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.

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More information can be found at the following link:

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 (
    • 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

India Moves to Paperless Customs Operations Effective December 1st

The Journal of Commerce reports that starting from December 1st , cargo clearance at Indian seaports and airports should be quicker  as customs authorities eliminate most manual paperwork and instead use a digital system.
According to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) circular, importers and exporters will henceforth not be required to submit paper documents such as GAR 7 forms/TR 6 Challans, Trans-shipment Permit (TP), Shipping Bill (Exchange Control copy and Export Promotion copy) & Bill of Entry (Exchange Control Copy) to Banks/ DGFT/Customs Ports.

The move would help importers and exporters move towards electronic messaging and paperfree environment and further enhance the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ by reducing or eliminating physical printouts for customs clearance, an official statement said.

All Customs Houses at Ports, Air Cargo Complex, ICDs and CFCs have been asked to issue Public Notice saying that importers and exporters would not be required to submit paper documents.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest  international trade news

Canada sets special envoy for EU trade deal

The Canadian government has created a new envoy position in an attempt to finalize and implement a free trade agreement with the European Union, according to a statement from International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.
The creation of a new envoy for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) reflects the high priority the country places on signing the deal, despite recent opposition.  Pierre Pettigrew, who has served both as minister of trade and foreign affairs, will be Canada’s new envoy for the CETA with the EU for a term of one year, effective immediately. He will engage with a range of provinces and territories in both regions, as well as senior business and government leaders from EU member states.
“The Canada-European Union agreement sets a new global standard for trade deals and positions Canada as a trail-blazing country defining new international norms,” said Pettigrew.
Acccording to the American Shipper, protectionist sentiments from both sides of the aisle in the upcoming United States presidential election and a lack of proper discourse around the sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens to derail that agreement.
Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest  international trade news.

LA-LB Terminals End Uniform Chassis Fee

Marine terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have stopped assessing  a 5$ gate fee on chassis entering their facilities after a regulatory challenge from chassis lessors, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

The organization representing marine terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach said that the individual terminals will negotiate directly with chassis-leasing companies on compensation for hosting their equipment.

Those individual negotiations are already underway, said PierPass Inc. President John Cushing, who represents the West Coast Marine Terminal Operating Agreement. Member companies will most likely be seeking compensation for chassis storage, the use of longshore labor to stack and unstack chassis and reimbursement for electronic data interchange transmission of data on chassis usage, which the intermodal equipment providers use to bill customers.

“WCMTOA’s member terminals affirm their right to seek compensation for the costly services they provide to chassis-leasing companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” the organization stated in a release. “It costs terminals more than $200,000 per acre per year to lease land from the ports, and the terminals each have many acres stacked with chassis.”

The $5 services fee, which the 13 container terminals intended to charge each time a chassis entered or left the facility, drew opposition from the IEPs, or intermodal equipment providers (Flexi-Van, Direct ContainerLink and TRAC Intermodal), since it was first proposed in July.

The IEPs on Aug. 9 filed a petition for an order to show cause with the Federal Maritime Commission, charging that the fee would violate the Shipping Act of 1984. The IEPs said that from the beginning any negotiations for compensation should be handled on a terminal-by-terminal basis because each facility is different in terms of how much land it reserves for container storage, its individual operating costs and requirements for how many chassis it needs on hand to run its business.

Harbor truckers have been involved in the issue as well because chassis availability and the location of chassis storage sites have a direct impact on their operations.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest maritime news.

PMA and ILWU Agree to Discuss Contract Extension

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) announced that it will begin discussions with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to extend the current PMA/ILWU contract which expires in 2019, as the American Journal of Transport reports.

After the chaos caused by the Pacific Coast longshore slowdown in 2015, the decision by the PMA and the ILWU to discuss a contract extension represents a tentative, but important first step, in restoring shipper and carrier confidence.

The current ILWU-PMA contract, which covers 20,000 longshore workers on the U.S. West Coast runs until June 2019 but the union’s vote means both parties seem keen to renew it sooner to ensure a longer period of stability.

Last year saw serious disruption to the Pacific Coast ports with a nine-month industrial action which caused slowdowns and backlogs up and down the 29 PMA ports from Southern California to Washington State.

Businesses that rely on the West Coast ports, which include the nation’s two largest in Los Angeles and Long Beach, have been pushing for a contract extension after protracted negotiations spanning nine months from mid-2014 to early-2015 led to epic delays.

