FSMA Final Rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals

Starting May 27, 2017, the FDA will begin implementing the FDA’s Food Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
What is FSVP?
A central feature of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FSVP is intended to be a flexible, risk-based program to verify foreign suppliers and the safety of the food they produce. FSVP will require:
  •  Identification of the “FSVP importer” for food products imported into the U.S.
  •  The FSVP Importer is responsible for establishing foreign supplier verification programs to verify that that their foreign suppliers are using safe processes and procedures and that the food is not adulterated or misbranded.
Who Is the FSVP Importer?
The FSVP Importer might be, but is not necessarily, the same party as the Importer of Record. The FSVP importer must be a U.S. party with a direct financial interest in the food product. Specifically, the FSVP Importer is:
  • the U.S. owner or consignee of the product
  • if there is no U.S. owner or consignee at the time of entry, the foreign owner of the food must appoint a U.S. agent who will be responsible for ensuring that supplier verification activities are conducted for each food product imported. The FSVP agent must be designated in a written document with signed consent by the agent. The FSVP agent should not be confused with the agent for food facility registration. They serve separate and distinct roles.
The FDA defines U.S. owner/consignee as the person who, at the time of entry, owns the food, has purchased the food, or has agreed in writing to purchase the food.
What are the Responsibilities of the Importers?

Importers are responsible for actions that include:

  • Determining known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food
  • Evaluating the risk posed by a food, based on the hazard analysis, and the foreign supplier’s performance
  • Using that evaluation of the risk posed by an imported food and the supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities
  • Conducting supplier verification activities
  • Conducting corrective actions
What Is Required of Customs Brokers?
For customs brokers, this means that, after May 27, for each line entry of food product offered for import into the U.S., the name, contact info, DUNS # and FDA registration number of the FSVP Importer must be provided in ACE at the time of entry.

More information about FSVP can be found at FDA website

Canadian Pacific Reaches Tentative Labor Deal with Steelworkers Union

Canadian Pacific Railway and the United Steelworkers Local 1976 have reached a tentative five-year labor agreement covering around 600 administrative support and intermodal employees in Canada, according to a statement from the company. Full details of the agreement, however, have been withheld pending ratification by union membership.

“This agreement reflects a shared vision for the future success of this company and is an acknowledgement of the important work of our support staff personnel and intermodal employees in writing the next chapter of the CP story” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel in a statement.

The current labor contract between CP and USW Local 1976 expires December 31st, 2017.

SOURCE: Canadian Pacific

Spanish Dockworkers Cancel Remaining Strikes

The Journal of Commerce reports that the Spanish dockworkers’ union  canceled the remaining four days of a nine-day strike campaign after the government failed to win parliamentary support for reforms of the country’s dock labor system.

The strikes, which would have involved dockworkers stopping work every other hour, were due to take place on March 17, 20, 22, and 24.

The CMT union had earlier canceled five days of strikes while it held negotiations with the terminal operators and stevedores’ organization Anesco.

The remaining strike days have been cancelled after the Stowage Reform Law the stevedores were opposing was shot down. Now the Congress of Deputies is calling for a re-write of the law and stevedores are rejoicing.

The draft reform would dismantle the union’s monopoly over the hiring of dockworkers across the Spanish waterfront and free port employers to hire non-union labor and remove the obligation to be paying members of the local dock pools.

The situation at Spanish ports is still uncertain. Negotiations between the National Association of Stevedoring , the Ship Consignment Companies (Anesco), and the stevedores’ unions will continue, all parties searching for an agreeable solution to the conflict.
The dockworkers’ union said it is prepared to start “serious and rigorous” negotiations with all parties, including employers and the government, to reach a consensus on responding to the Luxembourg court’s ruling.
RCL Agencies will keep you informed of further developments.

Russian Rail Extends Services to Far East

Russian railway monopoly RZD has launched two new services connecting the Russian Far East with Moscow in a bid to foster growth in trade with Japan.

According to a report in the Journal of Commerce, the two new services are known as Transsib for Seven Days and the Baikal Shuttle. The services travel 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) per day and leave from the Nakhodka-Vostochnaya rail yard. To boost interest in the service, RZD will offer subsidies ranging from 15 to 60 percent depending on the type of container, seasonality, and other factors.

The new services should save shippers 15 to 20 percent on costs and 17 days in transit time compared with sea transport through Baltic ports to reach Moscow, according to Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov

Need help with shipments to Russia –  or any other country?  RCL has extensive experience shipping throughout the world – contact us today for assistance with your shipping needs!

Spanish Port Strike: Update as of March 9th

Please be advised that the Port  Stevedores Labor Union Strike at all Spanish Ports scheduled for March 10th, 13th and 15th is cancelled.

