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What Is C-TPAT and How Can It Benefit International Trade?

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and What It Means For Your Shipping Business

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a voluntary program run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The name may be a mouthful, but the program works to make the shipping industry a safer place for everyone involved. Together with some of the major players in the shipping industry, such as importers, carriers, manufacturers, licensed Customs Brokers, and logistics agencies, the CBP works to combat terrorism internationally.

What Exactly Is The C-TPAT Initiative?

The CBP takes its responsibility to enforce border security and fortify international supply chains very seriously. The C-TPAT was originally launched in November 2001 and has grown exponentially since, with over 10,000 certified partners currently engaged in the program. This joint government-business partnership with the trade industry works to minimize security gaps and reduce the risk of terrorism and other dangers. Almost half of the participating members of C-TPAT are importers, as they can help to make the biggest difference to protect the supply chain and execute any necessary security measures.

Who Can Join the C-TPAT?

Almost anyone involved in some aspect of the trade community can be accepted into the C-TPAT program. There are currently 11,400 certified partners that include:

  • Air carriers
  • Consolidators
  • Cross-border highway carriers
  • Marine port authorities
  • Ocean carriers
  • Rail carriers
  • Terminal operators
  • Third-party logistics (3PL) companies

As of yet, the program is still unavailable to exporters. However, the CBP recently published the list of requirements for US exporters so they can officially participate in the program. In time, the C-TPAT initiative will expand to exporters as well.

Why Join the C-TPAT?

In addition to helping maintain the integrity of the trade industry and the shipping community everywhere, joining the C-TPAT can be beneficial for your company. Accepted members can enjoy a reduction in some fees, an increase in the speed of freight, and shortened wait times. Other potential benefits include:

  • Right to use the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at land borders.
  • Priority processing and the ability to skip inspections lines whenever possible.
  • Fewer delays and short wait times at land and ocean borders.
  • Access to C-TPAT Status Verification Interface.
  • Assignment of a C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Specialist (SCSS) to your company.
  • Reduced CBP inspections and exemptions from Stratified Exams (SEs).
  • Potential eligibility to partake in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA).

Shaping the Shipping Industry

Keeping the trade community safe from terrorist threats and other safety concerns is incredibly important for everyone involved, including consumers. Without a secure supply chain, the shipping industry can see a hindrance to successful operations. By default, this can trickle down and affect customers that rely on imported goods to thrive.

As a certified global logistics company and a proud member of C-TPAT, we offer a wide range of services, including ocean shipping services, warehousing and distribution, and licensed Customs Brokers. Contact us at 1-877-776-6799 to receive your free quote today!

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Discover How Freight Containers Shaped Intermodal Transportation

The History of Containerization and Its Impact on The Shipping Industry

Have you ever wondered how the everyday shipping process used today came to be? 62 years ago, the modern shipping container was introduced, revolutionizing the freight industry and forever changing the way goods were shipped.

The idea of using some sort of box to hold items throughout their journey wasn’t exactly new; the idea started to arise around World War II when pallets were used to transport military resources. However, it was not until the 1950s when American trucking entrepreneur Malcom P. McLean introduced containerization, a method that changed the shipping industry forever.

The Birth of Containerization

In April of 1956, Malcom McLean made the first of many trips on the Ideal X, a converted war tanker that was equipped to hold over 50 metal container boxes. Over the years, this method of containerization would evolve to become the standard for intermodal transportation. In 1961, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set the standard sizes for shipping containers that are still used today.

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This method of shipping quickly took the freight forwarding field by storm. With containers that could be seamlessly moved from truck to ship to train, it minimizes interruptions between shipping methods. This brought change to more than just the shipping industry. With a standardized method being adopted on a global level, it allowed the ships, trucks, and trains that transported these containers to be built around certain specifications.

Rather than having to take apart shipments and reload them into the next method of transport, containers could be stacked comfortably and moved from vessel to vessel without difficulty. In the 60 years since its introduction, containerization has helped shape the way bulk shipping is handled.

