US Union Calls For Shutdown of Some US Ports

Members of the US International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) from the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts have called for a one day shutdown of all US ports with a march on US capital Washington planned, according to report in Break Bulk.

The purpose of the protest is to bring attention to hiring systems at US ports, as well as to call for the scrapping of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

No date has been set for the protest. “The call was made for everyone to stop for a day, rent as many buses and trains as we can, and go to Washington to draw attention to government interference in our industry,” said Kenneth Riley, ILA vice president and President of ILA Local 1422, in Charleston, South Carolina..

Riley said ILA members want to highlight their complaints about the Waterfront Commission, which the ILA has battled for years in the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the use of state employee dockworkers at Charleston and other state-operated South Atlantic ports.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide more details once available.

FMC to Implement 30-day Service Contract Amendment Rule

US maritime regulators are preparing to eliminate  a rule that will require ocean carriers to report amendments to service contracts before they go into effect, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

Proposed rulemaking now under consideration at the FMC would gut language requiring service contract amendments be filed with the commission before going into effect and, instead, allow amendments to go into effect immediately, so long as they are filed up to 30 days after the changes are made.

The following rulemaking is done as part of a broader attempt to save shippers, carriers, and NVOCCs money and hassle by simplifying the filing process. The proposal  got full support from  carriers. Carriers claim that, on top of millions of dollars in costs, the existing filing requirement prohibits shippers and carriers from applying agreed-upon terms immediately and thus do business without disrupting or delaying that business.

The World Shipping Council, which represents roughly 90 percent of global container capacity, proposed the 30-day rule. The group recommends that the FMC requirements be amended to permit contract parties to implement a service contract amendment immediately, provided that the amendment is entered into by the parties and filed within 30 days of: either the date agreement on the amendment is reached, or the date the carrier receives the cargo to which the amendment applies. Carriers have promised the commission would still receive all service contract amendments, however, not prior to implementation.

While the 30-day rule was met with strong support among shippers who submitted public comments to the commission, those same voices encouraged caution when it came to deregulation in other areas.

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

Storm forces NY-NJ port closure for Thursday, 2/9/17

Due to the impending snow storm, all NY port container terminals, empty and chassis depots will be CLOSED on Thursday February 9th.

Free time will be extended for containers not already in demurrage.

Per diems on containers and chassis will be handled in accordance with the Winter Weather Plan.

Gates will be extended this evening as follows:

  • Maher (9PM),
  • RHCT (7PM), and
  • GCT Bayonne (7PM)

Please plan to fully utilize these additional hours.

Additional information about Friday’s opening will be distributed tomorrow afternoon.

Appointments WILL NOT be required on Friday at GCT Bayonne.

Please note that Monday, February 13 is an ILA holiday.

Terminal schedules will be shared tomorrow as well.

Brazilian Port Customs Strike Ended

The long-standing and damaging series of strikes and slowdowns by customs officers in Brazil has ended, according to officials in the capital Brasilia and the port of Santos.

As we reported earlier, the dispute over pay, pensions, and working conditions  began last  July  and has had serious impact on shippers’ bottom lines and the Brazilian economy. The port of Santos alone has incurred losses of approximately 1 billion reais ($309.9 million), according to estimates of the Santos and Sao Paulo Association of Shipping Agents, or Sindamar. Including delays at airports and border crossings, total nationwide losses could be double that figure, according to the Journal of Commerce.

Signs of a resolution began to emerge the week before Christmas when the Brazilian government was making serious moves to end the  strikes via a special provisional measure in Brazil whereby a measure immediately has the power of a law even before it is passed by Congress.

The strike ended on January 9th after Brazilian President Michel Temer signed such a provision granting the customs union nearly all of its demands — including a 20 percent pay raise.

All operations at the customs offices  are back to normal.

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

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY (HAPPY NEW YEAR!)

Saturday January 28 will mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday – also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. This year is the Year of the Rooster and the holiday may last anywhere from February 2 until February 15. Closure dates may vary, depending on the country and company, but most areas will  be completely shut down during at least part of the holiday.  As it is an official holiday, Customs, ports and companies are expected to closed – we suggest you check with your carriers or partners if you have urgent shipments in or out of celebrating areas.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by Chinese,  Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, and more.  Chinese Near Year is the longest national holiday in China and New Year’s day is the most important date in the Chinese calendar.

Chinese New Year 2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. Since fire represents red color, the year may also be known as the Year of the Red Rooster.

Happy year of the rooster, may it bring you health and happiness!

FMC Rejects Port of NY/NJ Equipment Optimization Discussion Agreement

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has rejected the “Port of New York/New Jersey Equipment Optimization Discussion Agreement” for failing to meet the clear and definite disclosure standard required by law, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

The US Federal Maritime Commission says container lines and New York-New Jersey port officials must provide more details before receiving antitrust immunity to discuss operation of a proposed port-wide chassis pool.

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey sought FMC approval of a discussion agreement allowing OCEMA, its carrier members, and the port authority to discuss various port issues, including the universal pool.

The agreement would not have permitted discussion of rates. However, it would have allowed carriers and the port authority to confer on a variety of operational and environmental issues.

Chassis discussion topics could have included the pool’s depot locations, phase-in schedule, governing structure, and selection of a pool manager, among other things.

