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CBP U.S. Bond Changes continue to be confusing: combat the problem by being pro-active and attending local events

By Debbie Dent
Director, Program Services
Border Connect, Inc.

 

The Detroit Field Office will host another Annual Carrier Meeting from 1 – 3 pm on June 6, 2019 at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Offices, 300 River Place Drive, Suite 5900, Detroit, MI, 48207. How to register and finalizing the agenda is currently under way by CBP and industry trade partners.

Eighth Annual Trade Day at Cobo Center in Downtown Detroit will be held Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  This event provides trade with an opportunity to interact with CBP personnel, Detroit Field Office trade staff, Canadian Government Officials and a multitude of representatives from Partner Government Agencies (PGA). In addition, formal presentations shall be given continuously throughout the day providing information on current programs and policies relating to import and export of merchandise.

Registration for this free event shall be open until July 26, 2019 and can be completed online at https://teregistration.cbp.gov/index.asp?w=144.

To register after that date please e-mail the Trade Team at . The same e-mail can be used if you have questions related to this event.

U.S. Bond Changes continue to be confusing

Changes made related to the handling of U.S. bonded merchandise continues to be confusing to the trade community, especially carriers.  Carriers are expected to electronically report the arrival and location of the in-bond merchandise within 48 hours of arrival at the port of destination or port of exportation. Although this change is still under soft enforcement some carriers when arriving at the port of destination or export find themselves being turned away from CBP indicating the paper presentation cannot be used to close or arrive the bond.  The driver then proceeds to delivery leaving the carrier in a vulnerable position. Many carriers are not currently prepared to communicate this information electronically.  Calls to customs brokers or freight forwarders or the booking agent to the load result in additional confusion.  As a result, higher than normal issuance of penalties are occurring.

If you are interested in learning more information related to this topic or interested in a solution that will allow you to arrive/ export and complete status queries directly with CBP please contact

Several events are being planned related to these U.S. bond changes and will be announced soon.  Check events page listing of www.BorderConnect.com

Hope to meet some of you at these events this year!

The only thing consistent in the world of international business is change!

Debbie Dent can be reached at 1-800-596-5176 or by e-mail

Electronic Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods (e-DGD)

By Pieter G. Wildschut
DGM

The Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods (DGD) is a crucial document that accompanies a shipment of dangerous goods through every step of the transportation process. It’s one of the main responsibilities of a shipper who offers dangerous goods for transport. Although for decades the DGD has been produced in paper format, nowadays both the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations foresee the possibility of using electronic data processing (EDP) and electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission techniques, which are completely valid alternatives to paper documentation. Thus, the Electronic Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods (eDGD) has become a reality.

The eDGD project started in 2016. The proof of concept stage ended two years later, and now the eDGD is ready to be implemented by all stakeholders in the transport chain. It is a process that involves shippers, forwarders, and operators. The shipper is still the agent that prepares the DGD, but in this case a digital interface is used on any kind of electronic device, that is able to send this data to the forwarder. The forwarder will assign this shipment to an airline, adding an air waybill number; later, this operator will be able to perform an acceptance check, using only the received electronic data, without the need for paper documents.

The test period has proved that the electronic DGD provides a series of benefits to the agents that have been working with it. The replacement of all papers documents with an electronic flow of data has increased the efficiency of the process, reflecting positively on its transparency as well. Using a standard format in an appropriate platform, where the data is created once and then shared through the whole transport chain, has resulted in faster processes. Pursuing better data quality should be an objective of every agent, sustained in a better traceability and extensive quality checks, which are performed more efficiently. The reduction of paper consumption will bring additional advantages in savings and environmental improvements. And last but not least: safety in the air transport of dangerous goods will be served better, when chances for mistakes are ruled out.

Together with other software applications, the electronic transmission of data can become even more convenient. For example, there is an evident synergy with applications that allow for an easy validation of the information provided in a document, or with those that contain a database that cross-references the information introduced with the regulations (such as DGM’s very own software DGOffice). This way, agents will be able to reduce human mistakes to a minimum.