Influence on Intermodalism

Intermodal transport occurs when goods are transported to their destination using a number of various transportation methods. Most commonly, this includes some form of land and sea travel. While intermodal transportation was not a relatively new thing, it wasn’t until McLean’s introduction of the modern shipping container that it really took off. In addition to the standard size implemented by the ISO, shipping containers must be properly loaded as per the industry guide. This is to ensure the safety of the merchandise as well as the transportation systems and docks. The shipping containers themselves are constructed of highly durable materials such as steel to ensure sturdiness and longevity.

Intermodal transport allowed shippers to send their goods long distances for a more affordable cost; the price of fuel for trains and ships is typically cheaper than other forms of long-distance shipping methods. In today’s world, it is an excellent choice for importers that are:

  • Sending continuous bulk shipments to the same location.
  • Shipping intermediate and finished goods in load units of less than 25 tons.
  • Shipping freight across more than 300 miles, or the equivalent of one day via truck.

The Future of Freight Forwarding

Without recognizing the history of global logistics, we would never be able to understand just how far we have come. Thanks to advances in technology over the last 50 years, we have been able to truly evolve the container and, in turn, how we do intermodal transportation.

At Promptus LLC, we have a number of dedicated services available to assist your importing and exporting business. To learn more about our services and to receive a free quote, contact us today at 1-877-776-6799.

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Understanding the Incoterms 2010: The Latest Rules and Regulations

Stay Up-to-Date with the Most Recent International Commerce Terms

If you have ever engaged in any sort of international commerce dealings, you are likely familiar with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The aptly named Incoterms are a regularly updated guide to the International Commerce terms that are used all over the world. The goal of the Incoterms is to avoid communication issues due to language barriers.

Instead, everyone who is involved in some aspects of the transportation or shipping of goods internationally can follow the same guide to understand the general rules. Originally published in 1936, they have been periodically revised to essentially make understanding important terms a little easier for everyone. The most recent edition was published on Jan. 1, 2011 and is dubbed the Incoterms 2010.

In the Incoterms 2010, the guide was updated to reflect a few changes. To read the text in its entirety, a complete copy can be obtained from the ICC Store.

Most Recent Changes to the Incoterms

The goal of the Incoterms is to help reduce confusion and miscommunications between importers and exporters from different countries. As such, the ICC is always looking for better ways to improve it and minimize confusions between parties. In the eighth and most recent guide, significant changes were made in two areas:

  1. How many categories the Incoterms are divided into. In the previous version, they were subdivided into four categories, but in the 2010 version, there are only two categories, separated only by the method of delivery.
  2. The number of rules. In the 2000 version, there were 13, which have been cut down to 11 in the Incoterms 2010.
incoterms 2010

Brief Review of Incoterms 2010

Rules for Any Mode or Modes of Transport

  • EXW: Ex Works. This term refers to goods that are at the disposal of the buyer at a location determined or owned by the seller. The seller is not responsible for loading the goods or clearing them for export.
  • FCA: Free Carrier. This means that the seller is responsible for delivering the merchandise to the buyer (or an approved proxy for the buyer). The guide urges both parties to clearly specify the place of delivery, as the risk will be solely on the buyer.
  • CPT: Carriage Paid To. This term means that the seller is in charge of delivering the merchandise to a place agreed. The seller will be responsible for paying the costs of carriage and any relative fees.
  • CIP. Carriage and Insurance Paid To. Similar to the above term, this means that the seller is responsible for ensuring delivery and paying the costs of carriage to the carrier. In addition, the seller will pay for and contract insurance to cover damage or loss of the goods during delivery.
  • DAT. Delivered At Terminal. This term means that the goods are to be delivered, unloaded, and placed at the buyer’s disposal at the seller’s risk. A ‘terminal’ can be a place such as a warehouse, container yard, or cargo terminal.
  • DAP. Delivered at Place. Like the term above, this means that the seller is responsible for placing the goods at the buyer’s disposal upon import. The seller assumes responsibility for all risks involved.
  • DDP. Delivered Duty Paid. This term means that the seller is in charge of delivering the goods to the buyer after clearing them for import upon arrival and unloading at the agreed destination. The seller will be responsible for the costs and risks associated with delivering the goods and will be required to pay any import and export duty on all merchandise.