The Institute of International Container Lessors, which urged the FMC to reject the agreement,  complained that the proposed discussion agreement would have given carriers and the port authority “a blank check, with antitrust immunity, to do whatever they want” with chassis owned or controlled by lessors.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest maritime news.

 

 

 

 

 

Reminder of Wood Packaging Requirements for Imports to USA and Candada

Shipments into the USA and Canada are subject to strict requirements imposed by USCBP/USDA regarding wood packaging materials (WPM).

All shipments being sent to the USA or Canada must be compliant with current regulations which requires that all wood packaging to be treated and stamped (example shown below) in accordance with International Phytosanitary Measures currently in place.

wood packaging.png

More information can be found at the following link:

http://www.cbp.gov/border-security/protecting-agriculture

To avoid problems and additional costs upon arrival, please ensure you/your supplier reviews the WPM policy, and that you/they are aware of the following:

    • Non-compliant wood packaging material (WPM) can be a significant obstacle for freight export or import, causing delays and extra costs.
    • Suppliers should check that the pallets they use are ISPM 15 compliant and that they have the appropriate ISPM 15 stamp.
    • Suppliers should be aware of the ISPM 15 standard, or should ask for assistance where needed to ensure they are compliant.
    • Suppliers should refer to the following to learn more about  WPM compliance (http://www.ispm15.com)
    • Suppliers can also explore alternatives to WPM:

 

  • Plastic or metal pallets.
  • Pallets and crating constructed from manufactured wood products (OSB, plywood, cardboard).
  • Do a cost benefit analysis if considering alternatives to WPM.

 

    • Suppliers should be aware  that non-compliant WPM may result in shipment delays, financial cost to the supply-chain and potential ecological cost to the natural resources of the United States.
Please contact RCL Agencies for more information, or for help with your export or import shipments!

 

EU and Cuba sign bilateral diplomatic agreement

The European Union has signed a first-ever bilateral trade agreement with Cuba, according to a statement from the EU delegation to Cuba.

The EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PCDA) is seen as a “historic step” in normalizing diplomatic and economic relations with the Caribbean island nation. The signing made official a preliminary agreement between the two in March, negotiations for which began back in April 2014.

The agreement includes three main chapters on political dialogue, cooperation and sector policy dialogue, focusing on modernizing the Cuban economy, promoting trade, fostering sustainable development, democracy and human rights, and finding common solutions to global challenges,

The PCDA still requires ratification by the European Parliament , until then it will remain provisional.

According to the EU, “the aim of the PDCA is to create a more predictable and transparent atmosphere for economic operators and increase their economic capacity to produce, trade and create jobs, but it does not establish a free trade area between the parties or cover investment protection” .

“The agreement will contribute to enriching an intense historical and culturally relationship and to further develop political, cultural, commercial, financial, scientific, academic, sports and cooperation ties”, as the Cuban foreign minister said.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest  international trade news

 

GCT USA, Port Authority Break Ground For New ExpressRail Port Jersey Facility

GCT USA and the Port Authority today broke ground for the ExpressRail Port Jersey facility (“Greenville Yard”). The facility will be a major ship-to-rail port project located directly adjacent to the recently expanded, state-of-the-art GCT Bayonne container terminal. This project will complete the agency’s more than $600 million initiative that establishes direct access to on-dock or near-dock rail service for all of its major marine terminals.

Designed to complement the terminal’s big ship handling capabilities and quick transaction time, the intermodal yard will have an annual capacity of 250,000 container lifts, or 430,000 TEUs. The intermodal facility – scheduled for completion in mid-2018 – will connect the Port of New York and New Jersey’s GCT Bayonne terminal to CSX and Norfolk Southern’s extensive rail network, reaching key inland markets.  The facility will support the port’s continuously increasing number of rail lifts and higher percentage of East Coast market share.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest maritime news.

The source: Breaking Waves

US Congress On Course to Pass Water Infrastructure Bill

House and Senate lawmakers this week reached an agreement on a huge water infrastructure bill that authorizes improvements for ports, inland waterways and flood protection, and includes emergency aid for addressing lead contamination in Flint, Mich.’s water system.

The  compromise water infrastructure bill   contains a modernized cost-sharing formula for future channel deepening projects, which would increase the minimum depth required for a 50-50 federal-state funding split from 45 to 50 feet.

The new compromise bill authorizes funding for new US Army Corps of Engineers navigation projects, including projects to deepen harbors at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina and Port Everglades on Florida’s Atlantic coast: roughly $231.2 million for Charleston and $229.8 million for Port Everglades.

The inclusion of Charleston and  Port Everglades in the bill will open the door for both projects to receive federal funds.  Plans include for the port of Charleston to deepen the current entrance channel from 47 feet to 54 feet and deepen the inner harbor from 45 feet to 52 feet, which would  make Charleston the deepest harbor on the US East Coast.   Port Everglades plans  include deepening the main navigational channel there from 42 feet to 48 feet and also deepening and widening the port’s entrance channel and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway so that cargo ships can pass safely by docked cruise ships.  Both harbor projects aim to prepare their respective ports for the arrival of mega-ships traversing a recently expanded Panama Canal, whose new locks can now handle ships with capacities of up to 14,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, nearly triple the size of the ships that historically have transited the canal’s century-old waterway.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to review the bill on Wednesday, December 7th

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest  international trade news