The strikes beginning March 17th until March 24th  as previously announced remain active. During these dates Stevedore will work only in odd hours during each shift.

The Spanish government is doing all possible to avoid the strike and is trying to reach an agreement with the union before the next deadline.

It is expected that the productivity of the Spanish ports will be greatly affected including possible skipped calls, and an inability to load cargo on anticipated vessels.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will provide updates as they become available.


ILA Calls Off Work Stoppage at East and Gulf Coast Ports

The head of the International Longshoremen’s Association has called off a planned work stoppage at East and Gulf coast ports and plans to meet with members of Congress to address labor issues at the Port of Charleston and elsewhere, as the Post and Courier reports.

Meeting with legislators from South Carolina, New York and New Jersey — three states where the union says problems exist — are already being scheduled, according to Kenneth Riley, the ILA’s vice president and head of the union’s Charleston branch.

Riley last week called for a one-day work stoppage to protest what he says is the loss of jobs to over-regulation and interference by government-run maritime agencies. Riley had not set a date for the work stoppage or a planned ILA march on Washington.

Among  union complaints are that  government-operated ports, including Charleston’s, are reducing union jobs by hiring non-ILA workers to operate cranes, receive and deliver cargo, and perform other duties. Also, that the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is creating new layers of background checks and other regulatory hurdles that are creating job shortages there.

The maritime alliance has warned the ILA that the union’s current contract has a no-strike clause and any work stoppage would violate the agreement.  Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the State Ports Authority  said port operators likely would seek a court order to end any work stoppage that occurs.

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

All You Need to Know When Filing through AES

If your company exports goods, than you should know that according to the U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) it is necessary to file your export information electronically through AES, the Automated Export System. It is important to follow the requirement and to do it right otherwise  the consequences of filing incorrectly can be costly.

If the process of filing through AES is new to you, or if you need a refresher, please see the information below:

What is AES?

On April 5, 2014, the Automated Export System (AES) was re-engineered and incorporated into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) trade processing system.  AES capabilities allow the electronic filing of export information and ocean manifest information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

AES is the system U.S. exporters use to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. It is also used by other government agencies for trade enforcement purposes.

What are the benefits of AES?

AES has advantages for everyone no matter who you are: exporter, carrier, freight forwarder, port authority, service center, non-vessel operating common carrier, consolidator

  • Ensure Export Compliance –  AES, with its sophisticated editing system – and your subsequent corrections, ensures your compliance with current U.S. export reporting requirements. The system returns an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation that you successfully filed your export documentation.
  • Correct Errors as They Occur – AES provides immediate feedback to the filer when data is omitted or incorrect. AES allows you to correct errors at any point in time.
  • Decrease Your Costs –  AES eliminates the cost of corrections with up-front data edits and eliminates the costly delays of paper handling and duplicate reporting.
  • Eliminate Paper Review of Licenses Against Shipments – The interface with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls electronically validates data on export shipments against previously approved licenses and transmits the transaction to the appropriate Partnership Agency.
  • Keep in Step With the Global Shift to EDI –  AES is in line with the NAFTA and GATT agreements. AES export certification could start the 60-day clock for presentation of evidence of duty payment to another NAFTA country. This will make it easier to do business in multiple countries.
  • Provide a Tool for Evaluating and Measuring Potential Markets –  Accurate and timely export statistics from accurate trade data will help your business stay ahead in the global trade market.

When do I need to apply for Electronic Export Information (EEI)?

As a general rule, if your company exports goods valued at more than $2,500 per Schedule B number to anywhere other than Canada or goods that require an export license, the EEI should be filed. A single carrier is an individual vessel, plane, truck, or rail car, not a steamship line or airline.

There are instances when the EEI is not required. Some examples of when the EEI does not have to be prepared by an exporter and filed by the carrier are as follows:

Exporters sending shipments in which the ultimate destination is Canada, as long as the goods are not licensed or contain rough or uncut diamonds, or shipments to U.S. possessions (i.e. Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Midway Island, Wake Island and American Samoa). However, if the shipments ultimate destination is the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico the EEI must be filed.

Please watch the U.S. Census Bureau video for a more complete description of when you must file.

Who can submit an Electronic Export Information (EEI)?

The U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), often the exporter or manufacturer, can file an Electronic Export Information (EEI) or they can delegate it to an Authorized agent to file on behalf of the USPPI.

What do I need to start electronic filing?

  • Step 1 – File Letter of Intent to Census.

Upon receipt of the letter, a CBP Client Representative and a Census Client Representative will be assigned to serve as your technical advisor during development, testing and implementation.