Rules for Sea and Inland Waterway Transport

  • FAS. Free Alongside Ship. This term means that the goods are considered delivered by the seller upon placement alongside the shipping vessel decided by the buyer at the determined port of shipment. Once the goods are in the buyer’s possession, they assume all risks and costs associated with the goods.
  • FOB. Free On Board. This means that the seller must deliver the merchandise onto the vessel decided by the buyer at the predetermined port. Once the goods have been delivered on board the vessel, all responsibility shifts to the buyer.
  • CFR. Cost and Freight. This term means the seller must deliver the goods to the vessel determined by the buyer at the designated port. The seller is responsible for paying the costs and freight that may have been incurred to transport the goods to the port of destination.
  • CIF. Cost, Insurance, and Freight. Similar to the term above, this means that the seller is responsible for ensuring the goods are delivered on board the vessel at the port determined by the buyer. The seller will be responsible for contracting the transportation of the merchandise to the port and is in charge of paying any costs that may have been incurred. The seller will also be responsible for contracting and paying out an insurance policy in the event that the goods are lost or damaged. Once the merchandise has been delivered on board the vessel, the responsibility of any risk transfers to the buyer.

Need Help? Consider a Customs Broker

While the goals of the Incoterms are to help reduce any uncertainty and clarify any misunderstandings within the international shipping industry, we understand that it can sometimes be difficult to grasp their understanding. Promptus LLC is here to help!

We have a team of highly-trained and knowledgeable Customs Brokers available to help decipher any and all things related to the import and export field. While the Incoterms 2010 is not the law, they are internationally recognized and are widely used by importers and exporters all over the world. We are conveniently located just north of the bustling Miami Pier and have access to an array of dedicated global logistics options. Contact us today to learn more about our ocean shipping and freight forwarding services!

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Foreign Importer of Record For International Shipments

Exporting Goods to the US? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are you a business owner located outside of the United States but are looking to import your goods into the country? You are not alone. Many international companies aim to have a presence in the US to help expand their business and increase revenue. To do so, you will need to take the time to file the necessary paperwork with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency.

Can a foreign company export to the United States without an importer of record based in the U.S.?

As explained by the CBP, the answer is yes, your company “must have an agent in the state where the port of entry is located that serves as resident agent in the U.S. on behalf of the foreign corporation’s behalf. For instance, a Customs Broker that has been named in a Customs and Border Protection’s Power of Attorney may make entry on behalf of the exporter or his/her representative.”

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But What Exactly is a Foreign Importer of Record?

Promptus, LLC has a number of experiences US customs brokers available to help companies all over the world go through the necessary motions to get their merchandise over to the US.

Rather than sending a representative from your company to the United States to act as the foreign importer of record, you can hire a customs broker. You will need to provide your Customs Broker the following information:

  • A Customs Power of Attorney document signed by two officers of the business.
  • A copy of your Articles of Incorporation, including a copy of the document that specifies the authority of the officers signing the Power of Attorney.
  • Copies of the photo IDs of the two signing officers.

Upon submission of these documents to your customs broker, they will be able to apply for the Customs Assigned Number, which will allow you to obtain a customs bond. From there, you will be able to ship your goods to the US, assuming any other relevant stipulations are met. For example, if you are importing trademarked goods or items regulated by the FDA, FCC, or similar entities, please be sure all the necessary registrations and documentation are filed.

You will also need ultimate consignee’s U.S. address and Tax ID number, which must be noted on the customs entry.

Let An Expert Help You!

Don’t stress yourself spending extra time, money, and energy on trying to understand certain CBP regulations and rules. We want our clients to be able to put their efforts back into what really matters: their business.

We will work with you to provide all the necessary paperwork and obtain all the accompanying documentation to ensure your shipments arrive smoothly and without incurring additional fees or penalties. Contact us today to get your free quote for any of our global logistics services.

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Temporary Import Bond (TIB) for Import/Export Companies

What is a Temporary Importation Under Bond and When Do You Need One?

If you are in the import/export business, it is likely that you will need to obtain a number of different customs bonds throughout your operation. It is highly recommended to get assistance to help you work through all the necessary paperwork and understand what type of bonds you will need for certain shipments.

One of these bonds is a temporary import bond (TIB), which can allow you to bring goods into the United States duty-free.

What Does a Temporary Import Bond Allow?