Even once the deal was reached in February, it took the ports several weeks to work through a backlog of cargo, much of which was waiting on anchored ships in the San Pedro Bay outside Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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



ZIKA Fumigation Requirements for U.S. Cargo to China

Last week China issued amendments to regulations that were implemented in March and added to its Zika virus list countries that were not previously on the list. The revised rules require that all containers arriving at Chinese ports from listed countries have either a Mosquito Eradication Certification (MEC), or be quarantined for fumigation before being released from the port.

According to Chinese import authorities, a container arriving without a proper MEC will be delayed by about 24 hours, and incur an additional processing cost of 200 yuan (about $30) for a 20-foot box or 400 yuan ($60) for a 40-foot container.

The United States has also been added to the list of countries to which the regulations apply. However, the containers shipped from U. S. to China won’t have  to be fumigated but can be instead disinsected which usually invoice spraying for insects.

A notice has been issued from Leon Skarshinski, Commercial Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Embassy of the United States of America in Beijing, China – who has announced the conclusion of a meeting with China AQSIQ DG and senior staff regarding the mosquito fumigation requirement for U.S. originating cargo.

NHLA released 2 items for more information in regards to this notice:

FAS High Level NotesZIKA Chinese Fumigation Requirement August 18, 2016:
All U.S.-origin vessels that left the United States after August 5 must comply with the new requirements as follows:

  • All shipments (air and sea vessels) originating from the United States are required to provide some of proof of disinsection at the Chinese port.
  • Disinsection does not require fumigation. Disinsection can be carried out by physical or chemical means. For physical, this could include trapping, air curtains, or other integrated pest management techniques. For chemical, this could include surface spraying, space spraying, or fumigation. It is the shipper’s choice, but should take into account human health and safety.
  • The disinsection requirement (and therefore the proof of disinsection) applies to the container or vessel, NOT to the goods being shipped. Therefore, if the entire vessel can provide proof, in the form of a certificate, that the vessel is free of mosquitoes, then no additional inspection needs to be carried out.
  • The information to be included on the certificate has already been provided in the notice sent out by AQSIQ.
  • Local CIQ inspectors will continue with their selective examination procedures and there will not be a separate Zika-related inspection process. However, if live mosquito eggs, larva, or mosquitoes are found during the inspection, disinsection will be required.
  • For shipments that are chilled below 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), there is no disinsection certificate required. But, if live mosquito eggs are found by local CIQ inspectors at port, then disinsection will be required.
  • If there has been previous disinsection of the vessel (including fumigation) for other purposes (e.g., phytosanitary workplan), then proof of that treatment is sufficient proof for this Zikarequirement.
  • Proof of disinsection does not need to be provided by a governmental body, or a governmentapproved body.
  • The disinsection treatment can be carried out at any point during the shipping process. For example, if the containers are disinsected before loading and certified as mosquito free, then loaded in a mosquito free environment, then this is sufficient.
  • AQSIQ will perform a risk-assessment on the Florida region (including surrounding neighboring states) to determine the risk of Zika. AQSIQ will base its risk-assessment based on documentation of control measures that the CDC has been asked to provide.
  • AQSIQ had the right people at the meeting, had prepared thoughtful answers to the questions posed by USG, and responded to additional questions posed by the delegation.
  • Overall, this department is quite willing to continue engaging with USDA (and USG overall) in resolving any additional issues or complications that arise. However, they readily admit that China has confirmed the presence of the Aedis Aegiptus mosquito in several southern provinces and therefore, are taking these Zika control measures very seriously.

FCS: ZIKA Chinese Fumigation Requirement Q&A August 18, 2016 QUESTIONS:

Has AQSIQ provided an effective implementation date to CIQ port locations?


What is the status of cargo that departed the U.S. before the August 5 implementation date?

Cargo that departed the U.S. BEFORE this date is exempt from the fumigation requirement. Requirement applies to anything that departed Aug. 5 or after.

If fumigation must take place at the port of entry, what is the estimated cost per container?

Exact cost will relate to the particularities of the cargo and local/provincial government department at port. As a rough guide, a 20 foot container should cost approximately 200 RMB ($30) and a 40 ft. container 400RMB ($60). Shippers should weigh this cost against that of conducting the fumigation in the U.S.

What if CIQ mandates that an entire ship be fumigated?

That would depend on a variety factors. The U.S. attendees were left with a strong impression that this would be an extremely rare occurrence.

Is there guidance as to by whom and how the fumigation process would work at each major port of entry?

This would be carried out by a third party at a given port. Particulars depend on the port but these third party fumigators should be readily available; CIQ will be able to provide guidance.

Is there recourse if a shipping company believes its fumigation certificate has been unfairly rejected?

