Congestion Worsens at Chittagong Port

Severe congestion in Bangladesh’s prime seaport Chittagong has crippled loading and unloading,  the Journal of Commerce reports.

The container vessels are experiencing a delay of maximum 10-11 days in receiving berthing permission. The turnaround time or ships’ stay time at the port is also increasing, according to IHS Markit data. The congestion began to mount in April, when average time in port was 62.7 hours, and jumped in May to 67 hours. Each day an average of 15 to 20 box ships waits at the outer anchorage for unloading.

Stakeholders attribute the congestion largely to the lack of adequate infrastructure at the port.  No jetty has been constructed in the last nine years despite that the cargo and container handling has grown  16% to 17%  for the past few years.

The loss of nearly 2 meters (6.6 feet) in draft has only made matter worse. Six of the 13 jetties at the port are in the range of 6 to 7 meters, preventing ships with drafts of 8.5 meters, which commonly call the port, from berthing, and forcing them rely on just two jetties able to accommodate such ships.

Meanwhile, ocean carriers have been pushing congestion surcharges for Chittagong-bound container ships from Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Guangzhou by $50 to $275, according to port officials.

Shippers, facing a lead time crisis because of their inability to get raw materials off ships and into their factories, have been clamoring for government support.

Shipping minister Shajahan Khan this week promised that he and the government were doing all that it could, and has called for a July 24 meeting with a cross-section of port users to work on a solution.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates once available.

EU and Japan Agree “In Principle” on Free Trade Deal

Japan and the European Union (EU) have reached a broad free-trade Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) following negotiations in Brussels on July 5th , according to the Associated Press.

 The two sides are expected to work out a final version of the EPA in due course. The agreement is certain to have a ripple effect on subsequent trade negotiations across the world.  Once the EPA goes into effect, it is anticipated that tariffs will be removed from more than 90 percent of items that flow between Japan and the EU.   Significant financial benefits are expected for both sides. It has been provisionally calculated that the increased trade will boost the GDP of Japan by at least 1 percent, and that of the EU by about 0.76 percent. It will also set standards for labour, safety and consumer protection

If it is endorsed as expected, it will likely still take several months for both sides to finalize all the terms of the deal. The EU says it is hoped the agreement will come into force in early 2019.

Mexico and Canada Preparing for ELD, Effective Decemeber 18th

A new federal mandate, published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), will require all truck drivers who currently keep a paper Record of Duty Status to use an electronic logging device (ELD) – a system that records truck drivers’ time behind the wheel using GPS signals and cellular communications.  The ELD will be mandated effective December 18, 2017 according the Journal of Commerce.

Starting that day, Mexican and Canadian truckers operating in the United States will also required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs), along with their US counterparts. Mexico and Canada are working on rules, however, that could affect truck driver hours of service enforcement on both sides of the border.

Mexico is moving closer to imposing its first specific hours of service regulation on truck drivers, including a provision requiring drivers to take a 30-minute break after driving five hours. The regulation would require drivers to take 8 consecutive hours of rest after 14 hours of work.

The rule, now in its draft stage, is being reviewed by the Mexican government, according to news reports in Revista Transportes y Turismo. It could be released as early as next month.

Transport Canada, meanwhile, is expected to issue a draft electronic logging rule for public consultation this summer. A final rule with compliance dates and transition timeframes for Canadian trucking companies could be ready by the end of the year, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Canada allows truckers to spend more time on the road than the United States does, and that is not likely to change.

The new Mexican hours of service rules are not an immediate concern to shippers, but they will have to be taken into account in future cross-border supply chain plans.

New Chassis Leasing pool for LA/LB Truckers

Direct ChassisLink, a marine chassis and asset management services provider, has launched  a new chassis leasing service for motor carriers and other drayage providers who operate at the ports of Los Angeles, American Shipper reports.

The assets available in this pool are all  equipped with radial tires and LED lights and can be reserved via DCLI’s online reservation system to ensure equipment availability.

In addition to providing better driver productivity, the premium chassis in the IPPZ are the ideal equipment for longer drays. When a chassis is reserved and picked up, truckers can keep it out for as long as the equipment is needed and DCLI has developed a tiered pricing structure to accommodate longer-term usage. Days 1-7 of usage will be billed at the current daily market rate of $24.95. Day 8 and each day thereafter will be billed at $20.00.

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about global trade and international shipping.

Barges Delayed at Ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam

Inland barges are facing longer delays loading and unloading at Rotterdam and Antwerp with no sign of an early easing of congestion, the Journal of Commerce reports.

Barges are having to wait up to 96 hours to process their cargoes at Antwerp due to the large number of ships calling at the Belgian port and the shortage of workers during the vacation season, according to Contargo, a leading European barge and rail operator.

As for port of Rotterdam, barges are facing delays of between 36 and 96 hours at some port terminals, particularly APM Terminals’ two facilities at Europe’s largest container port,  due to a cyberattack on the parent Maersk Group last week, which caused the terminal’s closure.