A temporary import bond is an addition to a preexisting customs bond that will allow importers to bring a specific list of goods into the country without having to pay the traditional customs taxes and tariffs. Instead, the importer will be allowed to post a bond for (typically) twice the amount of the duty, taxes, and any additional fees.

Who Can Obtain a TIB?

As defined by Customs and Border Protection, only items defined in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. (HTSUS) between subheadings 9813.00.05 through 9813.00.75 are eligible for TIB entry. The exception to this is if these items are being brought into the country with the intent of being sold or distributed. Any merchandise being imported for commerce within the US will not be eligible for temporary importation unless it is sold to a foreign purchaser for exportation.

There are 14 subheadings in the HTSUS that describe what goods importers are allowed to bring in under a TIB. They are as follows:

  1. Items to be repaired, altered, or processed.
  2. Women’s models for use solely as models in their own locale.
  3. Items imported by illustrators and photographers intended only for use as models in their own enterprise, or within catalogs, pamphlets, or similar advertising materials.
  4. Samples intended only for taking orders of goods.
  5. Items intended solely for assessment with a view to reproduction and movie ads, excluding photoengraved printing plates for examination and reproduction.
  6. Items imported exclusively for testing, experimentation, or review, including specifications, photos, and articles to be used for study and experimentation purposes.
  7. Cars, airplanes, airships, balloons, motorcycles, bicycles, boats, racing shells, and the like; including equipment brought temporarily into the country by nonresidents with the intention of taking part in races or similar contests.
  8. Locomotives and similar train equipment brought into the US temporarily for emergency purposes, such as fighting fires, clearing obstructions, or doing repairs.
  9. Containers for compressed gasses, both empty or filled, as well as containers for use in converting or holding goods useable for this purpose.
  10. Professional equipment, repair tools, tools of trade, camping equipment, and brought by nonresidents staying in the country temporarily.
  11. Items of special designs temporarily imported specifically for use of the manufacturer or production of goods for export.
  12. Animals, livestock, and poultry brought into the country for the exclusive purpose of breeding, exhibition, or prize-earning competitions.
  13. Works of art such as engravings, photographs, philosophical or scientific apparatuses brought by foreign artists, scientists, or lecturers with the intention of exhibition or similar encouragement of the subject.
  14. Automobile chassis and bodies and cars, or any portion of them, with the sole intention of show and exhibition.

Any article imported under the TIB provision must be exported within one year from the date of importation. However, upon application to the director of the port where the entry was filed, this one-year period of exportation may be extended for further periods, which, when added to the initial one year, shall not exceed a total of three years. There are two exceptions to the above time limitations:

  1. In the case of articles covered under Subheading 9813.00.75 (autos and parts for show purposes), the period of importation may not exceed six months and may not be extended;
  2. Articles covered under Subheading 9813.00.50 (tools of trade), if seized for reasons other than by suit of private persons, have the requirement of exportation suspended during the period of seizure.

It is important to keep in mind that all situations may vary and you may not always qualify for a TIB. The best way to ensure that you have sorted through any confusing practices is to consult with a Licensed Customs Broker.

Conduct Your Business With Confidence

We can work closely with you to ensure you truly understand CBP’s import/export requirements and policies. Our goal is to help your business avoid costly fees, liquidated damages, or penalties due to improper shipping practices. Call us at 1-877-776-6799 to get your free quote today!

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Everything You Need to Know About ISPM 15 Regulations

What Are the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Guidelines?

When it comes to working with certain materials, especially shipping materials, there are important regulations that you must be aware of and follow in order for your materials to be accepted as “shipping material”.

For example, wood is a very common raw material that is used to create pallets, crates and boxes, which can be used for international and domestic shipping. This is called wood packaging material (WPM) and has careful regulations for how it must be treated prior to international use. This regulation is known as ISMP15, or the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures, publication number 15.

What is ISMP15?

As mentioned, ISMP15 is the regulation for WPM. This set of regulations was originally implemented by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 2002 and essentially details the minimum required treatment for WPM.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) enforce these regulations.

What is the Purpose of ISMP15?

ISMP15 is actually a very important regulation because it focuses on preventing the worldwide spread of pests or diseases that may be living within the wood. Only wood that is properly treated with either a heat treatment or methyl bromide can be stamped and branded with the appropriate markings (example shown below). Without the correct treatment or markings, a WPM may not be accepted as a shipping material.