Yes, a website address will be circulated where complaints can be lodged. Designated staff will respond within 72 hours.

What is the applicability of this requirement to pulp exports? Given the amount of processing that pulp undergoes (high temperatures and chemicals).

Any cargo/products that through their normal processing would be deemed to be fumigated in a WHO acceptable fashion would not need an additional fumigation certificate. Proof of this should be kept on hand.

Will there be a special commodity exemption for products that can be altered or ruined by direct fumigation (such as kaolin clay – HS code is 2507.00.0000)?

NO . The only exception is the 15C or lower temperature. Again note that the fumigation does not have to be directly sprayed on the given product/cargo.

How will transshipments through Hong Kong or a third country be treated?

No Different – if it originates in the U.S. a certificate would have to be produced.

Is an “official government stamp” needed on the fumigation certificate?


How are they going to enforce the temperature exception?

Ensure that the temperature setting on the refrigerated container is set at 15C degrees or lower. Likewise, ensure relevant supporting paperwork notes the intended cargo temperature.

Is the fumigation is a requirement to load on origin, to discharge on port of destination or to remove the container for the port.

Ideally, load on origin and ensure a proper certificate is in hand. As noted earlier, fumigation could also take place upon destination but the time needed to complete the process in a given Chinese port is not known.

What is the status of breakbulk goods (i.e., not in containers, but loaded directly into holds of ships):

All vessels would be subject to fumigation. Again note that both chemical and physical eradication measures in line with WHO standards will be acceptable.

Will each port have authority to enforce differently?

NO, enforcement should be standardized across all (air and sea) ports. The CIQ’s basic risk management system will be employed (reportedly with no specific tweaks to target potential Zika threats from the U.S.). If a container is pulled for inspection as part of routine risk management, it will not be pulled a second time for mosquito inspection.

Are all shipments from the US subject? Or can this be limited to Zika effective regions?

All shipments from the U.S. are subject for the time being. Consultations will continue to determine if a regionalization approach could be implemented.

What is the impact of this regulation on airlines and airline cargo?

The regulation DOES APPLY to both cargo and passenger flights. In regards to cargo, the plane should be fumigated prior to cargo loading and certificate produced. For passenger airlines, the plane should be fumigated before passengers board. “empty spray cans” (with acceptable WHO anti-mosquito agent contents) would be accepted as proof of fumigation.

What is the timeline for the United States’ presence on the list? The initial announcement states that the countries are subject to scrutiny for one year – does that mean U.S.-origin goods will be screened until August 2017, or from the initial announcement, March 2017?
Goods are subject to this requirement until March 2017. This date may be extended or shortened depending on the Zika situation in the U.S.

Some of the information will be redundant in these two documents. Expect something more official from all attendees (FAS, FCS, STATE, APHIS, CDC) in the very near future.

​If you have any questions please contact RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.
Source: NHLA

Trucker Appointment System Causing Demurrage Charges at Oakland Port

Truckers at the Port of Oakland are still adapting to the port’s new appointment system, according to an article in  the Journal of Commerce.

Oakland’s largest terminal operator is struggling to find the right formula for its newly-mandated trucker appointment system.

Some truckers and beneficial cargo owners say conditions have improved, although others complain about rising demurrage costs owing to insufficient slots each day for making appointments.

Oakland International Container Terminal’s experience is a development that cargo owners who ship through other seaports should follow closely because they will soon be grappling with the same problem.

Cargo volumes have increased to the point where the largest ports cannot handle their traffic in the traditional 40-hour work week. Terminals are responding by adding second shifts, but in order to manage traffic, terminal operators are pairing extended gates with controversial mandatory appointments to spread truck flow out evenly over 16 hours each day.

The problems in Oakland started this spring when the second-largest tenant, Outer Harbor Terminal, terminated its lease and declared bankruptcy. For truckers calling at  OICT, the challenge now is to secure an appointment window before the free time allowed for storing their imported containers on dock runs out. When free time expires, storage fees, known as “demurrage” are charged,

The problem is compounded by the fact many truckers and warehouses don’t work at night. Furthermore, even though truckers may work for a few hours at night, they rarely work the entire eight-hour shift.

Under the pilot project in Oakland, which still has two months to go before it is reevaluated, all truck moves incur a $30 fee whether they move during the day or at night, so there is no incentive to book a reservation at night or disincentive to book one during the daytime shift.

On the other hand, after years of experience with appointments, both the terminals and the truckers are improving the systems. Seven of the 13 terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach now have appointment systems, and several more will come on line this year.

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