However, there are still barriers to the eDGD, such as the inevitable resistance to change plus the necessary investment in order to implement new ways to work and new technologies, or legal barriers in countries that have not authorized the use of electronic data transmission for dangerous goods transport documents. Organizations such as ICAO (UN body) and IATA (association of airlines), are advocating around the globe to adopt the provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions into their national legislations, in order to permit the use of electronic data instead of paper versions of the DGD.

DGM, having 66 locations in 35 countries all over the world, is ready to implement the use of the electronic DGD in freight of dangerous goods. The company contributed to the testing of the e-DGD with its software product DGOffice which is one of the approved platforms to use for the e-DGD.

Author Pieter G. Wildschut, based in the DGM’s global headquarters at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Surprise or Shock? Managing Trade in a World of Change

By Paul Vandevert, Principal,
OCHIM Trade Law PLC.

We all know the axiom “Things change; they never stay the same.”  But, as we go about our daily lives, we seem to forget it or even wish it not to be true.  That can be a problem for importers and their service providers, particularly in a time when many aspects of trade are changing, such as dramatically increased tariffs on many goods, some of which had been duty free for years.  In order for importers to stay compliant and/or not miss a duty savings opportunity, it’s critical for Customs brokers and trade services providers to check in with their importer clients and do a thorough review of what they’re importing today. 

Here’s a checklist of topics to cover:

What is your client importing now?  While it may seem that a client’s business is the same as it has been for the past 17 years, advances in technology and changing market conditions have caused profound shifts in what many companies are importing.  For example, a supplier in the automotive industry made parts that historically were entirely mechanical.  Imported inputs were generally metal castings or parts.  Today, however, while the end product from this supplier still has the same name, what was mechanical is now electronic.  Where the supplier used to import metal products, now most imports are electrical, such as circuit boards and switches.  Meet with your importer client in person and look at physical samples of what they’re importing today.  There could be a few surprises!

How has the supply chain and manufacturing process evolved?  Globalization has made the manufacturing process both more complex and geographically dispersed.  Manufacturers used to make a finished product in one place with all of the inputs acquired and collected at that one location.  Today, however, final assembly entails both individual parts and subassemblies or complex components produced at foreign intermediate locations before reaching the final assembly site.  A key component may still be sourced from China, but now is shipped to Mexico where it’s incorporated into a subassembly with other parts before being shipped to the United States.  The subassembly from Mexico is likely, although not certainly, to have a different country of origin and different tariff classification than the key component from China.  Filing an entry based on what the importer used to do which may not be anything like what the import is today is not the kind of surprise either importer or service provider wants to experience!

In today’s world, communication between the importer and service provider is key, but the conversation may have to be initiated by the service provider.  Most importers are not going to keep up to date on changes to the tariff schedule.  Many importers will not realize the significance of changing what they import, especially if they believe they’ve stayed in the same general line of business.  Keeping current in the world of trade will let importer and service provider alike enjoy the wonder of change and avoid the shock.

Paul Vandevert founded OCHIM Trade Law in 2018, after serving for more than 23 years as in-house trade counsel at Ford and GM.  OCHIM Trade Law’s mission is to apply Paul’s 30+ years of knowledge and experience in all aspects of international trade and Customs law to deliver practical, strategic solutions to importing and exporting firms of all sizes. He can be reached at 313-737-3675 or 

Be Prepared! Customs Maintenance

By Paul Vandevert, Principal, 
OCHIM Trade Law PLC.

Many years ago, shortly after I moved with my wife to Michigan and bought our first house, we woke up on New Year’s Day to nearly two feet of snow on the ground.  Just the year before, as part of the new homeowner experience, we had bought a snowblower.  As I bundled up and headed to the garage, I felt so proud of myself.  I was ready for this!  In 20 minutes, a half-hour tops, the driveway and the sidewalk would be cleared, and I’d be back in the house enjoying a cup of coffee.  That 20 minutes later and more, I was standing knee-deep in snow, loudly cursing the snowblower, which wouldn’t give me even a grumble no matter how hard I yanked the starter rope.  Reading from the owner’s manual, my wife admonished me that we should have emptied the gas tank at the end of winter last year and filled it with fresh gas at the beginning of winter this year.  That’s when I really learned that everything we use and often rely upon needs periodic upkeep and refreshing, whether it’s your car, teeth or snow blower.

