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Category Archives: Freight Forwarding

COVID-19’s Impact on Some Major US Ports

covid impact on us ports

It is not surprising that COVID-19 has hurt global trade and consequently, data collected during the first months of the pandemic revealed a fall in imports and exports of goods to and from the US affecting drastically the activities at ports around the nation.

Container volumes are measured in twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs. This standard ensures that trade statistics are the same no matter where you are in the globe.

These are the TEUs handled in the major US ports during the period April – June of 2020 versus 2019:

Port of Los Angeles

The port of Los Angeles for nearly two decades has moved more cargo than any other port in the nation and its North America’s largest trade gateway based on container volumes and value of trade.

port of Los Angeles chart

Source: https://www.portoflosangeles.org/business/statistics/container-statistics/historical-teu-statistics-2020

During these months the port of LA saw the worst of the pandemic, with the decrease being over 250,000 TEUs.

Port of Houston

The port of Houston is one the major player in international trade, being the largest port in the Gulf Coast. It was ranked 6th by total TEUs in 2019.

port of Houston chart

Source: https://porthouston.com/about-us/statistics/

Port of New York/Newark

The port of New York/Newark is the gateway to one of the most concentrated consumer markets in North America and the largest port on the East Coast.

port of NY/Newark chart

Source: https://www.panynj.gov/port/en/our-port/facts-and-figures.html

Port Everglades

Port Everglades is one of the main seaports in the South East for receiving petroleum products. In recent years PEV has also gained relevance in the cargo arena due to its proximity to Central and South American countries.

port Everglades chart

https://www.porteverglades.net/statistics/

Despite these gloomy figures, the reality is that volumes are starting to rise across many ports in the US. Panjiva (a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence) reported this week that US import containers reached an all-time monthly high in August. The recovery process of many factories in Asia and the urge of importers in the US to re-stock has prompted an influx of imports that is reviving the ports’ activities.

Some experts believe that this increase might be temporary, and volumes at ports might experience another dip soon. Let’s hope they are wrong, and that the proximity of the holiday season serves to continue this steady path to recovery that we are seeing today.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding freight forwarding through COVID-19, contact our PROMPTUS and one of our experts will guide you through the process of importing and exporting goods in a safe and timely manner.

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A Review of the 2020 Incoterms amid Covid 19

Here’s What You Need to Know

covid and incoterms 2020

In the last quarter of 2019, the International Chamber of Commerce launched the Incoterms 2020. A set of rules that guide the trade community on the day to day transactions. One of the main roles of these rules is to alleviate disputes between traders (importers and exporters) at an international level. The Incoterms eliminate common challenges such as language barriers and geographical locations and ease the path of doing business many times with unknown suppliers in foreign lands.

The beginning of the current pandemic of Covid‐19 virus took place pretty much while the new Incoterms 2020 started to be known and used by many in the trade community. With urgent imports and exports arising from the demand for medical equipment and PPE’s all over the world, these rules have become an essential tool to ensure clear communication between the parts; especially for many companies not usually engaged in the trading of these commodities.

Current Version of the Incoterms and Its Changes

In the nine years since the last version was released, the Incoterms have undergone some changes. The 2020 text is using a new layout and a new style of presentation; this is the most noticeable change. The changes to the rules themselves are minor, and none have been added or removed.

The Incoterms 2020 include features that help make improvements to the sequencing and presentation of the rules, as well as an expository welcome of the explanatory notes. Aside from this, the rules are still presented within two categories: four water rules, and seven that may apply to all forms of transport. This brings us to a total of eleven rules, which is unchanged from the 2010 version. Aside from this, one rule has been renamed.

Main Differences Between Incoterms 2010 and 2020

  • The DAT rule (Delivered At Terminal) has been renamed to DPU, to stand for “Delivered at Place Unloaded”. This highlights the fact that deliveries can occur at more than just the transport terminal. This is the only rule that requires sellers to unload their cargo at the designated destination.
  • Freight insurance. The CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid to) rule has been changed slightly to require a higher level of cover than previously specified in Incoterms 2010. This raises the level of coverage for freight insurance from Institute Cargo Clauses (C) to Institute Cargo Clauses (A).

