SOLAS  New Container Weighing Requirements

Change is on the horizon in the shipping industry, and it is important to make sure you are staying informed. Effective July 1st, 2016, changes adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding verified container weights will become effective. These changes were first introduced at the 2014 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, but it is now time for implementation. The full text of the applicable SOLAS regulations can be found here

These regulations initially came about as a result of safety issues within the shipping industry. There were problems regarding overweight/underweight containers, misreported freight, poor weight distribution within containers, and more: see “Safety and Shipping Review 2014“. Ideally these changes will help accomplish a reduction in loss of containers from vessels, increased assurance to all parties within the supply chain, and overall improved safety.  These new requirements will apply to all 171 IMO member countries, as well as the three associate members of this organization.

The responsibilities of the shipper (as designated by the bill of lading) under these new regulations are particularly important. The shipper will now be required to verify the gross mass of each container via a signed document; this document must be physically signed (stamps will be unacceptable), and the form must be submitted in time to be used by the master and terminal representatives in the ship’s stowage plan.  The shipper has the option of submitting the container weight via the shipping instructions to the line, or in a specific communication such as a weight certificate. Regardless of submission method, the weight included must be designated as the “verified gross mass” and authorized by the accompanying signature. The shipper is able to determine whether they would prefer to weigh the contents of the container prior to or after loading, but the critical designation is that estimated weights are not permitted. The equipment used to weigh contents must meet national certification requirements, and the party verifying container weight is not permitted to use weight provided by a previous party. Click here for the Implementing Guidelines issued by MSC

The execution of enforcement for this new requirement will be put on the shoulders of the carriers. Essentially, carriers are highly encouraged to refuse to load containers for which a signed weight verification is missing. Refusing to carry these containers will encourage shippers to abide by the new requirements set forth by SOLAS. As July is only a few months away, it is important for shippers to begin proactively planning how they will adjust their processes to abide by these new requirements.

 

If you are in need of additional resources or more information, please visit the following link: http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/faqs.

 

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TRADE POLICY: OBAMA vs ROMNEY

International trade is vital to our economy, so much of the debate in the upcoming Presidential election has surrounded the candidates’ foreign trade policies. President Barack Obama (D) and his challenger, Governor Mitt Romney (R), have each publicly stated support for free trade; however their trade philosophies are very different.

 

President Obama introduced the National Export Initiative (“NEI”) in 2010 and stated his goal of doubling exports over the following five years.[1]The U.S. is currently on track to not only reach, but also to exceed this goal with a current annual increase in exports of 16%.[2] Although President Obama has not opened any new trade negotiations, he has worked with Congress to pass three free trade agreements that were previously languishing:  Panama, South Korea, and Colombia.[3]  The Obama administration has also participated in negotiating a trade pact with Pacific nations known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).[4]  Although he acknowledges and supports the necessity of international free trade, President Obama still endorses the need for Americans to “Buy American”.[5]

 

Governor Mitt Romney has been thorough in outlining his foreign trade policies, a main objective of which is to create a “Reagan Economic Zone”, similar to that which President Reagan attempted during his presidency.[6]  Gov. Romney anticipates that the Zone would standardize practices and create a network of “like-minded” nations that are committed to free enterprise and open markets.[7]    According to Romney, “for every $1 billion in U.S. exports, another 5,000 jobs are created in the U.S.”.[8]  Thus, continued pursuit of current and new trade agreements will help stimulate the economy.

 

China is a hot topic for trade, and it is one of the key points for both Romney and Obama’s campaigns.  Among Romney’s objectives is the decision to take Chinese businesses to court and litigate against unfair trade practices, as well as declaring China a “currency manipulator”.[9]  In contrast to Gov. Romney’s stance, President Obama has never openly reprimanded China for manipulating its currency to fit its needs; however, the President’s administration has litigated unfair trade cases against China.[10]

 

The purpose of this blog post is solely to help inform our readers and not as a means of endorsing either candidate.  We hope that all our readers will be better informed to make the decision on November  6, 2012 that best fits their values and beliefs.

 

For more information on the 2012 Presidential Candidates please visit the links referenced in this post or the nominees’ websites directly at http://www.barackobama.com/ and http://www.mittromney.com/. For more information on the 2012 Presidential Election, how and when to vote visit http://www.presidentialelection.com/.


[1] U.S. Dept of Commerce, International Trade Administration: National Export Initiative http://trade.gov/nei/nei-introduction-state-of-the-union-012710.asp

[4] Executive Office of the President, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative: The U.S. in the Trans-Pacific Partnership http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/fact-sheets/2011/november/united-states-trans-pacific-partnership

[5] Business without Borders: Trade Off, Obama vs Romney on the politics of foreign trade http://www.businesswithoutborders.com/industries/importexport/trade-off/

[6] Mitt Romney’s Campaign Website: Issues, China & East Asia http://www.mittromney.com/issues/china-east-asia

[7] Id.

[8] Business without Borders: Trade Off, Obama vs Romney on the politics of foreign trade http://www.businesswithoutborders.com/industries/importexport/trade-off/

[10] Business without Borders: Trade Off, Obama vs Romney on the politics of foreign trade http://www.businesswithoutborders.com/industries/importexport/trade-off/

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When Is C-TPAT Right For You?

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) was established to ensure the safety and security of cargo arriving in the United States. Although being C-TPAT certified is not required by any governmental agency, many private companies only partner with C-TPAT compliant businesses. Thus, Third Party Logistics Providers (3PLs) are strongly motivated to obtain certification.

However, in order for a 3PL to be eligible for C-TPAT certification it must meet some minimum requirements. For example, it MUST do all of the following:

1. Be directly involved in the handling and management of the cargo from point of stuffing overseas up to the first U.S. port of arrival. (Entities which only provide domestic services and are not engaged in cross border activities are not eligible.)

2. Manage and execute these particular logistics functions using its own transportation, consolidation and/or warehousing assets and resources.

3. Be licensed and/or bonded by one of the following: the Federal Maritime Commission, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or the Department of Transportation, and

4. Maintain a staffed office within the United States.

And in order to participate in the C-TPAT program a 3PL may NOT:

1. Subcontract any service beyond a second party other than to other CTPAT members (This means that CBP does not allow the practice of “double brokering”, the 3PL may contract with a service provider, but it may not allow that contractor to further subcontract the actual provision of this service to an unknown third party).

2. Be a non asset-based 3PL which only performs duties such as quoting, booking, routing, and auditing (these type of 3PL may possess only desks, computers, and freight industry expertise) without its own warehousing facilities, vehicles, aircraft, or any other transportation assets. These non-asset based entities are excluded from C-TPAT as they are unable to enhance supply chain security throughout the international supply chain.

If your business is not otherwise eligible for C-TPAT certification but desires to obtain it, it might consider obtaining one of the necessary agency licenses. If you have questions on doing so, we are able to help.

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