Import and export operations are no different.  Things are always changing; they never remain the same.  The change can be incredibly minor such as the elimination or addition of statistical level tariff headings or really big, like the country of origin or the product itself.  The obligation to keep trade activities current falls equally on the business engaged in importing or exporting and their service providers — Customs brokers and freight forwarders, who very often are that business’s Customs or Export “department.”  The consequences of sticking with the status quo could mean waking up to a trade “blizzard” where duty costs are suddenly more than 10 times what they were just yesterday and in the panic and shock, no one seems to know what, if anything, can be done.

Focusing on imports, how sure are you that the HTS code being applied is the correct one for the goods actually being imported?  Is the country of origin being declared in the entry really the country of origin of the imports?  Has the importer changed its product so that the inputs aren’t the same ones they were importing a few years ago?  In just the past year, I have encountered examples of all of these scenarios. 

One importer was classifying an automotive sub-assembly from Mexico based on the tariff classification and country of origin of the motor from China that was just one component of the entire assembly.  This was because the importer talked about the assembly as a motor, and no one had looked at a drawing or a sample of the full sub-assembly in its condition at the time of importation.

Recently, another business that produces a major component for automotive powertrains completely redesigned and reengineered the primary product, changing it from a mechanical part to an electrical one.  While the imported inputs still have some mechanical functions and the end result in the vehicle is the same, the essential character of the parts is different.  That meant a different HTS code should have been applied.

These situations came to light because the importers were struck with the trade equivalent of two feet of snow in the driveway when U.S. tariffs were jacked up to 10% and 25% on steel, aluminum and a host of goods, particularly intermediate materials, from China.  And, while in the examples above, there was good news, it’s imperative to understand all information declared to Customs must be complete, accurate and fully supported by the facts and law.  Importers, exporters and their supporting service providers must be wary of suggested tactics that sound too good to be true, because they probably are.  But, unless the entire trade team gets together to conduct a thorough review of your trade operations, your trade compliance and cost-effectiveness remain at risk.

Paul Vandevert founded OCHIM Trade Law in 2018, after serving for more than 23 years as in-house trade counsel at Ford and GM.  OCHIM Trade Law’s mission is to apply Paul’s 30+ years of knowledge and experience in all aspects of international trade and Customs law to deliver practical, strategic solutions to importing and exporting firms of all sizes. He can be reached at 313-737-3675 or 

DANGEROUS GOODS CORNER – Communication is a Primary Concern

By Sonia Irusta
Bureau of Dangerous Goods, Ltd.

On previous occasions through the Quick Caller Newsletter we have written on the importance of preparing packages and filling out the shipping papers – declaration. However, hazmat employees must do more than just these two steps to properly communicate the contents and dangers of a hazmat package. In this article, we will focus on another crucial aspect of the identification of packages containing hazardous materials: marks and labels.

What are Marks and Labels?

“Marks and labels” refer to a set of specific requirements designed to visually communicate the hazardous nature of a package’s contents. That way, anyone involved in the shipping process will know, on sight alone, not to treat them as they would with any conventional package. Their function is similar to shipping papers in that they provide details on the materials being shipped. However, unlike shipping papers, they are displayed directly onto the package itself.

Marks and labels must be on the outside of the package naturally and in a specific location. They must be visible, which may require a background of contrasting color, or a solid or dotted line serving as an outer boundary. They must also be durable, weather-resistant, and easily legible. Their size, color, and design must comply with specifications found in 49 CFR, IATA, and IMDG regulations. Shippers are responsible for applying the correct marks and labels and verifying that they meet all these requirements.

Different Types of Marks and Labels

There are several different kinds of marks and labels used for the identification of hazardous materials within packages. Some or all may be required depending on the material being transported. It is up to the shipper to know which ones need to be used and to verify that the pertinent marks and labels have been applied.

For starters, packages must display the correct UN specification marks when applicable. This shows that the packaging itself has been approved by the United Nations and meets the standards of the UN Model Regulations. The packaging manufacturer usually applies these after successful testing. However, shippers must still make sure they are correct and compliant with regulations regarding size, location, and specification.