    For the CIF rule, there is no change – the default cover requirement remains at Institute Cargo Clauses (C). This is because CIF is popularly used among commodities transactions, which typically allows this lower level of cover.

  • The Incoterms 2020 also makes changes to the FCA rule to help assist sellers when they are using it in conjunction with a letter of credit. Both parties may agree that the buyer can instruct the carrier to issue the seller with a document, such as an on-board bill of lading or similar, which banks typically require under a letter of credit.

    This is an obvious “stopgap” fix to the banks’ insisting for on-board bills of lading for containers. However, it doesn’t help mitigate the underlying risk that arises when a seller allows the buyer to arrange transport.

  • The Incoterms 2020 now cover situations where either party (the buyer or the seller) transport goods using their own vehicles, without using the services of a third-party transportation or freight forwarding company.
  • A higher level of detail regarding the allocation of security-related costs has also been addressed in more detail.
Download a PDF Copy of Incoterms 2020

Licensed Freight Forwarder Ready to Help

Hiring an expert is the best way to ensure that you don’t miss any critical information when it comes to the new Incoterms. As a licensed Freight Forwarder and US Customs Broker, Promptus is always on top of the latest updates in the industry and can work closely with your business to ensure that you are up-to-date on all import and export proceedings as well. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 for a FREE QUOTE.

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IMO 2020: Cutting Sulphur Oxide Emissions

How IMO is Working Towards Cleaner Solutions

IMO 2020

Did you know that approximately 90% of global trade moves in the near 51,000 ships that conform the world fleet of ocean cargo carriers? This represents around 2.1 billion barrels of fuel annually and translates to roughly 88.2 gallons a year, or 244 million gallons per day.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), “the main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions. Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.”

To help change this, IMO is working to limit SOx emissions. The goal of this reduction is to see an improvement in air quality and help protect the environment. According to the mandate recently issued by the IMO, starting January 1, 2020, the limit of Sulphur used in fuel oils aboard ships will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This limit will be implemented upon ships operating outside of any designation emission control areas.

The goal is to help significantly reduce the number of Sulphur oxides that are emanating from these ships around the world. Additionally, it may have major health and environmental benefits, especially for populations living in close proximity to ports and coasts.

Implementing New Emissions Mandates

To better understand the impact of the change, it is important to know that current levels of emission are at 3.50% m/m and need to come down to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This represents a substantial cut.

Another, stricter, limit of 0.10% m/m has already been put in effect in emission control areas (ECAS) previously established by the IMO. This lower limit applies in the four established ECAS, which are as follows:

  • The Baltic Sea area
  • The North Sea area
  • The North American area (which covers designated coastal areas off of the US and Canada)
  • The United States Caribbean Sea area (which spans around Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands)

It is worth noting that countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are also discussing the possibility of designating certain areas as an ECAS.

To help meet this new limit, fuel oil providers are supplying fuel oil that meets the standards, such as marine distillate and ultra-low Sulphur fuel oil blends.

How the New Mandate Will Be Enforced

With these important new changes coming into effect in 2020, it is important to note who will be enforcing these mandates and ensuring the vessel operators and owners comply with IMO 2020.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL, for short) will be the main international convention in charge of overseeing the prevention of pollution by ships (either operation or accidental) across all marine environments. Any government agencies or national authorities that are a part of MARPOL will also be handed the responsibility of ensuring liable parties are compliant with IMO 2020.

You May Also Like: “Everything You Need to Know About IMO’s IMDG and IATA’s DGR

According to IMO, they will also be working closely with Member States as well as the shipping, bunker supply, and refining industries to help identify and mitigate and transitional issues that may arise as ships work to meet the new requirement. They will work to devise standard formats for reporting fuel non-availability, developing guidelines, and overseeing verification and control issues.

There will also be an impact on ocean rates, considering the cost of low emission fuel is often higher, so companies should take into consideration how this may affect their shipping practices.