What is Considered a WPM?

Just about any material that consists of wood could pose a potential risk to an international ecosystem or plant society. Wood materials that are thicker than 6mm will require a treatment. The exception to this is products made from alternative materials, such as paper or wood panel products like hardboard or plywood. Additionally, WPM made from thin wood (less than 6mm), processed woods, reconstituted wood products, or veneer may be exempt from ISMP15 regulations.

What Are the Acceptable Treatment Methods?

At this time, the only acceptable methods of treatment for WMP in the United States are limited to two options: heat treatments or chemical fumigation.

Heat treatment requires that the core is heated to 132˚F (56˚C) for a duration of 30 minutes. This is the most environmentally friendly choice. The other option is chemical fumigation using Methyl Bromide. Similar to the process of tenting your house, this requires the wood to be exposed to the chemical and then aerated to reduce the toxicity levels.

ISPM15 Markings

All WPM must be accurately marked and stamped with the appropriate labeling to indicate it has been properly treated as per ISPM15 regulations. All treated WPM will have the IPPC mark.

  • The XX will indicate the two-letter ISO country code.
  • The 0000 will be the unique identification mark of the wood treatment agent or manufacturer.
  • The YY will indicate the type of treatment (either HT or MB).

What Happens If Something Is Not Properly Treated?

In the event that a WPM that has been improperly treated or not treated at all arrives at a shipping facility, it will be addressed as per the destination country’s standards. Each country is different.

The goods may be fumigated, including the contents, and billed at the shipper’s expense. In other cases, the shipment may be denied entirely and be subject to a whole slew of fees and even additional shipping costs. You can also run the risk of having your items confiscated and then re-exported at a premium rate or worse, being dumped or incinerated. In any case, it is completely the shipper’s responsibility for not properly treating their materials.

How Do I Learn More?

At Promptus, LLC we have a number of Licensed Customs Brokers available to help clients with issues such as shipping materials and following regulations. It is important to follow every step accordingly, which can be hard if you aren’t familiar with CBP systems and regulations. That’s where we come in! We work closely with our clients to fulfill their freight forwarding needs in all aspects. Call us today at 1-877-776-6799 for more information and a complimentary quote.

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How Severe Weather and Natural Disasters Disrupt Logistics

Minimize the Impact of Disruptive Weather Patterns

When it comes to climate patterns, nobody can truly foresee the damage that severe weather and natural disasters can inflict – especially when it comes to importing and exporting goods. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can follow to help your business prepare for the worst, or better yet, plan for how to proceed during an emergency weather situation.

Assessing Weather and Disaster Risks

The UNSIDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) defines a disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts.”

In layman’s terms, this means any devastating incident that disrupts everyday operation in any given area that cannot be resolved with local resources alone.

These disasters can occur due to a number of reasons, including geographical, meteorological, climatic, biological, hydrological, or even space-related. In most cases, a severe weather occurrence or a natural disaster will include disasters from numerous categories, such as a hurricane with severe flooding or heat waves with tornados. In any case, it is important to have systems in place that can be activated in case of one of these events.

Severe weather has been known to affect logistics, as well, with global supply chain management disruptions rising 29% since 2012. According to the 2017 Global Risks Report, extreme weather is considered a top risk. This may also be due in part to companies’ failure to properly prepare for the threat associated with severe weather warnings. TheStreet reports trucking companies in the United States lose an estimated $2.2 to $3.5 million annually because of weather delays. That’s a lot of money!

So what can you do to help your business be protected and prepared when severe weather or a natural disaster strikes? Discuss a plan of action.

Create a Contingency Plan

While there is very little you can do to sway the weather, you can take steps to ensure your import or export business doesn’t suffer too greatly from delays or damage. Take the time to develop a course of action that you and your employees should refer to in the event of a disaster or severe weather conditions. This arrangement is typically known as a disaster risk management plan. Here are some tips when creating your risk management plan that can help to minimize disruptions in your services.

