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.

WTO Members Approve Trade Facilitation Agreement

A World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement  which aims to support simpler and clearer procedures when it comes to imports and exports of goods came into force  after the requisite amount of member countries agreed to implement it.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) prescribes many measures to improve transparency and predictability of trading across borders and to create a less discriminatory business environment.

The TFA’s provisions include improvements to the availability and publication of information about cross-border procedures and practices, improved appeal rights for traders, reduced fees and formalities connected with the import/export of goods, faster clearance procedures and enhanced conditions for freedom of transit for goods.

In terms of time gains, the aim of the TFA is to reduce the time needed to import goods by over a day and a half and to export goods by almost two days, representing reductions of 47% and 91% respectively over current averages.

Developed countries have committed to immediately implement the agreement. Developing countries, in comparison, will immediately apply only the TFA provisions they have designated as Category A commitments.  For the other provisions, they must indicate when these will be implemented and what capacity building support is needed to help them implement these provisions, known as Category B and C commitments.

WTO director general, Roberto Azevëdo described the agreement as the biggest reform of global trade this century.

According to the global trade body, its impact would be greater than the elimination of all existing tariffs around the world.

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

The source: Automative Logistics

Canadian Spring Thaw Regulations 2017

Please be advised  that Canadian Spring Thaw currently is in effect from March 1st till May 30th 2017.

Spring weight restrictions on all provincial roads are in place and  will effect all pre carriages and truck deliveries  in the Province of Québec.

Heavy commercial vehicles will not be allowed to travel on specified roads throughout the province. The weight restrictions on heavy trucks are necessary during the spring thaw to help protect roads that are weakened by mild and wet weather.

Please note that weight restrictions can be different per carrier:


  • 20ft DV max 47900 Lbs (21.7 ton)
  • 40ft DV/HC max 50000 Lbs (22.6 ton)


  • 20ft DV max 46010 Lbs (20.87 Ton)
  • 40ft DV/HC max 44500 Lbs (20.19 Ton)


  • 20ft DV max 50706 Lbs (23 ton)
  • 40ft DV/HC max 48501 Lbs (22ton)

Please contact RCL Agencies  representative at 973-779-5900  if you have any  questions regarding your shipment.


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.


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.