equipment provider (IEP) is a no-go, according to the 1984 Shipping Act.
  • To help spice things up even more, the hearing examiner pointed out that chassis rental rates for the solo truckers’ club jumped 35% from 2018 to 2020 and a whopping 90% from 2013 to 2020 (in one part of the US at least), while remaining flat for the carrier’s own cargo convoys.
  • Not to take away any love for said examiner (while extending some to Mr. Phil Collins), the rigged chassis game has always been the same and that’s a shame, that’s all!
  • The spotlight of the FMC “concerted efforts” aimed at five hotspots—the superstar ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the hopping port of Savannah, and the inland rail ramp mega-stages in Chicago and Memphis.
  • The decision puts to bed an old ballad that the FMC can’t step beyond port boundaries, clarifying that its authority extends well into the domestic scene.
  • That language could help the FMC’s National Shipper Advisory Committee (NSAC), which has urged the agency to extend the interpretative rule on detention and demurrage from ports to rail terminals.
  • Interested in learning more about the post-pandemic evolution of FMC philosophy? Keep your eyes peeled for a deeper dive into this topic in the near future…!

Highway Heroes

  • Picture this: The American Trucking Association, waving the flag of distress, announces a dramatic cliffhanger—they are 78,000 truckers short. But wait, here comes the plot twist: immigrant drivers, aka industry heroes, step up to the plate and save the day!
  • In 2020, 18.6% of truck drivers were immigrants, edging out their share in the overall labor force.
  • The league of foreign-born truck drivers has heroically doubled from 315,981 in 2000, to a mighty 720,000 by 2021.
  • With the Bureau of Labor predicting a 6% growth in truck driving jobs by 2030 (and California and New Jersey aiming for the highest scores), we could easily see the foreign-born trucker population exceed 1M in the very near future.
  • For our politically rowdy readers, please remember that truckers, especially those with airport or seaport clearance (from the Transportation Security Administration [TSA]), are very heavily regulated. The vast majority of truckers immigrated legally. So there.

Mexican Maritime Maneuver

  • In the ever-evolving landscape of global logistics, a new player is emerging with the potential to redefine traditional trade routes…Mexico.
  • The ambitious Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor project is an innovative rail freight initiative that attempts to offer Mexico as a viable alternative to the crowded Panama Canal—potentially revolutionizing the way goods traverse the Americas.
  • Known for his fondness for rail transport, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is taking bold steps to enhance the country’s logistics infrastructure. While his passion initially focused on passenger rail projects such as the Mayan Train, the spotlight has recently shifted towards freight.
  • The Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor stands out as the crown jewel in Mexico’s logistics strategy. Envisioned as a direct rail link between the Pacific and Gulf coasts, the corridor seeks to offer a shorter, more efficient path for cargo, effectively providing an alternative to the maritime journey through the potentially “withering” Panama Canal.
  • Despite the enthusiasm, the project is not without its challenges. The existing rail infrastructure, described as “quite old and not very efficient,” requires significant upgrades to meet the ambitious goals set forth. Plus, the anchoring ports of Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos must undergo massive expansions to handle the anticipated cargo volumes at the corridor’s endpoints.

Seafreight Soar Tug-o-War

  • Transpacific carriers are gripping tightly to their gains from the Red Sea crisis as they spring ahead into the contract negotiation season!
  • The Asia-US West Coast (USWC) container spot rate is anchored at $4,754 per FEU—a whopping 140% increase from its position at the start of December.
  • Carriers have also effectively managed capacity around Chinese New Year (CNY), with tactical blank sailings contributing to persisting high-rate levels.
  • Despite a slight dip, rates to the US East Coast (USEC) have doubled pre-Red Sea crisis averages, showcasing the enduring impact of the on-going disruptions.
  • Post-CNY container spot rates are easing on the Asia-Europe trade lane, but remain significantly higher than pre-crisis levels, highlighting the delicate balance of the swinging economic pendulum.
  • After warily embracing 300,000 TEU of new capacity in January, with an additional 120,000 TEU delivering in February, the ocean carriers are almost certainly suffering from buyers’ remorse jitters early in 2024.
  • There is cloudy demand for service offerings from Europe to North America, with carriers adjusting capacity—such as OOCL’s downsize on the ATE1 service—leading to spot rate spikes for North Europe to the USEC.
  • Looking for more insight into global shipping rates? Contact us at [email protected] to see if your trade lanes (and profit margins) have been affected by recent fluctuation trends.

Zim Is All Grown Up

  • Remember the kid from high school who always promised they’d make it big? That’s Zim Integrated Shipping, which is now boasting about their solo Gulf of Toucan (ZGT) service launch.
  • No longer just “part of the band” (sometimes with the 2M Alliance and sometimes with Hapag-Lloyd), ZIM is arriving in style at their class reunion at the Port of Houston’s Barbours Cut terminal, where the Annie B docked with tall tales from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, and Mexico.
  • Reunion organizer Daniel Sutton (Zim) promises that Zim’s new service will be like those high school friendships that you thought would last forever—fast and efficient—and will connect the East Coast of South America with Central America, the Caribbean, the US Gulf, and the West Coast of South America.
  • Roger Guenther (Houston Port Authority) is that proud alumni chair who can’t wait to tell you how much everyone’s grown, citing a 33% increase in trade with Latin America in five years.

West Coast Best Coast?

  • Not to be outshined (sorry for the awful California weather pun) by Houston, the Port of Los Angeles is strutting into this edition with near-record swagger after handling a massive 855,652 TEUs in January alone…an 18% increase year-over-year (YoY).
  • Both Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LB) are riding the retail replenishment frenzy wave, with loaded imports up by 19% and 23.5% respectively. It seems America’s shopping spree isn’t over, and these ports are the malls everyone’s rushing to.
  • It’s worth noting that a lot of these shipments could be due to companies stocking up in anticipation of the recent Chinese New Year.
  • California’s Lieutenant Governor highlighted some historic investments in infrastructure and sustainability. It’s clear that going green is the new black for these ports, as zero-emission projects and digitalization efforts are making LA/LB not just busier, but cleaner AND smarter, too.
  • While the Port of Houston has been flexing its trade growth muscles, LA/LB are not just watching from the locker room. Instead, their demonstrating that the West Coast still knows a thing or two about handling cargo, with growth spurts that would make any port blush.