Understanding What This Means For You

If you regularly ship goods overseas or utilize global fleets to receive products from other industries or companies around the world, you may be wondering how the new IMO 2020 mandate will affect you. Turning to a licensed US Customs Broker at Promptus can help you understand how these new changes may affect you and what you can do to ensure you are compliant, if necessary. We offer knowledgeable advice and assistance for clients who need freight forwarding and ocean shipping servicescall today for a free quote.

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What Are the H.O.P.E and HELP Acts?

Understanding Trade Between the United States and Haiti

what are the HOPE and HELP acts

The United States has a long history of facilitating the trade with many of its neighboring countries, such as those in the Americas and the Caribbean through the implementation of trade agreements that result beneficial for all countries involved by promoting stability in their economies.

Countries like Haiti, which are very close to the US, become interesting trading partners thanks to their accessibility. In 2006, partially in response to concerns arising with Haiti’s apparel parity issues, the United States Congress implemented the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (more commonly known as just HOPE) Act. HOPE was enacted alongside the General System of Preferences (GSP), the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA). However, the first iteration of this partnership was mostly unsuccessful.

The HOPE Bill Upgraded

Two years later, in 2008, Congress passed an extended and ungraded copy of the bill, known as HOPE II. This version included an increase in the Tariff Preference Level (TPL) for specific woven and knit productions; as well as co-production with the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti; and the inclusion of luggage, sleepwear, and headgear in eligible trade items.

The intention of HOPE II was to establish new rules of origin that would help make Haiti eligible for better trade benefits regarding apparel imports and enhance sourcing flexibility for producers.

This helped to modify the existing trade preference programs operating under HOPE and further develop the benefits of the act. An adjacent act, HELP also helps to provide duty-free treatment to addition textile and apparel products coming from Haiti. These preferences are all currently valid and are set to expire on September 30, 2025.

About the HELP and HOPE Acts

The Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) is designed to promote economic growth in this developing country and extends advantageous duty-free treatment to additional textile and apparel products from Haiti. The HELP act works alongside the HOPE act and helps to extend duty-free shipping to the US market, which includes around 1,500 products (making for a total of 5,000 duty-free products eligible under the GSP).

Trade preferences under the HOPE and HELP acts are specific to Haiti since they are carefully created and conditioned around two major parties: the Haitian government and the producers individually meeting certain core labor standards. These producers are expected to participate in a Technical Assistance Improvement and Compliance Needs Assessment and Remediation program (TAICNAR) as well as comply with the predetermined and internationally agreed-upon core labor standards.

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

To understand the HOPE and HELP acts, we must also discuss the GSP. The US Generalized System of Preferences, or simply just GSP, is a program that is intended to promote economic growth in developing nations. It helps to provide duty-free treatment to various designated beneficiary countries and is currently up to 5,000 eligible products under duty-free allowance (as mentioned above). The lists contain a combination of goods including agriculture, fishery, industrial, and most dutiable manufactured and semi-manufactured products.

Current preference highlights include:

  • Duty-free access for up to 70 million square meter equivalents (SME) of knit and woven apparel (each), with some exclusions. This is without regard to the country of origin for the fabric or components, so long as the apparel is assembled in Haiti. After the 70 million SME limit is hit, it increases up to 200 million.
  • Duty-free treatment for apparel that is assembled or knit-to-shape entirely in Haiti, with around 50 – 60% value from any combination of Haiti, the US, a US Free Trade Agreement partner, or program beneficiary.
  • Duty-free treatment under a special “two for one” import allowance program for knit or woven apparel sourced from the US or certain trade partner countries. For every two SMEs of qualifying fabric, one SME of non-qualifying fabric will be allowed under this rule.
  • Duty-free treatments for clothing items such as undergarments like brassieres, luggage, headgear, and certain types of sleeping wear.
  • Permission for duty-free goods to enter the United States from Haiti when shipped directly from Haiti or the Dominican Republic.

Some of the preferences are set to expire at a certain time, so be sure to read up on these programs, available at the US Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel!