Please be guided accordingly.  RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide more updates once available.

CBP Delays ACE Roll Out

US Customs and Border Protection last week indefinitely delayed the last core trade processing capabilities of its  new electronic filing system, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The  deployment of last core capabilities – liquidation, reconciliation, drawback, duty deferral, collections and the Automated Surety Interface (ASI)-  of Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)  was planned for July 8th.  It’s the fourth time that this stage of the ACE roll out has been delayed.    Customs announce its new plans to reschedule the deployment for a later, unspecified date.

“We have been conducting ongoing, rigorous testing to ensure these capabilities will operate successfully. Our latest efforts have revealed areas specific to collections that are in need of further testing before these capabilities can be deployed,” Customs said in a statement.

Yet, even the functionalities of ACE that are online now are still facing issues. Just over the past month, users have reported slowdowns lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to nearly five hours when using ACE’s entry summary, entry summary interfaces, and cargo release query functions, according to the ACE application dashboard and comments from individual customs brokers.

The ACE system was designed with the intent of streamlining cross-border trade, replacing the antiquated Automated Commercial System (ACS) and allowing shippers to easily transmit documents with government agencies, saving time and money.

Spanish Ports Strike Ended

After months of unrest, Spanish dock  workers unions called off planned strikes after reaching an agreement with business associations on labor conditions  according to the Journal of Commerce.

The employers’ association ANESCO has guaranteed the jobs of Spain’s 6,200 registered dockworkers and unchanged working conditions during the three-year transition to the new plan that will end the unions’ monopoly over the hiring of waterfront workers.

In return, the unions have accepted a 10 percent cut in wages and early retirement for its older members. The unions, which have staged several strikes and slowdowns over the past five months, had scheduled three 48-hour stoppages on alternative hours through July 8.

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about global trade and international shipping.



Guide to Shipping Dangerous Goods

When you ship hazardous materials, are you need to be compliant. Transporting dangerous goods is a complex procedure and requires detailed understanding and knowledge of the relevant regulations. Here are the essential factors you need to know for safe and successful ground transport of dangerous goods.

What does it mean Hazardous Materials?

Hazardous materials are substances that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has determined are capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported.

The dangerous goods are classified into nine classes according to the type of danger materials or items present:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable Liquids
  4. Flammable Solids
  5. Oxidizing Substances
  6. Toxic & Infectious Substances
  7. Radioactive Material
  8. Corrosives
  9. Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

These items are generally either toxic, flammable or corrosive.

Dangerous Goods Regulating Agencies

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the keeper of all transportation laws in the United States, which are found in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49. Hazardous materials regulations are in Subtitle B, Chapter 1.

However, for international shipments, the regulations are set by two specialized agencies of the United Nations.

The first agency is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The DOT authorizes goods to be transported internationally by air using the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is an association of airlines around the world, has taken the ICAO instructions a step further and published their own set of dangerous goods regulations that their members adhere to. These IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations are more restrictive than ICAO.

For ocean shipments, part 171.22 of the CFR49 allows for shipments to adhere to the rules of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is the second specialized agency of the United Nations. The IMO’s goal is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair, effective and universally adopted around the world. They publish the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, which is used to regulate dangerous goods that are moved via ship.

In the U.S. enforcement of these regulations is done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for air shipments and the Coast Guard for ocean shipments.

Shippers transporting dangerous goods on the ground in Europe must do so according to the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).

The carriage of dangerous goods by rail is governed by Appendix C of the Convention Covering International Carriage by Rail – International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail.

What does it mean Hazardous Materials?

Hazardous materials are substances that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has determined are capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported.

The dangerous goods are classified into nine classes according to the type of danger materials or items present:

What are Shipper responsibilities?

The major responsibilities of HM shippers are below:

  • Determine whether a material meets the definition of a “Hazardous Material”
  • Proper shipping name
  • Class/ Division
  • Identification name
  • Hazard warning label
  • Packaging
  • Marking
  • Employee training
  • Shipping papers
  • Emergency response information
  • Emergency response telephone number
  • Certification
  • Compatibility
  • Blocking and bracing
  • Placarding
  • Security plan
  • Incident reporting

General shipper responsibilities are contained in 49 CFR Part 173.

What is the Hazmat Employees training?

It is every Hazmat Employer’s responsibility to ensure its employees are trained and tested in accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 172.704. A Hazmat Employer is defined as any company that engages, on a full-time or part-time or temporary basis, Hazmat Employees who ship or cause to be shipped hazardous materials, including those who:

  • load, unload, or handle hazardous materials,
  • prepare hazardous materials for transportation, and/or
  • operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.

A Hazmat Employee also includes any person who designs, manufactures, fabricates, inspects, marks, reconditions, maintains/repairs, or tests a package or packaging component that is represented as qualified for use in transporting hazardous materials.

