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NY/NJ ports reopen after shutdowns; retailers still worried

Monday, February 1st, 2016

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From Retail Dive:

Dive Brief:

  • Cargo was stranded for nine hours Friday as some 1,000 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association staged an unscheduled work stoppage.
  • The port workers are reportedly frustrated with some actions of the The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a New York/New Jersey agency established in 1953 to fight corruption and crime at the ports. The Waterfront Commission has been under fire for some time for what critics see as meddling in the shipping industry. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last year vetoed a bill to abolish the commission but admitted a need for reform. Efforts in that state to dissolve the commission and transfer operations to the state police are ongoing.
  • The Port of New York & New Jersey is the busiest port on the East Coast, with more than three million containers coming through annually and bringing in imports worth more than $200 billion. The stoppage last week was ultimately declared illegal by an arbitrator.

Dive Insight:

  • Friday’s port work stoppage came after a winter storm also shut down operations there for two days, and one retail group warned that such actions could be devastating for retailers, which are already battling inventory problems.
  • “This is déjà vu for retailers, and an unwelcome start to 2016. A shutdown on the East Coast of any meaningful duration will have dire consequences for those dependent on spring inventory deliveries,” Kelly Kolb, VP of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in an emailed statement to Retail Dive. ”A long-lasting strike would ultimately impact thousands of jobs along America’s supply chain.”

Cargo pre-inspection to expedite US, Mexico customs clearance

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

mexUSflagsAccording to the January 2016 edition of American Shipper*, the United States and Mexico have taken considerable steps towards an integrated border management system between the two countries that offers pre-inspection of cargo before it crosses the border.

  • Clearing cargo in advance relieves pressure on ports of entry that are often congested during peak traffic periods
  • Expediting the flow of cargo creates more efficiency for businesses  and provides incentives for them to increase their level of international trade
  • In October 2015, the US Department of Homeland Security and Mexican official signed a memorandum of understanding that allows customs officers from both countries “to work side-by-side for the first time enforcing their respective trade and security regulations on each other’s soil.”
  • Three pilot programs:
    1. Laredo, Texas airport — Mexican customs officers are physically located here and pre-screen air cargo shipments by looking at advance shipment information and the manifest.  Suspicious cargo can be pulled for inspection prior to loading.
    2. Otay Mesa crossing (San Diego and Tijuana) — Launching in early 2016, CBP officers and agricultural specialists will be stationed in the Mexican compound to inspect agricultural products moving on truck to the US.
    3. Santa Theresa, NM/Juarez checkpoint — Planning in place for joint inspections of shipments originating from, and arriving at, giant maquiladora assembly plant operated by Foxconn for Dell and other major electronics retailers.
(*Site registration required)

 

February 28: File in ACE or your cargo release will be delayed!

Monday, January 18th, 2016

As many in the trade are aware, as of February 28, 2016, US Customs’s legacy ACS system will no longer be available for filing of any electronic entries and associated summaries.  Filers may only file in ACE; those who are not prepared to file in ACE must file paper entries and entry summaries.

After February 28, the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex and outlying ports “will give priority to processing all electronic entries and entry summaries.  Filers who submit paper entries will face delays in cargo processing, impacting the release of their shipments.”  Details are here.  LA&LB Ports – Mandatory Use of ACE for ALL Electronic Entry and Entry Summary Filing

Other ports of entry will likely follow suit.  Make sure your (or your broker’s) ABI system is fully ACE-compliant!

CBP to host fines, penalties and forfeiture trade forum for importers at LA/LB port

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

US Customs and Border Protection logo

 

On September 16, 2015, US Customs’ Los Angeles Field Operations Unit will host a trade forum for the importing community on fines, penalties and forfeitures processes and procedures at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex.  Reservations are first come, first served.  Details are here:  CBP LA Trade Forum on Fines, Penalties & Forfeitures (FP&F) Processes and Procedures.

