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O Canada, what have you done to our back-up plan?

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


US importers fearing a West Coast port strike have seen their contingency plans start to unravel.

According to the Journal of Commerce, although contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association continue, some importers have attempted to divert cargo to Canadian ports to avoid delays during peak season in case of labor disruptions.  Unfortunately, the Port of Vancouver has become overwhelmed by the increased volume, and in response, large carriers such as Hapag-Lloyd have announced that the cargo will now be discharged in US West Coast ports after all.

The full JOC article can be found here (site registration required).


LA/LB Trade Forum on Broker Compliance Processes

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

On August 27, US Customs’ Field Office at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport will host a free trade forum on Entry and Broker Compliance procedures at the seaport covering:

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

Port of LB cranes © 2009 Regular Daddy

  • Broker Licensing
  • Role of the Broker (responsible supervision)
  • Broker Visits
  • Best Practices for Cancellation Requests, TIBs, Resolution Requests

Details are in the attached bulletin.

LA14-017 Trade Forum on Entry and Broker Compliance Processes for the LALB Seaport

Shipping to NY/NJ Seaport? This webinar is for you

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
© Port Authority of NY & NJ

© Port Authority of NY & NJ

To address the myriad of problems plaguing the New York-New Jersey Seaport Complex, the Port Authority of NY and NJ commissioned a task force of nearly 50 shippers, carriers, terminal operators, trucking companies, logistics services providers, and associations to drive recommendations that would make the port run more efficiently.  The task force has recently issued a lengthy report with nearly two dozen suggestions.

American Shipper will moderate a discussion — via webinar — with key panelists to discuss the report’s findings.  The webinar, which will be broadcast live on July 22, is free and open to the public.  Register here.

West Coast cargo will “keep moving”

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Although their  labor contract expired yesterday, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union has agreed to continue negotiating with the Pacific Maritime Association, averting a West Coast port strike for the time being.  See the parties’ joint press release for more information.

Nevertheless, in case there is a trade disruption, CBP is prepared with a contingency plan covering the following scenarios:

  • Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port and Discharged
  • Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port and Not Discharged
  • Vessel Diverted to Another West Coast Port and Discharged
  • Vessel Diverted to Another West Coast Port and Not Discharged
  • Vessel Diverted from Intended West Coast Port to Gulf or East Coast for Discharge
  • Vessel Rests at Anchor and Not Diverted

See CSMS 14-000393 for details.



Troubles arise in Panama Canal expansion

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014



As US ports continue to invest millions in major renovations to accommodate new so-called “Post-Panamax ships,” the project that has spawned the advent of these four-football-fields-long vessels — the Panama Canal expansion — has hit troubled waters.  Major cost overruns, work stoppages, financial disputes and international arbitration have cast a “cloud of uncertainty” over the project.

Listen to a recent story on National Public Radio that provides an overview of the situation which, regardless of the outcome, will have major impacts on global trade.

New in-bond guidelines from CBP’s LA field office

Friday, May 30th, 2014
LAX © 2007 monkeytime

LAX © 2007 monkeytime


Today, the Los Angeles Field Office of US Customs issued updated guidelines for in-bond shipments “to ensure uniform enforcement of in-bond regulations by [CBP] and to improve control over the movement of in-bond merchandise.”  See the bulletin here:  CBP LA In-Bond Guidance

Importers, if you are looking for an alternative to filing paper 7512 forms, consider self-filing your in-bond entries electronically with CustomsNow.   Do away with your manual process and gain efficiencies, saving valuable time.  Contact us today for a demo!

ACE Cargo Release pilot to include truck shipments

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

tractor-trailer-convoyUS Customs has announced the expansion of the ongoing ACE Cargo Release pilot program (Simplified Entry test) to include cargo transported by truck.

Applicants who wish to participate are limited to self-filing importers who use an ACE-certified, CBP-approved ABI system to file entries (or intend to do so), or importers using a customs broker who has capabilities to file entry summaries in ACE.  Applicants must have a filer code, and must intend to submit data only for entries filed at ports approved for the pilot.

The expansion of the pilot to the truck mode of transportation will provide for automated corrections and cancellations as well as entry for a full manifest bill quantity.  However, this phase of the test will not include split shipments, partial shipment, in-bond shipments and entries requiring PGA information.  In addition, the test is limited to filing type 01 and 11 entries only.

For more details, see the official Federal Register announcement.

“Horrible” conditions at NY/NJ seaport

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

trafficContainer terminals at the New York – New Jersey seaport complex are suffering the wrath of drayage company owners who claim conditions are “horrible” and “broken” and adversely affecting their businesses.  One of the major underlying causes appears to be the terminals’ limited truck gate hours, causing mile-long truck backups at the gates.  Additional factors include slow turn times due to ILA labor shortages and severe winter weather.

Although a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey task force promises to issue a report in June recommending improvements, it may be too late for the transport companies, whose customers are threatening to divert shipment to other East Coast ports.  See the full story in the Journal of Commerce (site registration required).

Tax law changes hit maquiladora industry

Friday, January 24th, 2014

mexico-flagOn January 1, 2014, a series of tax reform measures took effect in Mexico that have widespread impact on the country’s maquiladora operations along the US border, which account for 85% of Mexico’s manufacturing exports.

As reported in CGMA Magazine, among the changes are:

  • Tightening the definition what constitutes a “maquiladora”
  • Eliminating the maquiladoras’ exemption from VAT on imported materials and replacing it with a tax credit
  • Increasing the VAT in Mexico’s border states from 11% to 16%, in line with the rest of the country

After outcry from the maquiladora industry, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto issued a decree that addressed some of these concerns, including:

  • Imposing a two-year period that permits foreign owners to meet the criteria of the new definition of “maquiladora”
  • Allowing maquiladoras to claim the VAT credit in the month the VAT is paid (rather than the following month)

However,  in his decree, Peña Nieto also abolished income tax exemptions for maquiladoras, so their tax rate will increase from 17.5% to the standard 30% Mexican tax rate.



Attend next week’s Annual State of the LA/LB Port & CBP Update

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

owit_oc_logo_smOn January 9, Women in Trade – Orange County is hosting the Annual State of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport event with a panel of the following speakers from US Customs LA/LB officials:

  • Todd Owen – Director, Field Operations
  • Carlos Martel – Port Director LA/LB Seaport
  • Elva Muneton – Assistant Port Director, Trade

Also participating in the roundtable will be:

  • Dan Solis, Director of LA District of Import Operations, FDA
  • Hank Tapy, Director, Western Region, Office of Import Surveillance & Inspection, CPSC

Discussion topics will include:

  • Headlines of 2013 — Year in Review
  • Current Updates for Trade Compliance
  • Forecast of Trade Issues, Challenges & Priorities for 2014
  • Expected Operational Changes at National and Port Locations
  • Risk Assessment Methodologies
  • New CPCS and FDA Regulations and Standards
  • Import/Export Exams, Investigations and Inspections
  • Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEE)

Register for this event to be held in Newport Beach.