Serving the Cargo Industry since 1972

"We have consistently used Quick Caller to help

identify vendors from around the country that otherwise

would have taken my employees much longer to find."

John Hamilton ~ Pinnacle International Freight, Inc.

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

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

“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: Follow us on Twitter: @PortsofIndiana

Weather Proof Transportation Infrastructure for Puerto Rico?

Next generation Elevated Rail Systems from the Interstate Traveler Company of Michigan will easily handle hurricanes and other violent weather that destroys traditional transportation and infrastructure systems. The best way to help Puerto Rico is to build something that will easily survive the next big storm.

Year by year, people all around the world going about their daily lives are horrifically affected by natural disasters. When it comes to public infrastructure, we have seen all too clearly in the last few years the relentless hammering of hurricane force winds, torrential rains, epic floods and storm surges instantly leaving millions of people without power, communications, water and even transportation, standing in witness to their homes and businesses all but completely destroyed.

Justin Sutton, Founder of the Interstate Traveler Company, wants you to know how the Hydrogen Super Highway can revolutionize both public transportation and public infrastructure, and about how it can revolutionize the local economy in Puerto Rico for the better.

The Interstate Traveler Company’s Hydrogen Super Highway (HSH) is designed to not just survive hurricanes, but continue service when all other systems would fail. Roadways and railways can be flooded, washed out and buried by landslides and tidal surges while naked power-lines and telephone lines are pummeled and broken by airborne debris  — taking days, weeks even months to get back online. All the subsystems of the HSH are safely enclosed inside the steel guideway system that supports the magnetic levitation rail system on top.

The HSH Elevated Rail System provides a fully enclosed and environmentally protected conduit cluster for the transport of vital utilities such as water, electricity, communications and other important commodities like Hydrogen, Oxygen and traditional fuels. Utilizing a unique rail-mounted maglev transportation system the HSH can be installed anywhere without a service road making it easy to build systems to perfectly integrate with existing highways, railways and surface streets. The HSH makes it easy to reach remote areas where roads do not exist or have been destroyed by natural disasters.

When earthquakes, storms and tidal waves deal harshly with our fragile cities, homes and coastal seaports, having a public rail network that will continue to run even in the most harsh conditions can help save lives and help regions quickly recover from disasters. It may be the greatest investment with immediate and very long term benefits for government and traditional investment alike.

“We live in a highly connected world today with water, sewer, electric, gas, telephone, cable networks and millions of miles of roads and railroads connecting hundreds of millions of people together providing vital services, and they are all at risk,” said Jim Jung, CEO of the Company. “Our HSH system is so far beyond ‘hi-tech’ proposals seen in the news recently. It takes a little time to contemplate this ‘system of systems’ to see how the HSH is a truly phenomenal design and business model.” Jung went on to explain how the HSH system’s first test bed has been approved for construction in the State of Indiana, is currently being presented to potential private investors and is working with local government officials on Federal grant applications.

In the last year, executives representing the company have personally visited the office of Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico and Member of the United States Congress, giving detailed briefings to office leadership. “It is our job to inform decision makers,” Sutton said. “Before any state or country can build the HSH rail system, they need to understand the benefits so they will see the HSH as the best choice.” Sutton also gave details on the broader reach of the United States Congress: “We have personally visited the offices of nearly all the Members of the House Transportation Committee on the Hill, and gave testimony for the record at the US Surface Transportation Board,” Sutton continued. “Everyone who needs to know has been given the information but we know that it takes more than a few minutes to contemplate the full reach of the HSH. It is both bigger and simpler than it looks.” He went on to explain how his company has invested more than 16 years of effort quietly providing proposals to government and business leaders all over the world. He is excited that they will soon build their first system so they can invite world leaders to America to experience the system in person.

Sutton asks that you please invest a few minutes to consider the immediate and long term benefits for the United States to invest in resilient public infrastructure. Please visit the company website for more information.


Looming Crisis in the Airline Industry: Airline Pilots & Aircraft Mechanics

By Ron Garriga
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

The following is an excerpt of a speech given by Ron Garriga, Director of Campus Training and Business Development for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University on Aug. 9, 2018 to the Greater Miami Aviation Association, about the looming shortage or Airline Pilots and Aircraft Mechanics that is impacting the aviation industry now.

“We read the headline news:

  • Airlines struggle with global pilot shortage    
  • Regional airlines hurt by worsening pilot shortage.
  • Pilot-hungry airlines are raiding flight schools
  • Aging Baby Boomers retirement causing Aircraft Mechanics Shortage

What is quickly becoming a critical shortage of aviation maintenance technicians has caught the attention of the US Senate. 

What I have learned is that there are numerous initiatives among big corporate players that are actively making efforts with strategic campaigns and partnerships to promote the aviation industry.

The 2018 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, projects that 790,000 new civil aviation pilots, 754,000 new maintenance technicians, and 890,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years. The forecast is inclusive of the commercial aviation, business aviation, and civil helicopter industries.