Laws Regarding Free Trade Zones

The very important component for the execution of these acts are Free Trade Zones.
On August 2, 2002, a law on free trade zones (FTZ) was implemented to set out acceptable conditions for creating, operating, and managing FTZs. There are also exemption and incentive regimes that are applicable to ventures made in these zones. As defined by the law, a free trade zone is a geographical area that operates under the regime of customs duties that controls taxation, immigration, capital investment, and foreign trade. It is also an area where domestic and foreign investors can provide services including importing, storing, producing, exporting, and re-exporting goods. These FTZs are either a private or a joint venture that is involved with state or private investors.

You May Also Like: The Practical Benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone

Previously, only two free trade zones were granted status in 2003, with only one being operational in northern Haiti. However, in January 2019, a new FTZ was declared in Ganthier Balan.

Haiti also has issued at least nine Free Trade Zone licenses, which are as follows:

  • FTZ de Trou du Nord, which is the first agricultural free trade zone in Haiti.
  • FTZ CODEVI is located in the northeastern city of Ouanaminthe and is operated by a Dominican company Grupo M, that manufactures clothing for various U.S. companies.
  • FTZ Port Lafito is located in Douillard, Cabaret. Lafito home to the only Panamax seaport in Haiti.
  • FTZ Hispaniola, located in Route 9 Cité Soleil.
  • FTZ SIDSA in Tabarre Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ de Digneron, which is fairly new, having been inaugurated in just 2018 in Croix-des-Bouquets.
  • FTZ Santo Dujour is also located in Croix-des-Bouquets.
  • FTZ HEH Les Palmiers, located in Carrefour, Port-au-Prince.
  • FTZ Balan in Ganthier, which we previously mentioned.

The Free Zones National Council and Free Zone Directorate

The Free Zones National Council (CNZF) is an inter-ministerial commission, which is comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors. They are directly responsible for various regulations and rules regarding the free trade zones in Haiti.

Some responsibilities include:

  • Approving applications for admission to the free zone regime.
  • Authorizing the operation of free zones.
  • Ensuring that projects approved are carried out in accordance with relevant regulations.
  • Ensuring that projects approved are carried out in accordance with relevant regulations.
  • Defining and regulating free zones.
  • Approving and monitoring procedures and operations in free zones.
  • Receiving applications for approval as a free zone.
  • Approving the CNZF’s own rules and procedures.

There is also the Free Zone Directorate, an entity that exists within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. They act as the CNZF’s Technical Secretariat in order to uphold and ensure the implementation of decisions taken by the CNZF.

In addition, the responsibilities of the Free Zone Directorate include:

  • Sending quarterly reports on the operation and applications of the FTZ;
  • Examining and approving applications for the FTZ;
  • Participating in negotiations, agreements, or conventions regarding FTZ at the national and international levels; and
  • Overseeing and ensuring the regular monitoring of all FTZ in Haiti.

Crunching the Numbers (as per the ITA)

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is a United States government agency within the Department of Commerce that promotes and oversees the export of nonagricultural US goods and services. According to their numbers, the United States is one of Haiti’s top trading partner. Based on data from 2018, the US imported over $991 million in goods from Haiti (which was up almost 8% from the previous year).

Of those 2018 imports, $926 million were generated from apparel goods manufactured in the Haitian garment sector via the HOPE and HELP acts and the CBTPA legislation! In addition to the apparel assembly sector; telecommunications and transport fields also attract a substantial number of investors. Exports of US goods to Haiti are also worth noting, with amounts totaling up to $1.4 billion in 2018.

Considering Expanding Your US Business Market?

Some reasons to expand your export or import business into Haiti.

  • Currently, US goods comprise, on average, over 24% of Haiti’s total imports.
  • There are four major security certified ports that provide international maritime access to Haiti, including Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitian, Lafito, and St. Marc.
  • There are multiple daily flights available to the United States from Miami via the two international airports in Haiti (Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitian). These allow for quick access to the CARACOL and CODEVI industrial parks, which are located in FTZs in the northeastern region of the country.
  • Haiti’s total imports (according to the Central Bank of Haiti) reach over $4.5 billion during the 2018 fiscal year (exports were valued much lower at only $1.1 billion). This means imports represent more than 70% of goods currently sold on Haitian land.