Package use marks convey information for identifying the material itself. There are four basic kinds:

  • The material’s proper shipping name
  • The material’s UN/ID number
  • The full name and address of the shipper
  • The full name and address of the consignee

Hazard labels display the hazard class or division number to which the material belongs. A package must include the primary hazard label and, when required, subsidiary hazard labels.

Handling labels are not required for all dangerous goods, and shippers must know when to use them. While all hazmat packages must be handled more carefully than others, some require more specific treatment. These labels give further safety precautions per the regulations.

Receive Training in Identifying Hazmat Packages

Remember that as with any other part of the shipping process, the ultimate purpose for marking and labeling is to prevent a hazardous materials incident. Hazmat employees and shippers have a duty to follow the relevant regulations and maintain a safe environment for anyone involved in the shipping process. Marks and labels may seem like simple visuals. However, by virtue of that simplicity and presentation, they strongly and quickly communicate the most important details of hazmat packages. They cannot be neglected.

Of course, the task of applying and verifying marks and labels should only be left to trained hazmat employees.

Sonia Irusta is a highly accomplished business and technical professional instrumental in domestic and international transportation solutions for shippers, freight forwarders and carriers. She can be reached at Bureau of Dangerous Goods (609) 860.0300 Ext. 327 or via E-mail 

When Things Go Wrong: Lessons Learned About Aviation and Hazardous Materials

By Sonia Irusta
Bureau of Dangerous Goods, Ltd.

Hazardous materials pose a serious risk if regulations are not followed. Sadly, this danger is not abstract: hazardous materials incidents have resulted in extensive damage and even death. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reinforced this harsh reality with updates to a timeline of such incidents on its website, simply and starkly titled “When Things Go Wrong.” Here is some information on the events described in this timeline and the role that hazmat employees have in preventing similar tragedies.

“When Things Go Wrong” details 18 points in the past half-century when aviation accidents occurred while hazardous materials were onboard an aircraft. The report describes each incident in some detail, including the warning signs, the probable cause, and the results. All of them are unique – different airlines, locations, materials involved, and outcomes. In some cases, planes were safely evacuated. In others, the passengers and crew were not so fortunate. The common denominator in each is the presence of hazardous materials.

The earliest incident described in the timeline occurred in 1973 when three people perished in a Pan Am plane in Boston after improperly packaged acid leaked and caused a chemical reaction. The last entry, a massive fuel spill inside a Boeing aircraft, occurred in 2017. This recent incident, and the five others that have occurred since 2011, demonstrate that incidents involving hazardous materials are not a bygone danger from a less enlightened past. They can happen even today.

One of the more notable aviation accidents happened on May 11, 1996. ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 crashed in the Florida Everglades a few minutes after taking off from Miami. All 105 people onboard were killed. The National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the accident was a fire in the plane’s cargo compartment that was started by one or more oxygen generators improperly stored as cargo.

According to the NTSB, another contributing factor was ValuJet’s failure to ensure that both ValuJet and contract maintenance facility employees were aware of the carrier’s “no-carry” hazardous materials policy and had received appropriate hazardous materials training.

The events leading up to each of these disasters were caused, or at least exacerbated, by the violation of hazmat regulations. Some, such as the infamous Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and 2010’s UPS Flight 6, were destroyed as a result of chemical reactions involving lithium batteries. Others, such as 1999’s Uni Airlines Flight 873, happened because improperly packaged flammable liquids leaked and ignited. While each incident in the timeline is unique, each presented an opportunity to learn.

You’ll find incriminating terms scattered throughout the Probable Causes sections in each entry, such as “undeclared hazardous materials”, “improperly prepared container”, “failure to properly identify and package”, and more. These attributions highlight the critical role that hazmat employees (as well as passengers) have in the prevention of these accidents. Complying with hazmat regulations is not about following orders for the sake of following orders. It is about ensuring that people stay safe during the handling and shipping of the most dangerous materials.

Sonia Irusta is a highly accomplished business and technical professional instrumental in domestic and international transportation solutions for shippers, freight forwarders and carriers. She can be reached at Bureau of Dangerous Goods (609) 860.0300 Ext. 327 or via E-mail 

Security Criteria focus of new CTPAT regulations, affecting Cargo on multiple fronts

By Debbie Dent
Director, Program Services
Border Connect, Inc.

