China Ratifies U.N. TIR Convention

China has become the 70th country to ratify the United Nation’s Transports Internationaux Routiers Convention, the global standard for international freight customs transit,  the  U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said in a statement.

The convention will enter into force for China on January  5, 2017, and will let the country to export goods to the European Union and Turkey under a single, simplified transit procedure for all transport modes.

“China’s accession to the TIR Convention will open new efficient and faster transport opportunities and transport routes between China and Europe. It can become a real game changer for international trade and is a strong contribution to the Chinese vision for ‘One Road One Belt,’” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach in a statement.

The TIR transit system is the only global intermodal customs transit system. More than 35,000 road transport operators worldwide are already authorized to use the TIR system effecting about 1.5 million TIR border-crossing procedures per year, UNECE said.

The UNECE, said that  the inclusion of China will facilitate trade between Central Asian countries and the European Union, and stimulate China’s transit and logistics services.
Meanwhile, China is studying the benefits of acceding to other U.N. conventions, such as the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) and the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Control of Goods.

New U.S., Mexico Air Transport Agreement

Reuters report that  the U.S. government has established an air transport agreement with the Mexican government designed to boost travel and clear the way for any city to have direct airline service to the neighboring nation, the U.S. Transportation Department said last week.

The two governments exchanged the necessary diplomatic notes for the agreement to move forward after four years of talks.

The agreement increases market access for both passenger and cargo airlines to fly between any city in Mexico and any U.S. city, the U.S. Transportation Department said, adding that in particular, cargo airlines will “have expanded opportunities to provide services that were not available under the more restrictive agreement.”

“This agreement will allow carriers on both sides of the border to better meet increasing demand in our countries, helping to drive economic growth in sectors beyond aviation, including tourism and manufacturing,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement

The expanded access under the agreement starts August  21st.

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

Turkey Experiences Limited Shipping Disruption After Attempted Coup d’Etat

Following the attempted coup d’etat over the last  weekend in Turkey, the nation has experienced limited disruption to the logistics industry, American Shipper reports.

“There has been no impact to operations at the Turkish Straits following the attempted coup in Turkey, with all passages taking place as per schedule,” maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Solutions said. However there were  some delays to sailing clearances due to extra security by  authorities. At some ports, sailing permission from the Harbour Master is being withheld until vessels’ completion of immigration clearance. The maritime services provider expressed how it is working with its clients to minimize possible delays and will keep them updated.

Most of the shippers said that they did not observe any problems or disruption. The ports were fully operational during and after the attempt. The normalization was rapid and business continues as usual. Shipping lines like Maersk Line also said that their  operations have not been impacted.

The European Union is Turkey’s number one import and export partner, while Turkey ranks as the EU’s seventh largest source of imports and fifth largest destination for exports. Turkey’s top markets for exports are the EU, Iraq, Russia, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates and Iran, while the nation sources most of its imports from the EU, Russia, China, the U.S., Iran and South Korea, the European Commission said.

The U.S. Department of Census says that in 2015, the U.S. exported goods valued at just over $9.5 billion and imported goods valued at nearly $7.9 billion. In the first five months of this year U.S. exports amounted to $4.35 billion and imports $3.33 billion.

Free navigation through the Bosphorous and Dardenelles is essential for ports in Russia, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania as well as northern Turkey.

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

U.S. Customs Proposes Expanded Definition of ‘Importer Security Filing Importer’

The Journal of Commerce reported that earlier this month U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a notice of proposed rulemaking [USCBP-2016-0040] to amend the CBP regulations to expand- for certain types of shipments- the definition of the party required to electronically submit the Importer Security Filing (ISF) 24 hours prior to vessel loading at an overseas port.

The ISF rule was implemented in 2009 to gather advance data about ocean cargo so it can be screened by CBP’s computers for potential security risks, such as nuclear smuggling, before the vessel reaches U.S. shores.The ISF consists of 10 data elements that provide details about the contents, origin, destination, shipper and receiver of the cargo. It is supposed to be filed by importers – the party causing the goods to be imported – or their customs brokers.