If you need assistance branching into the Haitian market for US exports and for goods being imported into the US from Haiti, we can help! Located in Miami, we have plenty of experience coordinating shipments and transport to Haiti, whether it is via ocean transport or air freight, call today for a Free Quote.

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The Difference Between Gross and Dimensional Weight

How to Calculate Costs In Air Freight Shipping

difference between gross and dimensional weight

Source

What is Gross and Dimensional Weight?

When it comes to shipping goods anywhere the weight and dimensions (among others) are important variables that will influence a great deal in the cost of the transportation service being provided.

When moving cargo, they may charge you based on the “dimensional weight” of your shipment rather than the actual weight (gross weight). By using a “weight equivalent” conversion formula based on the dimensions of the cargo, carriers will determine the dimensional weight and this becomes the chargeable weight if it is greater than the gross weight.

This is to ensure that the carrier gets paid fairly for the space being utilized. So, if you are shipping one ton of feathers, it may cost more than transporting one ton of books – assuming the packaging for the feathers takes more room.

Calculating Dimensional Weight for Air Shipments

In air shipments, due to the fact that the aircraft needs to adhere to strict weight restrictions, you
need both gross and chargeable weight on the AWB (Airway Bill) and you will be charged for
whichever amount is more.

To calculate the dimensional weight, you must first calculate the cubic inches of your cargo then divide this total by a factor of 166 to obtain dimensional weight in pounds (for air shipments). To obtain the dimensional weight in kilos the factor to use is 366.

So, in conclusion:

  • Chargeable weight, is the weight the carrier uses to charge you. This will be determined by which one of the weights (the gross or the dimensional) yields the higher amount.

New Changes Implemented June 2019

One of the most popular shipping services for air cargo in the US is the United States Postal Services (USPS), and now more than ever it is used for e-commerce. In June 2019, they made slight, but significant, changes to the way dimensional weight (DIM weight) is calculated for shippers using their services. In the past, DIM weight was only applied to certain services, excluding things like Priority Mail. Since their recent update, the DIM weight has been extended to Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and non-lightweight Parcel Select. The latter, however, only applies to packages larger than one cubic foot.

In addition to extending the use of DIM weight to these USPS services, the company has also updated the DIM weight divisor to 166 (down from 194, previously). With their services, package dimensions are calculated by multiplying length x width x height. If it results in more than 1 cubic foot (which equals 1728 cubic inches), the result is divided by 166 to determine DIM weight. This change helps to make things more uniform, as other popular shipping services, like FedEx and UPS use the 166 divisor.

International Air Freight Experts

Struggling to understand the way dimensional and gross weight work? Not a problem – we are here to assist you. Our expert freight forwarders can help you understand why chargeable weight is used in air shipments, and assist you in calculating the cost and determining the most cost-effective way to ship your goods. With over 15 years of global logistics experience, our team is knowledgeable and dedicated to providing top customer service to all of our clients. Plus, we offer customs brokerage to help navigate CBP requirements and fees. Contact us today at (305) 687-1405 for a Free Quote for our services!

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Understanding the New C-TPAT Guidelines

Explore The New Criteria and How It May Affect Your Business

Understanding the New C-TPAT Guidelines

In the shipping industry, there are many policies and governing agencies in place to help streamline efficiency among players and protect the safety and security of all parties involved. One such initiative is the ‘Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism’, more commonly known as the C-TPAT.

As the name suggests, the C-TPAT is aimed to help combat terrorism internationally. It calls on members of the shipping industry – such as carriers, manufacturers, freight forwarders, licensed Customs Brokers, logistics agencies, and more – to help minimize security gaps and ease the threat of terrorism.

About the C-TPAT Initiative

Launched in November 2001, the C-TPAT works closely with the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) to enforce and police anti-terrorism initiatives within the shipping industry. The goal of the initiative is to help maintain the integrity and ensure the safety of the community while reducing the threat of terrorism and security gaps in the system.

