Port Authority Develops Simulation Center, First of its Kind in the Country

Under a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD), The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will make investments to improve the barge program that transports containers between terminals in New York and New Jersey.

The grant, obtained with the assistance of New York and New Jersey’s Congressional delegation, will increase the barge system’s cost-effectiveness and reliability for shippers. These factors, in turn, will help the Port Authority, its terminal operators and ocean carriers to grow the existing barge program, which last year moved 35,000 containers, resulted in 60,000 fewer trucks on the region’s roadways, and eliminated 1,600 tons of CO2.

But the MARAD grant also helps create the New York Harbor Crane Operators Training Center (COTC), the first of its kind in the country.

The COTC’s three state-of-the-art simulators will help train members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) to operate the newest generation of ship-to-shore and yard cranes, thus optimizing the loading and discharge of container barges. The award of $492,480 from the MARAD grant will be matched by $328,320 committed by both the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) and Port Newark Container Terminal, plus an in-kind contribution of a simulator from the NYSA.

The full grant will also support:

  • Enhancing the fender system at Berth 6 in Port Newark, specifically the Red Hook Barge Terminal, to help protect both Port Authority-owned barges and the berths from damage during docking and undocking operations. The MARAD grant award of $157,500 will be matched by $192,500 from the Port Authority.
  • The purchase of two new high-tech machines to augment existing container handling equipment at Red Hook Container Terminal. The MARAD grant award of $982,316 will be matched with $327,439 from Red Hook Container Terminal.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest maritime news.


The source: Breaking Waves

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

Port of Oakland Closing Major Terminal

Ports America (PA), the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the US,  announced last week that it was terminating its 50-year lease of the Outer Harbor Terminal (OHT) at the Port of Oakland with cargo operations ending in 30 days and a full terminal shutdown in 60 days.

Port of Oakland officials promised to keep cargo moving efficiently , the vessels will be rerouted to adjacent terminals after after Ports America Outer Harbor terminal will be closed in March. Port representatives assured shipping lines and cargo owners that planning is already underway to minimize the shutdown’s impact.

The Port said the departure of Ports America provides two significant opportunities. First of all, ships and cargo can be redirected to Oakland’s other marine terminals which have excess capacity and also the Port can find new, better uses for Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal. Options for the land could include uses unrelated to containerized cargo operations, the Port said.

Port officials said their priority is minimizing customer impact and maintaining Oakland’s cargo volume. There is ample capacity to absorb Outer Harbor’s volume at other Oakland terminals, the Port said. It added that terminal operators are preparing for the cargo migration.

Oakland International Container Terminal has opened Saturday and occasional weeknight gates for two months. The extra hours enable harbor truckers to pick-up or drop-off cargo outside peak hours

According to The Wall Street Journal, this announcement is occurring at a time when the maritime industry is in a transition period. There is little growth in freight rates and, as a result, some shipping companies are merging and forming partnerships to stabilize and strengthen operations.

Stay informed with RCL updates about the latest maritime news.

Cuba-U.S. Embassies Opening has Trade Potential

Aaccording to the Journal of Commerce,  on July 20th Cuba and America reopened their embassies and ended a 54-year diplomatic stalemate.

For cargo shipping and port operators, the burgeoning détente between the United States and Cuba has major implications. Indeed, there has already been a flurry of activity among maritime interests despite the U.S. trade embargo remaining firmly in place.

Although most forms of U.S. trade are still banned under the 54-year-old embargo, a limited but growing number of American firms, such as food exporters and technology companies, are eligible to do business there.

For cargo shipping, the Cuban port focus is squarely on Container Terminal SA Mariel (TC Mariel) operated by Singapore’s PSA. According to Drewry, “Cuba does have the potential to act as a transhipment hub for U.S. cargo, in a similar way to how Freeport, Bahamas, does now,”.

But  U.S. restrictions on vessel calls remain in place, with the exception of vessels granted special licences. The U.S. rule barring vessels that visit Cuba from calling at a U.S. port for 180 days, is still in effect.

Nevertheless, there have been positive regulatory developments. In January, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control broadened allowances in place for U.S. vessels carrying certain agricultural or otherwise approved cargoes, extending them to non-U.S. vessels.

In June, OFAC removed a number of formerly Cuban-controlled commercial vessels from the sanctions list.  However,  the Helms-Burton barrier is still in place.

Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about the latest trade and shipping news.

The USA House passes the THUD bill with controversial trucking riders

The U.S. House of Representatives put its final stamp on the bill funding the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) through the end of fiscal year 2016 in a 216-210 vote July 9, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The THUD “freezes or cuts critical investment in transportation that creates jobs, helps to grow the economy, and improves America’s roads, bridges, transit infrastructure, and aviation systems,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said June 1.

The bill for transportation includes numerous provisions of interest to truckers and affects both driver hours of service and truck lengths. One would allow the first change in truck length limits in decades, permitting the use of 33-foot pup trailers in double-trailer combinations. Currently, pups are limited to 28 feet in length.

Another would impose tougher conditions on when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could reinstate provisions of the truck driver hours-of-service regulations suspended last December by language inserted in last year’s omnibus federal spending bill.

The suspended provisions required truckers to include two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods in any weekly restart, which in practice often extended restarts well beyond the 34 hours allowed since 2004. Use of the restart was limited to once in a seven-day period.

Suspending those provisions restored the straight 34-hour restart, which allows drivers who go off duty Friday or early Saturday to be back on the road Sunday afternoon or evening.