 

Where has the year gone? As we prepare to end this calendar year, we can be assured that 2019 will bring continued change, challenges, opportunity and job security for those who are not faint of heart.

CTPAT Update

New Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) is proposed for all 12 different business entities who meet and maintain eligibility within an international supply chain. Whether you are the importer, exporter, customs broker, consolidator or highway/sea/rail/air carrier, new requirements are coming.

The Working Group has categorized the new criteria into three main focus areas: Corporate Security; People and Physical Security; and Transportation Security. Within these three, there are 12 criteria categories that apply for each entity group.

New criteria related to cybersecurity, protecting your supply chain from agricultural contaminants, use of security technology and preventing trade based on money laundering and terrorist financing will add new security elements to the existing program management.

People and physical security will continue to focus on securing facilities, screening and training personnel. The education of employees is a key component and commonly found to be assumed to be understood when handling international cargo. As a result new updates aim to increase accountability, implementing a system of checks and balances to ensure that supply chain best practices are in fact in place and just not assumed to be in place. Security updates will be added or expanded upon and company personnel need to receive the latest and most current information related to your security plan. Sifting through what is fact or fiction and forecasting change and the potential impact of those changes is a full-time job all by itself!

The good news for the trade community is that these changes are not immediate and still subject to revision based on outreach that took place over the past few months. If you have not done so already take some time to review information updated in Document Exchange of your CTPAT portal & commit now to enhancing your current security practices or procedures.

January’s article will provide some insight on the new topic of agriculture contaminants and why government is moving in the direction they are and the impact this will have on the movement of all types of cargo — not just agriculture-related commodities.

In closing of this final article for 2018, I would like to wish family and friends a safe, happy and enjoyable holiday season and continued success in 2019!

“Thank you to Tom Buysse and all the folks involved with the Quick Caller” for the opportunity to be part of this monthly publication!

Debbie Dent can be reached at 1-800-596-5176 or by e-mail

Be pro-active and you won’t be caught off guard at the Border

By Debbie Dent
Director, Program Services
Border Connect, Inc.

 

Upcoming Detroit area events (not to be missed):
Dean & Fulkerson’s Annual Detroit Area Trucking Seminar is a don’t miss event

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018

Time: 8:30am – noon

Where: Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport, 8000 Merriman Road, Romulus

More information will be provided in November’s newsletter

Join Automotive Industry Action Group and an incredible group of speakers, exhibitors, and attendees at the 2018 AIAG Customs Town Hall!

This annual gathering of exporters, importers and customs service providers will take place Nov. 8, 2018 at Laurel Manor Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia, Michigan.

Sessions will address a range of topics, including Customs & Border Protection (CBP) priorities, forced labor (CAATSA), anti-dumping, global vehicle forecasting, cybersecurity, key regional customs updates and trends, CTPAT program changes and more.

Registration for Non-members starts at $250 with a late fee of $300 after Friday, Oct. 26. For more info, check out https://www.aiag.org/store/events/details?EventCode=E18CUSTOM

CTPAT Update

As anyone knows who attended the recently held CTPAT Convention in Orlando or has taken the time to attend various Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) workshops being hosted by CBP offices, change is coming! Every category from importer to carrier to third party service providers will be impacted by these proposed changes.  The due date for providing information related to the proposed change is Oct. 28, 2018. Every current CTPAT member has the opportunity to review in Public Library your specific MSC Workbook (a power point presentation outlining proposed changes). These workbooks by discipline were uploaded on July 25, 2018.  We do recommend that the appropriate management staff of every CTPAT partner spend some time going through this information.

Changes coming include areas that will be covered by this local AIAG Customs Town Hall Event.

Hope to meet some of you at these events this year!

The only thing consistent in the world of international business is change!

Debbie Dent can be reached at 1-800-596-5176 or by e-mail

Update on Current Issues Impacting Transportation Intermediaries

By Carlos Rodriguez, Partner
Husch Blackwell LLP

The following is a short, to the point, summary of recent developments which impact transportation intermediaries, some of which can be implemented simply without much fanfare, and others which just bear careful monitoring.  The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently passed new regulations relating to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs), and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs) which require some simple implementation, but then little else. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has amended Hours of Service regulations which provide for strict usage of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), and a corresponding obligation for those intermediaries who select motor carriers for transport. Last but not least, we will briefly explore the question of where is the transport intermediary industry headed in the evolving e-commerce revolution?