Since its inception, over 10,000 members of the trade industry have become certified partners of the C-TPAT. The majority of participating members are importers, as they have the most direct relationship with the supply chain and can help implement protection and security measures most effectively. However, just about anyone involved with the shipping industry and trade community can become involved with the C-TPAT, including carriers, transportation fleets, port authorities, terminal operations, 3PL companies, and more.

Certified members of the C-TPAT can also enjoy some perks including reduced fees, faster processing times, and reduced inspections.

New C-TPAT Guidelines

On May 3, 2019, CBP and C-TPAT reviewed and released the final update to the Minimum Security Criteria (MSC) program. The new update aims to target the highest priority security threats, particularly in the fields of cybersecurity, agricultural containments, terrorism financing, and security technology. The initiative pushes members to implement the protection, prevention, and proper use of technologies and safety requirements based on the CBPs recommendations.

Throughout the rest of 2019, C-TPAT certified partners will be working to implement the MSC program internally, as per the proposed approach outlined by the CBP. It is recommended to integrate the new changes over four phases, with all members expected to be complying by 2020 (regardless of when their next validation is scheduled). The CBP has created three focus areas encompassing the 12 current MSC categories which apply across the supply chain to various groups. They are:

  • Corporate security, which oversees areas of risk assessment and business partner requirements, and will now include cybersecurity and security vision and responsibility.
  • Transportation security involves overseeing conveyance and instruments of international traffic security, seal security, procedural security, and the newly introduced agricultural security.
  • People and physical security, which refers to physical access controls, personnel and physical security, as well as education, training, and awareness.

Implementing the New Guidelines

What this means for members of the C-TPAT is that new changes may need to be addressed within your own company. It is the responsibility of all accepted partners to do their part to help ensure the safety of the supply chain among the people involved in the process. Since the new changes must be in place by 2020, members are encouraged to reach out to supply chain security specialists if they need help implementing something.

As we mentioned earlier, CBP recommends internally integrating the new MSC program in phases, to help ensure a sense of uniformity among members and ensure all the necessary steps are met.

The phases are as follows:

  1. Implementing cybersecurity programs, IIT security and seal security to combat cyberterrorism and hackers.
  2. Promoting the education, training, and awareness necessary to ensure all your employees and business partners are properly informed on areas such as business partner security and risk assessment.
  3. Introducing security vision and responsibility to your team, including highlighting the importance of physical security and physical access codes.
  4. Cracking down on agricultural security, including the prevention of containments and pests from entering the supply chain. During this phase, members should be introducing personnel security and procedural security, as well.

Staying Ahead in the Shipping Industry

Keeping the community protected from terrorist attacks via our shipping industry begins at the supply chain. By implementing well-researched, modernized security measures, the C-TPAT can help to reduce evolving supply chain threats. As the field of freight forwarding and importing becomes exponentially larger and more complex, the risk of attacks from global terror organizations and cyber-terrorists increases.

At Promptus LLC, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of issues affecting the supply chain and freight forwarding industry. To ensure affected parties are aware and well-informed of the proposed changes introduced by the MSC, the CBP offers webinars, weekly workshops, and workbooks. Promptus can help assist you with understanding the new C-TPAT regulations, and connect you with a Licensed Customs Broker. Call us at 1-877-776-6799 to receive your free quote today!

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Driverless Vehicles and Drone Deliveries: The Future of Logistics

Changing the Way We Ship and Receive Goods

the future of logistics

In the last few years, huge strides have been made in the way items are delivered to our homes. Food options, for example, have evolved well beyond the traditional pizza and Chinese options, going so far as to provide instant delivery from restaurants miles away from an app on your smartphone, used by busy parents, working professionals, or just about anyone who simply doesn’t want to leave their house. Plus, with popular online retailers offering lightning fast delivery options, like one-day or even same-day services, customers all over the world are enjoying the benefits of these advancements.

Above example is just to put in perspective how technology is affecting every aspect of our lives. In this blog we want to elaborate on what type of advancements will we start to see in the coming years as shipping technology develops.