  • Step 2 – Choose Interface Method

The following implementation methods are available for interfacing with AES:

  1. Create your own AES program.
  2. Purchase AES-certified software from a vendor.
  3. Use a paid AES service center.
  4. Use AESDirect or any of its enhancements free of charge
  • Step 3 – Certification
    There is an initial two-part communication test to ascertain whether your system is capable of both transmitting data to and receiving data from AES. You must demonstrate specific system application capabilities successfully as a prerequisite to certification for AES. The CBP and Census client representatives provide support during testing and make the determination to whether or not you qualify for certification.

What is Letter of Intent (LOI)?

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a written statement of a company’s desire to participate in the AES, and implies the development or purchase of a software solution by your company, which conforms to the AES data formats.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) provides basic company profile information and sets forth a commitment to develop, maintain and adhere to CBP and Census performance requirements and operational standards. The LOI may be submitted online.

Does AES require a DUNS number? 

“DUNS” (the Data Universal Number System) is a registered trademark of The Dun and Bradstreet Corporation.

AES requires an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and allows the reporting of the DUNS number as one of several ways to identify a party in an export transaction

If you don’t have the DUNS number, please visit the Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. website or call 1-800-333-0505 for more information if you wish to register with them, but AES does not require a DUNS number for AES filing. There is no charge to obtain a unique nine-digit D & B DUNS number for your company.


If you have any questions, please call a toll-free AES Hotline at 1-800-549-0595 or visit CBP Web site


The source:

CBP Web site

United States Census Bureau Web site

16 Terms You Need to Know When Filing through AES

Russian Customs to Improve Filing Process

 To eliminate redundancy, The Russian Federal Customs Service decided that customs paperwork is to be filed only electronically, according to a report in the Journal of Commerce.
Removing the requirement for  hard copies  should cut transportation costs by 10 to 15 percent. In addition, the customs agency also plans to establish a central location to handle customs declarations and automate those declarations. The central location is expected to come online next month, while the phasing out of hard copy documentation will take place over the coming months.
The customs agency has already started to improve its operation.  Those efforts included introducing electronic filing, reducing the amount of paperwork required, and allowing shippers to create online profiles the agency can use to look at their shipping history- all of which makes it less likely such shippers will face delays.
The results of the efforts are noticeable. The time it now takes for customs clearance at Baltic customs has fallen since 2016.  Customs clearance for exports takes 1 hour instead of 2 hours as in last year. The time for  customs clearance of import also has been reduced from 29 minutes to 18 minutes.

Need help with shipments to Russia?  RCL has extensive experience shipping in and out of Russia – contact us today for assistance with your shipping needs!


Simulation Confirms Port of NY & NJ Can Handle ULCVs Through 18,000 TEUs

A state-of-the-art computer simulation has confirmed that both new classes of ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) – those handling 14,000 and 18,000 TEUS — can safely navigate the Port of New York and New Jersey. The critical components to facilitate such transits will be communication and coordination among the various port stakeholders, said officials in the Port Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The simulation was conducted in two phases during the second half of 2016 at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The port’s major stakeholders – specifically a partnership between the NJ Office of Maritime Resources, New York Shipping Association (NYSA), and the port’s three vessel pilot organizations — felt it was vital to conduct a full-mission ship simulation study to identify best practices for the safe and efficient handling of ULCV transits to the port’s major container terminals.

Notably, the simulation factored in the new controlling depth (50 feet) of the port’s major navigation channels as well as the new working height of the Bayonne Bridge once the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey completes its “Raise the Roadway” Program in 2017.

The simulation established some important parameters for the handling of ULCVs at the Port of New York and New Jersey. For example, there will be limitations on which part of the tidal cycle these vessels can transit, as well as speed, visibility and maximum wind conditions.

The simulation’s results were briefed at the NYSA Annual Luncheon earlier this week. Members of the Port Authority’s Port Department will establish a working group to develop a set of procedures and protocols that all port constituents will be asked to concur with in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of all waterside activities.

A complete list of the simulation results and handling requirements can be reviewed here.

Gothenburg Port Strike Called Off

The Swedish Dockworkers’ Union on Friday cancelled a strike at Gothenburg planned to last through February 28th, according to information provided by the Journal of Commerce.

The decision came after the union and APM Terminals agreed to return to the negotiating table to settle year-long strife, says the joint statement.

The disagreement stems over APMT’s refusal to meet the dockers’ demand for a separate collective bargaining agreement from the one that is in force throughout Sweden.

The union has disrupted operations by blockading the port and instituting a ban on members performing overtime work, creating a backlog of containers and delays for shippers.

Gothenburg is a leading Nordic hub and handles 60 percent of Sweden’s container traffic, but unless it undertakes major investment in dredging so that more fully laden mega-ships can call at the port, its stature will diminish, according to a recent study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Stay informed with RCL updates for the latest global ports and international shipping news.