The demand will stem from a mix of fleet growth, retirements, and attrition. Meeting this extraordinary demand will require proactive planning and collaboration within the global aviation industry. As several hundred thousand pilots and technicians reach retirement age over the next decade, educational outreach and career pathway programs will be essential to inspiring and recruiting the next generation of personnel.  Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and other leading educational institutions are pleased to be a part of preparing this next generation for our industry.

The aviation industry will need to adopt innovative training solutions to enable optimum learning and knowledge retention. Immersive technologies, adaptive learning, schedule flexibility, and new teaching methods will be needed to effectively meet a wide range of learning styles. The growing diversity and mobility of aviation personnel will also require instructors to have cross-cultural, cross-generational, and multilingual skills to engage with tomorrow’s workforce.

This is really good news for our talented students who are here today that have high interest in being a part of this potential workforce. 

Airlines are developing college/career paths for their pipeline of pilots and maintainers. 

Many airlines are developing a Career Path Program to identify, select and develop the next generation of pilots and qualified workforce. These industry leading programs complement the traditional, existing paths to becoming a pilot and has three main areas of focus — college, company and community. This three-pronged approach will help them support future aviators as well as their current employees who have a passion for aviation and strong interest in becoming a pilot or staff member in the field of aviation.

ERAU has always been a huge supporter of the GMAA due to your loyal support in recognizing local talent in the field of aviation.  This relationship has provided many students to either continue their studies at our university or others or receive flight training.  The GMAA is a beacon in our industry and there are many grateful folks who recognize you as such. 

“Delta conducted several years of research to create a pilot outreach and pathway program that will inspire and attract the next generations of high-quality talent,” said Steve Dickson, Senior Vice President – Flight Operations. “As a global industry leader, we are taking a holistic approach to expanding the opportunities available to aspiring pilots. We listened to feedback from students, parents, faculty, administrators and Delta employees to help overcome barriers for potential pilot candidates such as career path uncertainty and the Certificated Flight Instructor shortage. We then rolled up our sleeves and developed the Propel program that will provide a defined, accelerated career path for these future aviators.”

During the next decade, Delta expects to hire more than 8,000 pilots to staff the thousands of daily flights it operates around the world as other pilots approach mandatory retirement age. The Propel program will supplement the airline’s current recruiting structure, which includes recruiting and hiring pilots currently flying in the airline, military and corporate sectors.  I learned that there are numerous airlines following suit on this initiative. 

Regardless of the path, any pilot participating in these various programs will meet all of the qualification requirements and testing aspects of their current pilot hiring model, which will be metered over the course of their development.

In addition to the financial options currently available to students at flight training providers and our collegiate partners, airlines are exploring whether other potential financing opportunities might be available for employees and students.                           

The GMAA’s long-standing investments in the future of aviation professionals and the communities it serves worldwide is recognized and appreciated by many.  I am confident that the students you are recognizing today are very grateful and feel very fortunate.

Many airlines are partnering with various universities with accredited aviation programs to interview collegiate aviation students. Successful candidates will be provided a qualified job offer detailing a defined path and an accelerated timeline to become an employee or in many cases a pilot.   

Students with a qualified job offer will receive an advanced engagement opportunity that will immerse them in the airline culture on and off campus including a corporate mentor for the duration of their training and career.

ERAU is pleased to be a partner in this Propel Program. 

There are also internal career paths being provided to current airline employees that include a career transition opportunity and the support to pursue a pilot or aviation maintenance career. This program will allow our industry to continue to invest in its people, tapping into their passion for aviation and the strength of the airline culture.  This is encouraged by improved tuition assistance programs and/or continued professional education.

The path is a detailed plan and timeline.

Selected employees participating in this Career Path could:

  • Earn their remaining certificates and ratings at one of your leading flight training providers.
  • Build their time as a Certified Flight Instructor at the program where they trained

Airlines are leveraging current relationships with aviation organizations and establishing new ones to identify and support aspiring pilots and various workforce needs, including engagement with kindergarten through high school students.

Industry leaders and educational partners must work together to entice or pursue interest in our field as early as elementary school.  I have had the honor of overseeing an ERAU dual enrollment program in Okaloosa County Florida that is a model for this type of pipeline interest.  The team partners with local community leaders and visits elementary and middle schools to promote and recruit for the current programs at the high school level.  At this level, the high school student takes ERAU courses in the field of aviation, engineering and management. 

But, most important is the teaching of “soft skills”.  We emphasize the importance of time management, good hygiene, being respectful, appearance, and leadership.  I hear from industry leaders the difficult time they have in finding a workforce that can be authorized for a security clearance.  We share this information and the importance of keeping “their nose clean”.  They cannot have “dirty laundry” and be in the aviation industry.  Their reputation and integrity have a huge impact of them attaining their dreams of being a pilot or aviation maintainer.  Our next generation of our workforce needs to show responsibility. 

Airlines and aviation corporations will continue to teach students about aviation and familiarize them with career opportunities through their Community Outreach. Scholarships, consistent engagement and a robust mentoring program will help the aviation industry enhance the diversity of the candidate pool and support a more inclusive selection process.

Aviation Industry Corporate Foundations are continuing to prepare and support the future of our next generation of aviation professionals with grants totaling in the millions of dollars.