 

ACE: Successful PGA Pilot for entries involving FDA and NHTSA

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

seal_acePer US Customs’ CSMS #15-000623:

Last week, [CBP] initiated the first Phase (I) of the PGA Pilots.  [FDA] and [NHTSA] entry data transactions were successfully transmitted, accepted and processed in [ACE].  The second Phase (II) of the PGA Pilots is scheduled to begin on September 2, 2015, with an expansion to additional ports.

In advance of the November 1, 2015 ACE mandatory filing date, CBP has also published a comprehensive overview of the schedule of PGAs and ports participating in the PGA Pilot.

Importers seem to like CEE program

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

cee mapIn our experience, CustomsNow™  has seen importers who are participating in CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) program have quite a positive experience. Primarily, the program provides these importers with the opportunity to educate the CEE staff regarding their businesses, reducing the need for separate and often duplicate port requests, slowing cargo.  Moreover, the CEE staff has been doing a remarkable job advocating on the importers’ behalf in certain situations.  For example, the issuance of CF28s are no longer duplicated at the port level.  In addition, the CEEs can assist with the reduction of redundant cargo exams at the port of entry.

The CEEs seem to be living up to their goal that “[t]he Centers were established to increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and further strengthen critical agency knowledge on key industry practices.”

The only slight downside, according to some importers, is that the volume of requests for electronic invoices (AIIs) at the entry summary level tends to increase, at least initially.  It appears that the Centers works hard to learn the nuances of the importers business transactions, then, over time the AII requests lessen, leaving the CEE in a good position to provide that tailored support.  So a little extra time invested by the importer up front can significantly payoff down the road.

Update on Port of LA’s paper workaround for paperless ACE air manifest cargo releases

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

seal_aceRecently, we discussed glitches in ACE that prevented carriers from seeing release messages for air cargo, even though the filers receive paperless releases in ACE.  To address the issue, the Port of Los Angeles announced a paper-based workaround, which was extended through July 31, 2015.

While the overall air manifest environment is improving in performance, technical issues remain.  Therefore, the Port of LA has extended the paper workaround until further notice, and has provided additional guidance for the trade.

For details, see Acting LAX Port Director Donald R. Kusser’s memo:   Notice to the Trade – July 29, 2015 Update

 

Truck turn time, rates soar at LA/LB

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Traffic jam

 

Shippers using the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex have been hit with increased delays in truck turn times, and ironically are paying more for diminished service levels.

According to the Journal of Commerce, the average turn times at the port complex’s 13 container terminals have increased by 50% in the last year — from about an hour to 90 minutes — which is attributed to the past year’s chassis shortages, intermodal rail service problems, increase in drayage rates and ILWU’s past job actions which were part of the now-settled West Coast port labor slowdown.

The twin ports have formed stakeholder groups to address the issues that are causing increased turn times.  However, as vessels calling in the ports get larger, the congestion persists.   And now the trucking industry is able charge shippers for excess truck waiting times — the “new normal.”   (*JOC site registration required)

CBP to test tweaks of Remote Location Filing (RLF) program

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

In yesterday’s Federal Register, US Customs announced an upcoming National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) test of the Remote Location Filing (RLF) program.  Under the RLF program, self-filing importers, and customs brokers with a national permit and RLF approval, may file entries electronically from a remote location other than the port where the cargo is being entered.

The NCAP test, which is in furtherance of CBP’s Trade Transformation modernization initiatives, especially ACE, is slated to go live on August 12, 2015 through an unspecified end date.  Key highlights of the test are:

It is important to note that only ACE entries that are certified for ACE cargo release from summary may be submitted under the test.

US Customs invites the public to submit comments on any aspect of the test through the duration of the test.

© Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

© Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

 

 

West Coast ports container volume sags despite settlement of labor dispute

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

 

 

In the lingering aftermath of the West Coast ports labor dispute, importers and exporters continue to divert cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast ports, driving down container volume in the west by 2% year-over-year.  Although West Coast port congestion has dissipated, the East and Gulf ports continue to grow in container volume, in double or high single digits.  See full post in the Journal of Commerce. (*JOC site registration required)