Shipments that remain on board the vessel at port, or are directly transported to another U.S. location under bond before goods are released for pick up or are re-exported, only require five data elements.  CBP stating that the existing definition of an importer doesn’t work well for those types of shipments, as well as shipments to Foreign Trade Zones. The ocean carrier is technically the importer for Freight Remaining on Board (FROB), and in many cases, a third party with no commercial interest in the shipment and limited access to the ISF data is the ISF filer for in-bond and FTZ entries.

The proposed change would give NVOs and import buyers the ability to directly transmit the Importer Security Filing, which is expected to improve security and eliminate confusion over who should file.

Third parties, such as a Foreign Trade Zone operator, may not have access to the required ISF data and inbond export and transportation entries are frequently not filed until after the cargo has arrived at a port of entry, which means there is not yet a party that files the bond documentation 24 hours prior to lading. In these cases, the party filing the entries with CBP didn’t cause the goods to be shipped to the United States and may not have direct knowledge of the required info. Instead, the purchaser or broker often will simply file the ISF with 10 data elements.

To address these issues, CBP is proposing to expand the definition of an ISF Importer for IE and T&E in-bond shipments, and for goods to be delivered to an FTZ, to also include the goods’ owner, purchaser, consignee or agent. The proposal would significantly reduce confidentiality concerns that may be caused by the current requirements. This rule would ensure the party with the best access to the information is the party who files the information, which will improve the accuracy of the information CBP uses for targeting. Finally, eliminating a step in the transmission process (sending the ISF information from the third party to the current ISF importer) will result in CBP getting the information sooner.

The agency is receiving public comments on the ISF proposal through September  6th.

RCL Agencies will provide more update once available


Renewal of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill to Benefit US Importers

A recently re-enacted law called the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), offers U.S. importers the opportunity to persuade the federal government that a raw material or intermediate product they bring into the country should be exempt from tariffs, according to the Journal of Commerce.

This law, which had not been in place since a previous version expired in 2012, allows manufacturers to request that the import tariff be temporarily removed on a product they import as long as there is no U.S.-based competitor. For a product to become exempt, the applicants must show that they will benefit by no more than $500,000 a year if the tariff is removed.

The law gives importers the first chance to apply for such exemption since the last application period under the earlier bill, in 2009.

Under the new law, which was signed by President Barack Obama in May, companies have 60 days from October 15th to petition the U.S. International Trade Commission to remove the tariff on a raw material or intermediate product. A second 60-day period in which companies can submit a petition will begin in the Fall of 2019.

The enactment ended a three-year standoff over the bill, during which its passage was blocked by gridlock in Congress and a ban on “earmarks,” or benefits for special interests, which some legislators believed could include the tariff removal.

The introduction of the new MTB process would help manufacturers remain competitive . “This legislation will help to level the playing field with competitors overseas who do not endure these punitive taxes,” as the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers put it.

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


Implementation of Montreal Low Water Surcharge ffective July 15th

Please note that as a result of low water levels in the St. Lawrence River, effective July 15th 2016 the majority of ocean carriers will be implementing a low water surcharge (LWS).  The surcharge varies from carrier to carrier.

Charges per carrier as following:

MSC : 100$/20’ and 150$/40’ per July 15. (please note MSC works with B/L date)

MAERSK : 150$/20’ and 150$/40’ and 45’ per July 15. (gate in)

 OOCL : 100$/20’ and 150$/40’ and 45’ per July 15. (gate in)

CMA : 150$/20’ and 175$/40’ per July 15. (b/l date)

RCL Agencies  will inform you when the water-level is good again and carriers will no longer invoice this surcharge.

Please be guided accordingly.

Truck Congestion at Chennai Port Eases

The Journal of Commerce reports that  Chennai Port has overcome much of its access problems that had been a key contributor to the shift of cargoes from the public gateway to nearby privately operated minor cargo terminals on India’s east coast.