There are five types of training that employees must complete:

  • General Awareness/Familiarization Training
  • Function-Specific Training
  • Safety Training
  • Security Awareness Training
  • In-Depth Security

Hazardous Materials shipment preparation

Dangerous Goods shipments must be prepared in accordance with the relevant Dangerous Goods Regulations.

  • Identification of a hazardous material is the first step. It is from the proper identification of the hazardous materials that the other requirements are based on.
  • All the shipments must be correctly packed, marked and labeled\
  • Required documents completed: Preliminary Dangerous Goods Declaration that should contain the commodity name and the Class Number.
  • All the shipping records, paper or electronic, must be retained on every shipment for two years after the material is accepted by the initial carrier. For hazardous waste, the records must be retained for three years.

Note that all the hazardous shipments are subject to preapproval by the steamship line.

Marking and labeling of Hazardous Materials

All packages must be properly marked in accordance with Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) requirements. The basic marking requirement consists of the proper shipping name and identification number of the hazardous materials contained in the package. Markings should be durable, in English, and not obscured by other markings or labels.

Depending on the contents of your shipment, additional markings may be required.

Packages containing hazardous materials must also be properly labeled. The diamond-shaped hazard label, which indicates the hazard class and division of the material you’re shipping, is the most commonly used label. It must be displayed on packaging of contrasting color.

Some hazardous materials present more than one hazard. When shipping these materials, the subsidiary hazard label must be displayed within 6 inches of the primary hazard label on your packaging.

Exceptions to labeling:

  • Packages shipped as a Limited Quantity may be exempt from the labeling requirements.
  • Packages shipped under a DOT special permit may also be exempt from labeling requirements.
  • Packages prepared under 49 CFR 173.13 do not require a diamond-shaped hazard label.

Proper packaging for Hazardous Materials

All hazardous materials must be packaged in United Nations Performance Oriented Packaging (UN POP) except when non-specification packaging is authorized by Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR). All packaging must meet the requirements set out in 49 CFR 173.24 and 49 CFR 173.24a. Packaging that is not in new or “like new” condition will not be accepted.

  • Hazardous materials cannot be banded, strapped or taped to form a bundle.
  • Note that all the hazardous shipments are subject to preapproval by the steamship line.

What is MSDS ?

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. It also contains information on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures all related to the hazards of the material. MSDSs are prepared by the supplier or manufacturer of the material.


As hazmat shipping regulations change overtime, it’s important to stay informed on regulatory updates.

If you have any questions about shipping dangerous goods, please contact RCL Agencies Inc. RCL has significant experience in hazardous shipments. Our highly trained and certified specialists can provide you with all the necessary requirements to prepare your shipment in order to comply with all U.S. and International laws and regulations governing transportation of hazardous material.


The source:

International Air Transport Association (IATA).

U.S. and International laws and regulations governing transportation of hazardous material.

Federal Aviation Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations


LA/Long Beach Port Strike Ends In Petition

A week-long strike by truck drivers and warehouse workers at the port complex at Los Angeles/Long Beach ended last Friday with striking truckers delivering a petition with 10,000 signatures on it to Los Angeles City Hall, according to the American Journal of Transportation.

Drivers were picketing outside of trucking companies XPO Logistics, Cal Cartage, CMI, and Intermodal Bridge Transport over independent contractor status of drivers and also clean truck emissions programs, the costs of which truckers say the companies have passed on to them through onerous lease arrangements.

The drivers and warehouse ended their strike after they made unconditional offers to return to work at their place of employment.

ILWU to Vote on Contract Extension in August

West Coast longshoremen are expected to vote in August on a current contract extension offer that would guarantee shippers labor stability till 2022, the Journal of Commerce reports.

Management and labor leaders on both coasts believe a successful contract extension on the West Coast could put pressure on East Coast longshoremen to extend their contract or risk a longer-term loss of market share. The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) have been informally discussing the possibility of a contract extension since 2015.

On the West Coast, leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) this month and next are conducting informational meetings with the rank-and-file membership in the local ports to explain in detail what the Pacific Maritime Association’s (PMA’s) offer means to them.

The PMA and ILWU on May 1 released the details of the offer that would extend the current West Coast waterfront contract, which is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2019, until July 1, 2022. The base ILWU wage would increase from $42.18 an hour at present, in increments, to $46.23 on July 1, 2021. Pension increases over the same period would result in a maximum pension of $95,460 in the final year.

By limiting the contract extension to wages and benefits, employers are attempting to avoid potentially controversial issues such as chassis jurisdiction and automation that could have stretched out negotiations for months, or even risked failure.

Labor and management sources are not speculating about the outcome of the ILWU membership vote. Longshoremen will vote in their respective districts, the votes will be tabulated and certified and the results will be announced afterward.