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Shap Talk

Featured Headlines:

US Is Not "Russian" Towards Seafood Deprivation

AD/CVD Evaders v. CBP Crusaders

Baby We're the "New Organics"

Houston, We Solved a Problem

Norfolk in the Road or Norfolked?

What a Load of Transload

Old MacDonald Lost His Crown

ILA Scaring Shippers Away

Made in China or Lost in the Mexican Shuffle?

US Is Not "Russian" Towards Seafood Deprivation

  • Last December, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order prohibiting all seafood products processed in third countries that contain seafood harvested in Russian waters and/or caught by Russian vessels from entering the US.
  • Soon thereafter, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a general license allowing these newly-prohibited products to be imported into the US through February 20, 2024.
  • However, OFAC officials recently announced that they will extend the new general license deadline until May 30, 2024, as a result of the ongoing shipping delays at the Panama Canal and the Red Sea.
  • For more details, please refer to the Federal Register Notice published on March 7, 2024: Publication of Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations Determinations

AD/CVD Evaders v. CBP Crusaders

  • On March 18, 2024, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a final ruling regarding the agency’s procedures and regulations for investigating claims of antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) evasion.
  • The final ruling includes the following changes effective April 17, 2024:
    • Officially adopts–with changes–the interim amendments/regulations that were originally published on August 22, 2016.
    • Implements procedures for investigating AD/CVD duty evasion claims as per Section 421 of the 2015 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.
    • Confirms that a new case management system was deployed in April 2021, which CBP and the public can use for filing and tracking allegations.
  • As a quick refresher, duties such as AD/CVD are important trade measures used to protect domestic companies from unfair actions taken by foreign competitors. Due to the additional costs incurred, shippers have a big incentive to avoid them.
  • For more information, please see the Federal Register Notice (2024-04855).
  • Brush up on your AD/CVD knowledge by visiting our Regulatory Compliance Hot News page!

Baby We're the "New Organics"

  • In case you hadn’t heard, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would begin implementing its new National Organics Program (NOP) this week.
  • Any organic shipments en route to the US on or after March 19, 2024 must have an NOP Import Certificate generated by the USDA Organic Integrity Database.
  • As a reminder, it is the responsibility of the last foreign handler to obtain the NOP Import Certificate from the certifier and provide it to the importer of record.
  • Want more insight that’s both “Taylor” made and a “Swift” read? Check out our recent articles:

Houston, We Solved a Problem

  • Union Pacific (UP) Railroad and BNSF Railway are counting down to launch new intermodal services via the Port of Houston, proving they love a good comeback story almost as much as Hollywood loves a reboot. But this isn’t their first rodeo (nor our first mixed metaphor!), after all…and while they haven’t quite stuck the landing in their previous attempts just yet, that’s okay. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…right?!
  • UP also announced plans to lay fresh tracks connecting Houston’s Barbours Cut terminal to Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix, after successfully adding Chicago and Los Angeles to its roster in 2023.
  • At TPM24, Beth Whited (UP) shared that their past Dallas dalliance was a once-a-week affair without on-dock rail—which is basically the dating equivalent of “let’s just be friends.” But now, with thrice-weekly service AND on-dock rail, it’s like UP swiped right and finally met its match.
  • Most of the rail-bound cargo from Houston is making waves towards the Port of Los Angeles, with a noteworthy 11,000 ocean containers shipped last year. Because of this, BNSF is laying it all on the table, sporting confidence that could outshine a lighthouse. They’re betting that trade density will continue to increase with the big increase in LA volume.

Norfolk in the Road or Norfolked?

  • Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) has acknowledged extreme truck congestion at Chicago’s Landers terminal, attributing it to crane issues, staffing shortages, and unfriendly gremlins and goblins.  One thing is certain, it is NOT poor management or planning!
  • To their credit, NS officials have committed to a broad action plan to address the root causes affecting the timely movement of ocean containers.  Hey folks, when they can’t move ‘em, you end up moving your numbers from black to red paying detention charges!
  • Crane malfunctions across NS terminals in recent years, including Jacksonville and Memphis, highlight ongoing challenges for NS.  To make matters worse, drivers (you know who you are!) are exacerbating delays by skipping queues which only adds to the congestion.
  • Some pundits have recommended that NS hire a Vice Principal and provide her with a scary office, so we all have a place to send those disobedient, wayward, unruly, insubordinate, delinquent, misbehaving, downright naughty line skipping truckers!   It is rumored that 407 VPs have already applied for the job.   (Cough) We apologize for this bullet point, serious readers!
  • Communication gaps between shippers and railroads on the status of idle import loads, especially in international intermodal business, hinder efficient container and chassis management, despite strong partnerships in domestic intermodal shipping.
  • The importance of information sharing was highlighted by chassis shortages during the pandemic, with railroads emphasizing the need to “recapture” long-sitting containers, especially in key hubs like Chicago and Memphis, to bolster equipment flow, availability, and the average mood of American supply chain pros like you.
  • NS recently introduced a chic appointment system for truckers at its Austell, Ga., terminal rocking a savvy stack strategy and smart software look on the rail runway!  Their next fashion show may well hit Chicago next (let us pray!).
  • Add the charm of electric cranes and the poetry of a container stacking technique inspired by the Port of Virginia, and NS appears ready to move from the runway to the red carpet though all we really want is to collect our golden statues or widgets and move along!