Coordinated efforts at Chennai aimed at speeding truck turn times have yielded significant positive results. Average truck visit times from container freight stations to port gates have been reduced from roughly 40 hours in 2014 to nearly 15 hours earlier this year and to just over seven hours as of June 1, according to the JICA report.

During the past year, the port administration has aggressively worked with other stakeholders to deal with the port’s notorious truck congestion by introducing a string of measures that included extensive refurbishing of the port approach road, opening a “document screening center” outside the harbor to prevent trucks without complete shipping documents from entering the queue and introduction of new rail incentives to lure shippers away from trucks.  Most recently, the port set up radio-frequency identification technology for gate operations.

In addition, DP World-operated Chennai Container Terminal also launched a mobile app that allows its customers to track the whereabouts of their containers. It is available for Android operating systems and can be downloaded from the Google Play store by keying in “DPW Chennai.”

Authorities are hoping that gate productivity improvements brought on by automation and other measures will help arrest the port’s decline in traffic and recapture some of the volumes that have shifted to private ports.

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

FMCSA Adjusts Motor Carrier Civil Penalties

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an interim final rule that  has changed its motor carrier civil penalties for violations of federal regulations during the adjustment for inflation process, according to Transport News.

Some fines are higher than previous years, and some are lower, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the adjustments based on the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

Those adjustments result in most penalties jumping from 10% to more than 105%. The adjusted penalties go into effect August 1st. The rule provides for some of the more serious penalties to be assessed on a daily basis if a carrier fails to take corrective action or obey out-of-service or suspension orders. Although most of the penalty increases are computed using a formula, others are left to the discretion of the agency, according to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

The largest increase was for each day a carrier conducts operations after a suspension or revocation, which more than doubled to $22,587 from $11,000. The penalty for operating in violation of an out-of-service order jumped 41%, to $22,587 from $16,000, according to the rule.

By contrast, the agency decreased the penalty for a driver operating a commercial vehicle during the period the driver was placed out of service to $1,782 from $3,100. The penalty for serious violations of hazardous materials regulations remained the most costly, increasing to $179,933 from $175,000.


French Minimum Wage for Foreign Drivers May Cause Chaos

Officials report that French authorities have published new guidance for the road transport sector, implementing the so called ‘Loi Macron’. The guidelines regulate activities of notably foreign road transport companies when doing transport operations in France. The law states that as of July 1st, 2016 foreign-based drivers  that make deliveries in the country  must receive the French minimum wage and foreign operators must designate a representative in France.

European shippers have warned of transport chaos  that might happen once the new law  comes into force.

At this moment there is no clarity about administrative arrangement, if the foreign drivers must carry documents showing they are being paid the minimum wage of 9.67 euros ($10.95) an hour  or not.

The European Shippers’ Council said that “hauliers and shippers run the risk of being punished for infringement of rules they could not properly prepare for.”

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is challenging the French law saying it will create disproportionate administrative barriers that will hamper the 28-nation bloc’s internal market.

The French and German governments are under pressure from their truckers to respond to the threat of East European firms, which pay their drivers much lower wages and have sharply increased their share of the trans-European market.

The ESC and the International Road Transport Union have welcomed the Commission’s move against the French and German regulations. The transport ministers of 11 EU countries — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta — have pressed the Commission to take action against the “protectionist practices” introduced by France and Germany, which they say will restrict the free movement of goods and services across the EU.

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

Port of Oakland Implements “Extended Gate Fee” Effective June 27th

Please be advised that the Port of Oakland is implementing  Extended Gate Fee of $30 which will go into effect Monday June 27th, 2016 and will apply to all import and export loads coming in and out of the terminal both shifts (day and night).  This Extended Gate Fee is based on a 90-day TRIAL BASIS and will be further reviewed after that time.
This fee will fund the cost of full night operations at the port, which have helped to mitigate the congestion and delays of the daylight hours. Previously the night operations were financed by a Port subsidy which expires this month.
While there have been mixed reviews on the results of the first test, with many customers of the port indicating that there is less traffic and shorter lines at the terminals at night, but that once inside the terminal, the delays are worse.
 If you have any questions, feel free to contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900