  • Assess the Risk. While it is impossible to always plan for weather accurately, you can absolutely do your part to stay on top of potential impacts, like tornado, hurricane, or flood warnings by your local meteorologists. Determine where the risk is coming and what part of your logistics will be affected. Be aware of various threats and risks and have multiple ways to move forward in lieu of them.
  • Prepare in Advance. You should never wait until a disaster strikes to attempt to collect the supplies or materials you need. Instead, accumulate extra fuel, parts, equipment, and any necessary items ahead of time. You can always make additional preparations in light of any potential risks. For example, having copies of any important data either in the cloud or stored at an off-site location can help in the event of physical damage to your location.
  • Discuss a Plan of Action. The mitigation process will essentially decide how your company reacts to a natural disaster or unexpected weather. How will you communicate with employees if cell towers are down? How will you notify your customers of potential delays or complications? Will your supplier or your shipments be affected? Ask yourself questions that you may have to consider in a disaster situation so your operations don’t suffer.
  • Response and Recovery. Once the situation has been resolved or the disaster has been addressed, you will need to go into a recovery response mode. This means repairing any issues or services that have been impaired, doing any necessary damage control, and trying to maintain as many operational systems as possible. This process may involve repairs, especially if you have been personally affected by dangerous weather conditions. Consider the most cost-effective way to get your company up and running at its full capacity again as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Protect Yourself With Premier Logistics Services

At Promptus LLC, we are a multi-industry logistics company that works with a number of importers and exporters all over the globe. This requires us to stay on top of weather patterns in various areas throughout the world and to have multiple disaster management plans in place in the event that weather catastrophe occurs unexpectedly.

For the 15 years we have been in service, we have made it a point to employ the most advanced technology available to maximize efficiency for both our clients and us. Our headquarters are located in Miramar, FL, an area prone to hurricanes, so we are well experienced and wholly prepared to withstand powerful nature storms and weather disasters. We have plans of action in place to help minimize the risk of damage during weather emergencies. Call us today to get your free freight forwarding quote!

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Invest in Cargo Insurance Now and Save Immensely Later

Discover How Cargo Insurance Can Prevent Headaches and Costly Fees

invest in cargo insurance

When it comes down to importing or exporting goods, regardless if you are using air, ocean, or ground freight forwarding services, you may consider investing in cargo insurance. Legally, carriers must provide a standard amount of insurance coverage, known as carrier liability. Many companies question whether the choice for cargo insurance is truly worth it but here at Promptus, we always recommend all importers or exporters purchase some form of insurance to protect their cargo.

This is because carrier liability only offers limited coverage – typically the bare minimum. In the event of an emergency or accident, you may find yourself shelling out funds to cover lost goods, even if you aren’t at fault.

What To Understand About Cargo Insurance

One of the biggest mistakes made in shipping cargo is assuming the other party took the steps to insure the shipment. Unfortunately, in most cases, this results in no coverage being requested and in the event of a mishap, someone will have to pay hefty costs.

It is vital to know who will be requesting additional insurance coverage on your goods. If it is the shipper or the manufacturer, be sure to confirm their insurance arrangement prior to committing to the contract. With some foreign exporters, they may be using an insurance company from their own country, which means following their rules. Be aware of all the options before moving forward, and remember that having a US-based insurance company could go a long way if it comes down to filing claims thanks to US insurance laws. Thankfully, various options can be explored.

Take Care of Your Merchandise

Insurance is beneficial for a number of different reasons. Obviously, the reason for a coverage plan is to protect your assets in the event that your goods or the carrier are lost, destroyed, or damaged. This can end up protecting parties on various ends, in many cases.

For example, if you are a shipper who has shipped but hasn’t received funds or a buyer who has paid but hasn’t yet received the goods and an unexpected tornado or natural disaster strikes, causing unavoidable destruction to the entire carrier’s cargo load. By the traditional liability coverage, the carrier would not be required to pay out, nor would the shipper. This leaves both parties inadvertently in trouble. However, if one (or both) of the parties had a more full-coverage insurance policy in place for this shipment, their insurance would kick in and provide them with a payout to help cover any losses. Sounds great, right?

It is! Assuming you have the right coverage. That’s another important factor to consider: purchasing the right insurance plan for your business’ needs. Whether you require an all-risk policy or a named perils policy will depend on if you want to guarantee costs for the widest range of possible losses or if you only wish to protect against certain type of loss.

