Upgraded BoxTech to Track Lost and Stolen Containers

Containers that have been sold or are lost or stolen, or tied up in a bankruptcy case, can now be easily identified via new features in a nonprofit database, known as BoxTech, the  Journal of Commerce reports.

The database was launched in July 2016  by  the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) includes information on more than 30 percent of the global container fleet.  One new function allows owners to indicate  when containers have been sold. The This will help  shippers to avoid problems stemming from the inadvertent use of a container that has changed hands or otherwise has a “special status,” such as being part of a bankruptcy.

A second new feature, called a “recovery alerts system,” enables users to create a list of containers of interest that are then searched in the database to see they are involved in a bankruptcy situation, or are lost or stolen. Users that search the database for a specific containers will be alerted if  has been sold and is no longer part of a company’s fleet.

Users can also do an increased number of queries on the database, as a result of the implementation of new application programming interfaces (APIs), BIC said. These include increased automation of the process by which container owners update their information and others that enable users to search the database by rate weight, size and type, maximum ross mass and other characteristics.

Initially the BoxTech was introduced to help shippers meet the demands of the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, which requires shippers to submit the weight of any container being shipped before it is loaded onto a vessel.

Some shipping lines like, Maersk Line and CMA-CGM are already using the new tools. Both lines have uploaded their entire global container fleets to the database and are now flagging units whenever they are sold.

Brazil customs strike enters its fourth week

Strike action by the Receita Federal (customs) in Brazil has entered its fourth week and is now causing severe delays for shippers and carriers alike, according to the Journal of Commerce.

The containers at port of Santos are being delayed between five days and week, according to the Sao Paulo and Santos Ship agents Association (Sindamar) and other sources in the port city, which said that containers are missing their sailings and racking up detention and demurrage fees.

Adding to the trouble, officials in the tax analysts section of the Receita Federal have joined the strike and delays are also mounting at key border crossings, particularly along the borders with Argentina and Paraguay.

Many transshipment connections in Santos have been broken, spreading the delays well beyond Brazil.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available.

Port of Portland to Re-open in January 2018

Container service at the US West Coast Port of Portland will  be resumed next year,  Oregon Live  reports. 

Swire Shipping has agreed to start offering a mix of general, non-containerized cargo and container services.  The calls will start beginning January 2018  at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6, roughly every 35 days. The route will be from Portland to Australia and New Zealand, and then onto China, with a possible stop in South Korea before returning to Portland.

Portland Port’s former client Korean shipping operator Hanjin Shipping, ceased to call at the terminal after division arose between International Longshore and Warehouse Union and port operator ICTSI. Currently Portland Port is now not managed by ICTSI, but is self-managing.

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

New EU Rules to Improve Europe Rail Infrastructure

The European Union  is planning to introduce rules to improve international coordination of infrastructure works that will be implemented at the end of 2017, according to a report in the Journal of Commerce.

This was welcomed by the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA).  The ERFA highlighted  problems leading to poor quality rail service, including late information regarding planned disruptions, limited provision of — or unsuitable, diversionary routes and  uncoordinated infrastructure works across one or more networks.

On August 12, work on the new Rastatt Tunnel freight bypass caused the track through the Rhine Valley to subside by half a meter (1.6 feet) between Karlsruhe in Germany and Basel in Switzerland, making the route unsuitable for rail traffic. This immediately blocked the way for more than 100 trains a day, forcing cargo shippers to scramble for alternatives, which were themselves limited because of widespread maintenance work by rail operator Deutsche Bahn and its subsidiary DB Netz.

Among the positive changes from the EU rules were the requirement for rail operators to provide early advance warning for major capacity restrictions lasting more than seven days and affecting 30 percent of traffic, and for infrastructure managers to set up a coordination platform, together with users and service facilities to prepare timetables, including the provision of diversionary routes.

Infrastructure managers, including those impacted by the rerouting of trains, are now obliged to coordinate among themselves capacity restrictions more than 24 months before changes to the working timetable.

Also among the changes were involvement of users in the early coordination work, early and clear communication, and planning that minimizes rail disruption where for the most disruptive capacity restrictions lasting more than 30 days and affecting more than 50 percent of traffic, at least two alternatives of capacity restrictions must be offered to users, indicating the duration of the disruption and available capacity on diversionary lines.



The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Approve Air Quality Rules for Moving Cargo

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced they have approved the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) on November 2nd, the American Journal of Transportation reports.

The plan  sets out ambitious clean air strategies for moving cargo through the  port complex, by lowering truck and cargo-handling equipment to near zero and ultimately zero emissions.

“These new policies and strategies are some of the most progressive air-quality rules in the nation,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “We are serious about fighting climate change, protecting local residents and promoting economic success at our ports.”

The initiatives include new investments in clean technology, expanded use of alternatives for reducing at-berth ship emissions and a demonstration of up to 100 zero-emission trucks in the next few years, according to the plan.