What a Load of Transload

  • The TPM24 Conference has been buzzing with news that shipper strategies are evolving, which is significantly boosting demand for transloading services. This isn’t just a slight adjustment; it’s a full-blown strategy shift, turning transloading into an increasingly pivotal part of logistics operations.
  • According to industry insiders, technology is the new captain steering the ship. With innovations allowing for real-time tracking and re-routing, the traditional distribution center model is being transformed. Transloading now offers unprecedented flexibility, acting as a dynamic hub for distribution.
  • The latest trend involves shippers playing a strategic game, delaying the decision on final destinations until goods have already landed stateside. This flexibility is a game-changer, allowing for more responsive supply chain management.
  • Transloading isn’t just for the international scene– it’s also making its mark on the dynamic domestic freight scene.  The versatility and cargo concentration controls are key to transloading’s growing appeal across different sectors.
  • The logistics of managing space at transload terminals is likened to solving a complex puzzle. Efficient use of space is critical, mirroring the operational needs of LTL terminals in managing trailers and containers.
  • As the industry grapples with tight truckload capacities and the quest to alleviate congestion, transloading is transforming the game. It’s becoming a key tool for ensuring goods reach their final destinations efficiently.
  • Interested in unloading your transloading concerns? Reach out to our team of expert logistics listeners at [email protected] to help lighten your load!

Old MacDonald Lost His Crown

  • Amid whispers of corn and soybean futures playing hide and seek at near three-year lows, and a barn-sized drop in net farm income on the horizon, the American farmer’s battle cry has never been clearer: “Maximize production!”
  • Yes, siree, the strategy’s as straightforward as a plow line—build those stockpiles, make that corn as appealing as a pie on a windowsill, and watch as the world comes knockin’.
  • After decades of reigning supreme, the US lost its corn crown to Brazil last August, while also losing dominance in soybeans and wheat. Not a group to lay down quietly, American farmers are tuning-up their tractors and sharpening their strategies (and those pitchforks just in case) to sow the seeds of trade triumph once more.
  • Sustainability’s the word on everyone’s lips, with startups like Indigo Ag quickly gaining popularity and new crop boosters bringing hopes of record high yields. Farmers Business Network is also giving out 0% loans like candy to promote big tool purchases.
  • Farmers are also singing E-I-E-I-O until the politicians take notice and promote new export strategies/credits to cut through trade barriers. Here’s to equal trade opportunities for all!

ILA Scaring Shippers Away

  • The sands in the hourglass are running low as the six-year labor contract between the International Longshoremen Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) is about to hit its expiration date.  People may not know that labor unions, like milk, go bad immediately after their expiration date!
  • With D-day set for September 30, 2024, shippers are getting jittery about potential upcoming disruptions during the peak shipping season.
  • Negotiations between the ILA and USMX have stalled quicker than a teenager cleaning his room (yes “his” and not “her”, fellas!). ILA president Harold Daggett has hinted at a strike so imminent you can almost hear the picket signs being painted, leaving shippers scrambling to avoid being caught in the crossfire.
  • With the threat of ports turning into ghost towns, shippers are being advised to consider rerouting their precious cargo to the US West Coast (USWC). This is sparking a shift so significant that USWC ports might just blush at their newfound popularity (though most of us would prefer it if they would just focus on improving intermodal rail connections!).
  • With well over 1.5 million loaded imports arriving into LA/LGB in the first two months of 2024, it is like a west-to-east reverse California Gold Rush!   The 32.1% increase year-over-year is a sure sign that shippers are implementing their ILA counterplay.
  • Make sure to check out Shapiro’s Labor Strikes Hot News page to keep up with the latest developments!

Made in China or Lost in the Mexican Shuffle?

  • It seems there’s a new dance craze sweeping the logistics world, known as the “Mexican Shuffle,” after recent data revealed a staggering year-on-year 60% spike in container imports from China to Mexico in January 2024.
  • This mammoth move has led to whispers (okay, loud chatter) that Mexico’s becoming the not-so-secret passageway for goods aiming to sidestep the US trade tango with China.
  • If this keeps up, we might just see a container conga line stretching across the Pacific that could rival the USWC by 2031. And with the US and China in a tariff-tiff, who wouldn’t want to find a less confrontational path to market?
  • Once upon a time, in April 2023, it was cheaper to send goods from China to Mexico’s West Coast than directly to the US. But like any good drama, the plot thickened, with rates flipping and flopping faster than a fish out of water, until they nearly mirrored each other in March.
  • With volumes ballooning, the shift from US to Mexico presents a cocktail of uncertainty and opportunity. Importers flirting with this new route must weigh the allure of tariff dodging against the whirlpool of rate volatility and service shake-ups.
  • Oh, and for you compliance nerds out there… don’t think the Mexican Shuffle won’t be considered as we all look long and hard at the current US de-minimis level of $800!
  • Worried about the effects that the “Mexican Shuffle” might have on your supply chain? Reach out to Shapiro’s Freight Experts to discuss your woes today!