  • An all-risk policy will cover everything, except anything specifically excluded in the contract or policy. This type of insurance is typically more expensive, but offers more comprehensive coverage options.
  • A named peril policy will only cover what is specifically included in the policy. This means if something perilous happens, such as a vandalism or robbery, but you only have natural disaster protection, you will not be covered.

Expert Logistics Services in Miramar, FL

At Promptus LLC, our freight forwarding services are fully insured and offer clients various levels of coverage to suit their particular needs. When you go through a 3PL or third-party logistics team, you gain access to our extensive array of resources, including insurance options. As a large company, we get better deals on insurance prices to cover all of our air, ground, and ocean shipping options. This means cheaper rates for our customers as well! Contact us today to get a quote on all your global logistics needs.

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The Practical Benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone

Why Companies Prefer to Use a FTZ For International Trade

Shipping and logistics can often span to multiple areas throughout the world, which means dealing with international trade laws and global market rules. This includes customs duties, taxes and tariffs, and other bureaucratic regulations. For US-based shippers, this can mean expensive costs and complicated instructions. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) created secure areas outside of their typical jurisdiction, known as Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ).

Understanding Foreign Trade Zones

The Foreign Trade Zones Act was established in 1934, during the Great Depression, to help expedite foreign trade while lower costs for US operations that were engaged in international commerce. In this day, an FTZ is an area that operates under CBP supervision in areas where special procedures can be used to encourage US trade activity. These zones are located within or adjacent to CBP ports of entry in the United States. They are known internationally by many names, most commonly free trade zones.

Essentially, an FTZ is an area where goods can be traded internationally without being subjected to the typical quotas and tariffs. They are subject to the rules and regulations of the US in addition to the area in which the merchandise is located.

 You May Also Like:4 Tips for More Successful International Shipments 

Benefits of Foreign Trade Zones

As you may know, producing a finished product usually requires raw goods from a variety of manufacturers, often located in various parts of the world. Without the FTZ agreement, companies trying to import their finished goods into the United States would be forced to pay tariffs on all the components to the assembly location as well as into the US. Instead, an FTZ offers the advantage of avoiding all import duties as long as the goods are stored, repackaged, or prepared in an FTZ.

This way, companies only have to pay the import tariff into the United States. This provides an obvious financial benefit for companies who may be subjected to inverted tariffs or duties on waste or yield loss. Without a zone, after all, all items entering the area will be subject to import tax. For companies that generate a lot of scrap or waste to create their merchandise, this means having to pay tariffs on everything, even if some will be lost in the production process. With an FTZ, you will only be required to pay taxes on the finished product, which saves you tariffs on any materials that are lost during the yield of your goods.

Inverted tariffs pose an issue for companies that wish to make their products in the United States. This is another reason why companies utilize the FTZ program. In many cases, a raw good can have a higher import tax than the finished product itself would. This gives people creating goods outside of the U.S. an unfair financial advantage over their domestic competition. The FTZ program allows for duty reduction on these inverted tariff situations to help level the playing field.

Not to mention, storing your goods in an FTZ gives you the safety and reliability of a CBP supervised facility. Systems are implemented to help companies that make multiple deliveries save money by only having to pay for weekly Customs entries, versus having to pay for each individual one. Promptus, LLC has licensed Customs Brokers available on staff to help ensure your company submits all necessary paperwork to avoid any penalties or additional duties.

Choosing the Right Type of FTZ

There are two types of foreign trade zones available for global logistics needs: general-purpose zones and special-purpose zones.

  • A general-purpose zone must be available to multiple companies and is only available for warehousing. These are better suited for smaller companies and corporations that do not need an ongoing FTZ arrangement.
  • A special-purpose FTZ is available exclusively for to a single company for a carefully designated purpose. These are better for manufacturing plants or distribution facilities too far from other industrial areas.

This is where a 3PL comes in handy. If you are not sure which type of FTZ is best for you, we are happy to offer you a consultation and quote for services. Promptus, LLC works closely with each business to understand exactly what type of logistics services they need to maximize efficiency. We provide full-scale freight forwarding services, including ocean shipping for companies of all sizes. Together, we can determine where and how you should be using FTZs to your advantage.