The  inclusion of the two riders in the THUD bill was very welcomed by the American Trucking Associations

However, the THUD trucking riders are opposed by public safety advocates who argue against longer trucks, often with rail industry backing, and groups that want longer weekend rest periods and shorter work hours for truckers, as well as the White House.

The $55.3 billion bill could face a presidential veto, along with every other appropriations measure. The Senate must pass its own version, and then the two chambers must agree on final language before sending it on to the president for signature.

LA-Long Beach Port Extends Cap on Dockage Fees

The Long Beach Harbor Commission has extended a cap it had placed on dockage fees charged to shipping lines until June 30th, in order to give supply chain stakeholders some relief from the congestion issues, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The cap on dockage fees was put into effect last December as port congestion worsened during the coastwide contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The relief offered by the port was intended to run through March 31, but the commission on Monday voted to extend the cap an additional three months.

Dockage fees are a standard port charge listed in the tariffs of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The cap recognized that vessels that formerly had been unloaded and reloaded in 3 ½ to four days were taking as many as seven days to work because of port congestion. The harbor commission’s agenda item noted vessels continue to experience longer dockage periods as well as greater dwell times at anchor.

When the ILWU and PMA reached a tentative contract agreement on Feb. 20, executives at the Southern California ports predicted it would take three months for the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex to return to normal.  The proposed extension of dockage fees cap  would cover the time it would take for the port to address the backlog.  As of March 24th there were 19 container vessels awaiting berthing space at the port – a smaller number than the 24+ that were anchored offshore just a few weeks back.

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

USWC Port Congestion Surcharge Postponed

Several carriers have announced  that the previously announced Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) for Trans-Pacific shipments loading US West Coast ports has been postponed until further notice.

Transportation lawyers have  commented  that the PCS are “neither appropriate or lawful” as the surcharges need to be published and in effect via tariffs or contracts before cargo is received by carriers.   Assessing a surcharge on cargo already in the carriers possession would not be in compliance with current Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) guidelines, according to these attorneys.

RCL Agencies Inc. will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide further updates once available.


ILWU and PMA Talks Continue

As the Journal of Commerce reports, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) Waterfront employers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union did not reach a contract agreement by 5 p.m. yesterday.  In a joint statement yesterday, the ILWU and PMA assured that there will be no cargo-handling disruption and that negotiations for a new labor contract covering nearly 20,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports will continue .

Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and US economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coast-wide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast ports and avoid any disruption to the jobs and commerce they  support.

We will provide further information as it becomes available. Stay informed with the latest shipping news with RCL Agency’s updates.

EU-US Trade Deal Starts Fifth Round of Talks

EU and US negotiators are meeting for a fifth round of talks this Monday  in Washington in their efforts to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Representatives from the Economic Policy Department in the Finance ministry advised that according to financial estimates from the European Commission, this trade agreement would increase the EU’s GDP by 0.5%, amounting to around €86 billion, while the US GDP will also increase by 0.4%, amounting to €65 billion.

The TTIP will also have a positive impact on job creation within the EU, providing 1.3 million jobs.

The agreement had three aims:  to enhance market access to goods and services, to develop a framework for dealing with regulatory divergencies and to discover new modes of cooperation between the two parties.

The free trade deal is seen as key to the much-needed growth and jobs, and has been a subject of debate in Europe. Just days before the next round of talks were to start, the EU Commission on Tuesday held a rare meeting with stakeholders, live-streamed on the internet, to explain one of the more controversial issues involving protection of foreign investors.

The leak of an EU paper on “regulatory coherence” provoked nearly 200 organizations from both sides of the Atlantic to draft a protest on Monday to the top trade officials (Karel de Gucht in the EU and Michael Froman in the US) regarding concerns that  “TTIP will have a chilling effect on the development and implementation of laws to protect people and the environment”. Another  issue – set aside by the EU for the time being – involves protection for foreign investors.

Critics say the agreement would limit a government’s ability to protect its citizens and the environment through regulation, and German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned that inclusion of the so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision could cancel out German support of a negotiated deal.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and report further updates. Get up-to-date information from about global trade and international shipping from  RCL Agencies!

Trans-Pacific Market Rate Update

The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA)  has recommended a general rate increase (GRI) of US$400 per feu to come into force on November 15.

The carriers are very confident to implement full quantum GRI on November 15th due to:

  • High loading factors of 95-105% to USWC, and 90-95% to USEC.
  • Carriers have withdrawn around 10-15% of space on their sailings going to USWC, and 20-30% of space on their sailings going to USEC via AWS.
  • Chinese New Year in 2014 will come early, and will contribute to the volume of shipments starting on December.
  • Therefore, there would be tight space during Mid December till Mid January.

The carriers know that the next 2 weeks after the November 15th GRI will have less bookings, and they are willing to maintain the rates at this level because they expect another GRI/PSS either on December 15th or January 1st  as it will be a traditional rate increase pre-CNY. 

A day after announcing rate increases from Asia to the US, container lines are planning to hike the rates of key commodities shipping from the US to Asia: $100 per 40-foot container (FEU) via U.S. West Coast ports, $200 per FEU via East and Gulf Coast ports and $100 per FEU for intermodal shipments for six commodities: recovered fiber, scrap metal, plastic scrap and resin, lumber and logs, hay and agricultural products.

Members of the TSA include APL Ltd., K Line, China Shipping Container Lines, Maersk Line, CMA-CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Co., COSCO Container Lines, Ltd., Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Evergreen Line, OOCL, Hanjin Shipping Co., Yangming Marine Transport Corp., Hapag-Lloyd AG and Zim Integrated Shipping Services.

Stay informed with RCL updates on the latest news about global shipping and international trade.