A part of the 2017 plan  is also to reduce  greenhouse gases from port-related sources to combat global warming and climate change.

The estimated cost of implementing the 2017 CAAP ranges from $7 billion to $14 billion.

Truckers Strike at India’s Cochin Port Ends

A section of unionized truck drivers serving DP World-operated Vallarpadam Terminal in India’s Cochin Port  has called off their strike campain, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The stoppage came after the authorities imposed  new freight weight regulations on container trailers and revoked licenses of those drivers who violated them.

The settlement followed discussions between union leaders and government agencies Tuesday morning, according to local shipping sources.

The striking drivers returned to work, but it could take the terminal a couple of days to clear export-import backlogs built up during the strike, according to the information provided by the shipping line agents.

 Stay informed via RCL Agencies updates about global trade and international port news.

Notifications for Shipments from India to Kuwait

According to the information provided by our partners, effective October 19th , all FCL/LCL shipments, both  Import and Export  from Kuwait to India need to be palletelized.

Cargo that is not palletelized  will be stopped by customs  and the customer will be fined directly KD 80. The cargo will be released only when the  penalty is paid.

Please be guided accordingly.  If any questions, please contact RCL Agencies representative at 973-779-5900.

Santos Customs on Strike Following Week of Slowdowns

Customs officers in the largest Brazilian port of Santos decided to proceed with a one-day strike, guaranteeing further delays and extra warehousing costs for shippers after a week of slowdowns, the Journal of Commerce reports.

All cargo will be affected apart from “essential” items, such as medicines, hospital supplies, livestock, and food for ships’ crews, according to Sindifisco, the union representing officers of the Receita Federal, which is the name of Brazil’s customs agency.

The union says they had to go ahead with the strike after the government failed to respond to last week’s slowdowns.

Sindifisco is now saying the government has reneged on promises made earlier this year to get them back to work.  The government counters that it has not gone back on the promises, but given the dire state of public finances, much of the agreement must be delayed.

While Sindifisco says that each day of downtime in Santos leads to the accumulation of 2,000 to 3,000 containers and delays in the collection of Reais100 million ($30.8 million) in federal taxes, members of the local shipping community dispute those figures.

Currently , hundreds of containers are delayed at Santos.  At this moment, it is difficult to say whether or not dispute will be resolved by November 1st.

Please be guided accordingl. RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation.

New Customs Strike Threat at Santos from November 1st

Shippers and port users in Santos are preparing themselves for delays and extra storage costs as customs officers in the port go on strike yet again, according to a report in the Journal of Commerce.

Members of Sindifisco, the union for Receita Federal (customs) officers in Brazil, voted last week  to carry out a “zero-clearance operation” starting October 16 that will grow into a full-blow strike from November 1st if their demands are not met,

Sindifisco claims that the government of Michel Temer, which is trying to introduce market reforms and slash the state budget, has not kept the promises it made earlier this year regarding wage increases, making a strike the only means of redress.  Brasilia says it has not reneged on the agreements, but that their implementation must take place in 2019 and 2020 rather than 2018 and 2019 in order to help balance Brazil’s finances.

The union said that they will continue to clear “essential” cargoes such as medicine and hospital supplies, live animals, and food for vessel crews. The slowdown will leave an extra 3,000 containers on the Santos quay each day and cause clearance times to jump to between three and five days rather than the average 24 hours, according to the union.

In practice, say Santos insiders, the customs officers will probably clear about 30 percent of all containerized cargoes. In addition to longer clearance times, expensive storage costs also begin to accrue during these disruptions.

Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will provide more updates once available.

FMC Updates Agreement Filing Review Process

The Federal Maritime Commission has announced that it has revised the process for reviewing maritime agreements filed by container carriers and marine terminals in response to industry trends.

Under the law, the FMC has 45 days to consider a filed agreement and either reject it or allow it to go into effect. However, the Commission states that it is receiving agreements of increased complexity or of a nature not previously seen.

Currently, the commission reviews each agreement or amendment filing by moving it through the relevant office and bureau staff in a “sequential” review process. With these agreements becoming increasingly complex, there’s a risk for delay and rushing at the end to meet the 45-day deadline to finish the review.

The goal for the new review methodology is to allow the FMC staff to make its recommendations with regards to the filed agreements and amendments to the commissioners for their consideration two weeks before the end of the 45-day review period.

Under the proposed new agreement review process, the FMC will immediately publish the agreement filing in the Federal Register to ensure the industry is aware of the agreement and has adequate time to file comments with the commission.  Internally, the commission will hold a meeting of representatives from all the bureaus and offices, including the commissioners’ staff, to introduce the filed agreement and immediately start the review process across the agency.

The FMC will also reach out to the agreement’s filing counsel, if necessary, during the 45-day review cycle to address any concerns with specific terms or conditions in the agreement.