Airlines and Airline Corporate Foundations have immersive collegiate partnerships from coast-to-coast and ERAU is proud to be a part of these initiatives to enhance leadership development, higher education and aviation programs and facilities to encourage innovation in the aerospace industry.

As part of our commitment to educate future aviation professionals, ERAU has relationships with programs across the U.S. to help identify, mentor and source the next generation of Pilots, Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, and Engineers.   Through these partnerships, corporations offer tours, job shadows and career guidance for the schools as well as training opportunities for instructors. Where possible, many airlines donate serviceable parts, engines and airframes to give students even more real-world maintenance experience working with aircraft components. These partnerships complement the airline’s recruiting structure of working with the U.S. military and regional airlines.

Meanwhile, the number of pilots supplied by the military has dwindled. Much of this is due to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

In the 80s, roughly two thirds of airline pilots were ex-military. Recently, that percentage has dropped to less than one-third. The Navy predicts a 10% pilot shortage in 2020, while the Air Force predicts its own 1,000-pilot shortage by 2022.

This means many young aspiring aviators now have to pay for their own flight training.

In 2009, Congress changed the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65. Many think, this didn’t solve the problem, but merely kicked the can down the road.

A 2016 report by Boeing shows that 42% of the pilots currently flying for the major airlines in the United States will reach their mandatory retirement age of 65 in the next 10 years.

Again, good news for our aspiring next generation of pilots.

Many of you in the room are aware of this statistic that in 2009, Congress changed the pilot experience of flight time requirements for the airlines.

Congress also changed the duty time rules in 2010 to mitigate pilot fatigue issues. This change meant airlines had to increase their pilot staffing by 5 to 8% in order to cover the same schedule. In other words, they need to hire even more qualified pilots.

The airlines will need to begin recruiting and training their own pilot candidates with the intent of recruiting the next generation of pilots.

Manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus are delivering more and more airplanes and plan to continue to do so over the next 20 years.

A shortage of aviation mechanics within the next decade threatens the projected expansion and modernization of the global airline fleet. Based on Oliver Wyman projections, the gap between the supply of mechanics and demand for them should develop in the United States by 2022 and reach a peak of 9 percent by 2027.

The shortage is, in part, a consequence of an aging global population. Between now and 2027, a record number of maintenance technicians will be eligible to retire as more baby boomers reach their sixties. For example, in the US, the median age of aviation mechanics is 51 years old, nine years older than the median age of the broader US workforce as calculated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where are the young mechanics?

And while there are plenty of millennials to step up and take their place, so far they are not. Oliver Wyman projections show that the number leaving the maintenance technician workforce will outpace the number preparing to enter it for most of the next decade. The aging of the mechanic workforce and rash of anticipated retirements could not come at a worse time for the industry, as it gears up to accommodate a larger, newer, and more technologically advanced fleet.

Within the next 10 years, 58 percent of the fleet will be comprised of planes designed and built after 2000. Mechanics moving forward will need the skill sets to work not only on the newest planes, but also on those that have been flying for 20 years — and these are not necessarily the same. This requirement further complicates the shortage; when supply and demand are tight, employers have to hope that the right mechanics with the right skill sets are in the right place at the right time when needed.

Our local ERAU area campuses are partnering with many of you in this room to ignite our next generation to become interested in aerospace and aviation.  We realize we must introduce this industry to our younger generation to keep the pipeline of quality workforce to a standard of quality above all other industries. 

ERAU will soon be introducing a FTIC campaign.  South Florida has been identified as a test pilot for this recruitment and incentive for first time in college family members that will be mentored for a path for success during their college experience and preparing them for a career in the aviation industry.

Scholarship winners it is time for you, our next generation to make a difference one flight at a time.  In making a difference you must instill the qualities of honesty, respect, integrity, perseverance and servant leadership. GMAA please continue your legacy in supporting this next generation of aviators and join us in the academia community to take them to “new heights”!

Thank you so much for allowing me this time with you today.”

Ron Garriga joined Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide in September 2008 as the Campus Director of the Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field Campuses, and was instrumental in building the ERAU Crestview, Florida Campus.   Ron was recognized as the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Staff Member of the Year during the 2013 University Latitude Awards.  In 2015, Ron was named Director of Campus Training & Professional Development, where he lead a team in the development and facilitation of an onboarding training program for all new hires in Asia, Europe and United States.  He continues to oversee the ERAU Okaloosa Aerospace Academy Dual Enrollment Program offered at Choctawhatchee High School, Crestview High School and Laurel Hill School in the state of Florida. He recently was promoted to the role of Associate Executive Director of US Campus Operations. Ron will oversee growth opportunities in the areas of business development, workforce development, and promote retention, affinity and persistence among all US campuses.

Ron received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in  Marketing and his graduate degree from Troy University with a Masters in Management.

Prior to ERAU, Ron was the President and CEO of Rob-Ron Enterprises, Inc. for 26 years.   

Ron is married to Robin Garriga of 33 years and has one daughter, Shelby.  In his spare time Ron enjoys being active in his community and church.