Promptus, LLC Delivers the Future of Freight Forwarding

Promptus, LLC can help you to save money and take advantage of a number of benefits that you can achieve by using an FTZ. We allow you the technology to track your inventory, keep up with manufacturing progress, and manage high-volume operations from within the FTZ. With over 15 years of service, Promptus can provide importer and exporters with all their global logistics needs. Call us today at 305-687-1405 to get your free quote today!

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Hazardous Materials: What They Are & How to Handle Them

Properly Prepare Handling Instructions, Labeling, and Documentation

hazardous materials what they are

When many people think of hazardous materials, they picture radioactive liquids and dangerous materials. While these are definitely proper examples, they also include materials and goods that most people don’t think to consider – we will address these below. Because of this, many shippers find that they incur safety violations and costly fines because they did not comply with the necessary paperwork or labeling requirements.

In fact, one of the most frequently cited safety violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations is the shipper failing to accurately declare the hazardous material on their associated shipping documentation.

What are Hazardous Materials?

Hazardous materials may sound intimidating, but they are made up of items that are essential to our economies, such as batteries, paint, and even perfume.

Following proper protocol when shipping hazardous materials is important not only to avoid hefty penalties but also to ensure the safety of all the parties involved in transporting, packaging, and handling the items. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in accordance with a number of other transport and travel authorities across the globe, have deemed the following items as hazardous, classified in various levels by threat and danger level.

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable Liquids
  4. Flammable Solids
  5. Toxic & Infectious Substances
  6. Radioactive Material
  7. Corrosives
  8. Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Within each classification are three packing groups: I, II, & III.

  • Packing Group I hold the HazMats with the greatest risk and therefore the most regulated.
  • Packing Group II presents items with a moderate risk and moderate regulation.
  • Packing Group III has the least risk and is the least regulated.

No matter what the use or type of hazardous material, they should always be handled with care. This means carefully complying with any necessary special regulations and procedures.

Proper Packaging and Paperwork

Naturally, hazardous materials pose a general risk, as the materials within are, after all, hazardous. The idea behind such stringent packing requirements is to help minimize the potential hazard of the materials being transported. UN-certified packaging is available to make the lives of shippers and freight forwarders everywhere a little easier. These shipping materials are subjected to extensive testing, including drop tests, stack tests, vibration tests, water absorption tests, and pressure differential tests. However, in order to know what type of packaging is required, you will have to know more about the materials inside.


On the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website, improperly secured packages are listed at the number one HazMat violation in roadside inspections. In order to determine the proper packaging, you will need to have information on the method of transport being used. For example, copies of International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations if the HazMats will be shipped using air transport. You can refer to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for ground transport information. Be sure that any necessary hazard statements, pictograms, or descriptions are clearly visible and that all of the materials inside were properly stored and packaged in the appropriate drums, shipping canisters, or leak-proof bagging.

A packaging construction system developed by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods is available, known as the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). To ensure that a HazMat shipment is not subjected to any fines or violations, the shipper must be responsible for guaranteeing that the merchandise has met all applicable special requirements and that the goods have been produced, put together, and marked in compliance with the HMR.


In 2012, the Hazard Communication Standard was revised to require that all manufacturers, distributors, and importers include a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each hazardous material included in a shipment. An MSDS includes a number of necessary information, including what is commonly known as the Basic Description.

This is very important and it should include the proper shipping name, an identification number, hazard class, and the packing group in that specific order. Listing this info in a different order can result in a violation. The MSDS or shipping papers should contain the following up-to-date information, located conspicuously in a central location.

  • Seller/shipper’s name and address
  • Consignee’s/buyer’s name and address
  • Basic description
  • Total quantity, type, and kind of package
  • Weights and volume
  • Shipper’s declaration
  • Emergency Response Information, including a 24hr emergency response phone number
  • Page numbers
  • Title and signature

Save the Hassle, Trust the Experts

Sound like a lot? Not to worry, we have you covered! At Promptus LLC, we offer clients full-scale air & ocean freight forwarding services, including the ability to safely, securely, and legally transport hazardous materials. In addition, we have Licensed Customs Brokers available to help you handle all the necessary paperwork and duty payments to ensure that no mistakes are made. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to speak to one of our Global Logistics Experts and learn what services may be right for you!

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