  1. Implementation of New FMC NRA/NSA Regulations. The first FMC technical requirement for implementing NRAs and NSAs is that there exists a provision in the NVOCC’s Rules Tariff that indicates that the NVOCC will use NRAs/NSAs exclusively or in tandem with published rates. On the NRA side, the only formulaic requirement is that the following exact statement (in “uppercase and bold font”) be included in the collection of communications (usually e-mails) that result in NRAs: “THE SHIPPER’S BOOKING OF CARGO AFTER RECEIVING THE TERMS OF THIS NRA OR NRA AMENDMENT CONSTITUTES ACCEPTANCE OF THE RATES AND TERMS OF THIS NRA OR NRA AMENDMENT.” This is somewhat a regulatory overreach, but this statement on the e-mails and/or other documents which result in the final NRA is easy enough to provide. As a precautionary measure, we generally counsel that this statement be included in all e-mails under the signature block of e-mails by NVOCC staff that negotiates NRAs. Therefore, NRAs do not require a signature or actual assent in any manner of the NRA quotation other than the booking of cargo. Additionally, neither NSAs nor NRAs require filing with the FMC or publishing in tariffs. A final requirement is that the NSA/NRA records be maintained for five years.
  2. The e-commerce impact on intermediaries — opportunities. We recently published an article on the fast growing e-commerce industry and the increased opportunities for transportation intermediaries evolving in that arena. We cited the U.S. Department of Commerce statistics that U.S. purchasers buy at the pace of $1.2 billion a day online; that this number has doubled in the last five years; and, that the e-commerce industry met levels in excess of $107 billion in holiday sales for online orders in 2017, making that year the first to reach the $100 billion mark. Transportation intermediaries are uniquely positioned to participate in this ongoing disruption of the traditional retail business, and have already become significantly involved in this paradigm shift away from just servicing the brick and mortar business model.

It is not coincidental or accidental that Amazon and other significant e-commerce companies are either directly or through subsidiaries acting as FMC licensed or registered Non-vessel operating common carriers. The successful e-commerce players have quickly determined that their revenue streams are not only concentrated on the electronic marketing of products in the U.S. and other consumer markets. They have swiftly focused on the other revenue streams commencing with the transport from Asian supplier locations to consolidation hub centers in Asia, usually in Hong Kong, or in the PRC. The Asian hub consolidation centers are significant revenue centers in and of themselves, and, of course, there is the transport stream from the consolidation hubs to the consumer markets in the U.S., Europe and other market centers. The most immediate area of interest to intermediaries in the U.S. or Europe is their participation in the fulfillment service process here in the U.S., Europe and other major consumer regions.  

The intermediary opportunities are quickly developing in the following areas:

  • The fulfillment service center areas. We have seen transport intermediaries immerse themselves in providing these unique services here in the U.S. and Europe. While there are different skill sets involved in the NVOCC delivery model than there is for e-commerce fulfillment centers, there is also plenty of overlap which creates natural efficiencies for transportation intermediaries. Groups of NVOCCs with strategic geographic warehouse locations are considering joint services to accomplish efficient national e-commerce delivery services. Third party IT companies are available to partner with these companies to achieve the high IT requirements necessary for last-mile deliveries, warehouse management, and customer transparency. This is an area of activity that is already happening.
  • The transport opportunities. The larger multi-national logistics firms may be better suited for the volume purchase of ocean and air transportation to offer e-commerce companies transportation efficiencies from supplier locations to consolidation hubs to marketplace delivery fulfillment centers. However, there are various large networks of existing smaller and mid-sized global NVOCCs which are already in planning stages which may bring these efficiencies into play in the not so distant future.
  • The hub consolidation functions. While these functions are best suited for larger multi-national logistics companies, we have seen a development of these functions by U.S. based warehouse/distribution companies with the objective of participating in this important niche overseas.
  1. Arranging Motor Carrier Transport—how will new Hours of Service (HOS) impact Property Brokers and Other Intermediaries? MAP 21 clarified the requirement for intermediaries to obtain a Property Broker permit for arranging motor carrier transportation from and to port areas involving ocean transport from origin or to destination inland points. These activities involve ocean and air freight forwarders, Customs brokers, NVOCCs, and other entities which act exclusively as Property Brokers. In any case, such intermediaries must become aware of the new HOS requirements. Intermediaries that employ motor carriers for surface transport in the U.S. must insure that these carriers are meeting the new HOS requirements. In an oversimplification of the new HOS rules, these require that certain technical/mechanical devices be employed to measure driver activity during a 14-hour period, which must not exceed 11 hours during that period, and that a 10-hour rest period precedes a work period. This is an area drawing immense enforcement focus. As a result, intermediaries arranging for motor carriage have to be alert in their vetting of truckers to insure that the motor carriers which they employ are meeting these requirements. Intermediaries, while not generally treated as carriers in court cases involving wrongful death and personal injury cases, do have agent duties and are responsible to act prudently (reasonably) in the selection of responsible motor carriers that meet the new HOS requirements.

Carlos Rodriguez is a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP in Washington, D.C. He concentrates his practice on international and domestic transportation law, admiralty, regulatory maritime law, international commercial transactional law, transportation litigation and export licensing and compliance matters. He is also involved with transport and security issues involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration. He is transportation counsel to the New York/ New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association. Mr. Rodriguez can be reached at (202) 378-2365 or via email at

Ports of Indiana wins top steel industry honor

The American Metal Market has named Ports of Indiana the Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year for 2018. The ninth annual Awards for Steel Excellence were recently announced at AMM’s Steel Awards Dinner, held in conjunction with the global Steel Success Strategies XXXIII Conference in New York.

“This is an extraordinary honor for our ports,” said Vanta E. Coda II, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “This award further defines our ports’ extensive experience with the steel industry, maritime operations, multimodal transportation and global supply chains. Indiana is the number one steel producer in the United States, and this award helps us illustrate what we can offer steel companies that are interested in building and growing their businesses.”

The Ports of Indiana operates three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan in the heart of the world’s largest steel producing region and generates $7 billion per year in economic activity while handling cargo for all 50 states and over 30 countries.

“The AMM awards are essentially the ‘Oscars’ for the steel industry and we are honored to be recognized as their top logistics and transportation provider in 2018,” said Jody Peacock, Senior Vice President for the Ports of Indiana. “More than half of the companies located at our three ports are related to the steel industry and our ports provide unmatched advantages for steel-related businesses that need multimodal access to international and domestic markets.”

Currently, the Ports of Indiana is completing $40 million in port expansions at its Burns Harbor and Jeffersonville facilities, and marketing a 500-acre mega site for steel developments at its Mount Vernon port. The organization is also considering building a new port on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg that could further expand its services to steel customers.   

“For those in the steel industry, Indiana’s ports offer not only a robust, unique and extensive transportation network that spans rail, interstate and global water access, but our ports also offer room for businesses to grow,” Coda said. “When our accomplishments are recognized in this way, it helps us demonstrate the value that our port sites offer steel companies. We have 1,000 acres of land available near major U.S markets and already manage high volumes of steel-related products on river barges, ocean vessels and Great Lakes carriers, with connections to almost all Class I railroads. This is a truly unique value proposition for the steel industry.”

The AMM is the premier trade publication for the global steel industry. The 2018 Awards for Steel Excellence recognize the highest achieving companies who embody best-in-class practices as measured by global standards. The 2018 award winners were selected from 53 finalists in 15 categories. For a complete list of winners, please visit www.AMM.com/2018AwardWinners.

“These awards recognize the best and the brightest firms throughout the steel industry supply chain,” said AMM Chief Executive Officer Raju Daswani. “This year’s awards saw an extraordinary number of high-quality nominations, creating a challenging selection process. Although each company is unique, they are united in their quest for excellence and innovation, and we, as an industry, benefit from their high standards of performance.” 

About the Ports of Indiana: The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority managing three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. Established in 1961, the Ports of Indiana is a self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy by developing and maintaining a world-class port system. Information: portsofindiana.com. Follow us on Twitter: @PortsofIndiana