The Future is Now

Once, self-driving cars and drones were only seen in futuristic movies. Today, there’s a good possibility you may see one or both of these technological advancements while walking down the street! Drones are especially popular and have many different uses, including the ability to carry and deliver items. Also called unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, drone technology is not necessarily new, but it is becoming more affordable and available to consumers who want to use it to take pictures, record videos, or for security purposes, to name a few. As early as this year, however, we will see drones functions evolve, allowing companies to program them to complete automatic deliveries to homes across the country!

Self-driving cars, on the other hand, are steadily becoming more available. Many car companies continue to explore on driver-less cars technology and are even offering autopilot options on new models. Many transportation companies are also testing automatic vehicles that can help deliver people and cargo safely to and from their pre-determined destination. This will allow a sense of comfort and ease, coupled with high-tech security and safety features, to users who are looking for an alternative to public or private transportation options.

What This Means for Shippers

While some of these changes are already here, many are still in the final stages of development, meaning there may be some time before they become available commercially. However, experts estimate that self-driving cars and drone deliveries will be officially on the scene by 2020. But what does this mean for consumers and companies offering delivery options? Surely this fancy new technology means prices will skyrocket, right?

Actually, this could mean more affordable shipping options for all parties! For fleet services and shipping companies, this will mean you can cut down on expenses and transportation times since trucks and cars will be automated. Drivers can either rest while the vehicle continues on its route – or they may be able to operate them completely remotely.

Automation in areas such as last-mile deliveries – which is a term that describes the trip that cargo takes from the transportation hub to its final destination – can help save time and money on deliveries. Robots and drones can help companies save money on gas and drivers, and can allow them to travel on surfaces or through areas traditional cars or trucks cannot. For example, major chains like FedEx, Pizza Hut, and WalMart teamed up earlier this year to test a delivery robot that can traverse streets, sidewalks, and even stairs at up to 10 miles an hour – completely automatically!

While this may not be available on a wide scale for smaller business and freight forwarding companies, it can still help pave the way for more affordable automation options for small businesses. Plus, the potential for return on your investment is high since this type of technology can help to save more on transportation costs in the long run!

Turn to the Future with Promptus

While technology continues to evolve around us, our needs remain the same across a global scale. The need to communicate, travel, and transport goods from different countries demands constant improvements. Importers and exporters, for example, can utilize remote filing options and advanced supply chain tools to help streamline their services. At Promptus LLC, we offer freight forwarding services to help facilitate LTL shipments internationally using technology and automation tools. Call us toll-free at 1-877-776-6799 to get a Free Quote today!

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Common Reasons For Shipping Setbacks: Shipper or Importer Delays

Documentation Issues Can Mean Cargo Delays

shipping setbacks shipper delays
Source

Shipping delays are not only an inconvenience to both the shipper and recipient, but they can mean hefty fees if there are errors on the exporter’s or importer’s end. It is the responsibility of the shipper to ensure all the packaging, paperwork, and documentation is correct before coordinating a shipment, whether it is domestic or international. For shipments heading to different countries, delays caused by things like improper packaging, incorrect documentation, missing documentation, or mislabeled cargo may be the cause of delays.

Preventing Shipping Hold Ups

When it comes to freight forwarding, it is essential for the exporter to be detail oriented to ensure no mistakes take place when preparing their cargo for transport. In addition to coordinating shipping routes that are both safe and efficient, it is the responsibility of the exporter to properly package their goods and put together shipping documents that accurately reflect the cargo that is being transported.

Having a licensed Freight Forwarder and US Customs Broker can help exporters and importers who are shipping goods to and from the United States ensure the proper steps are in place for a smooth movement of the cargo.

Here some common mistakes made by Exporters and Importers that are out the control of the carrier, the freight forwarder or Customs Broker, resulting in delays.

  • a) Errors in the Commercial Invoice: wrong description, wrong HTS, wrong number of pieces, etc.
  • b) Bill of Lading on hold at destination by the carrier (this applies when the shipper is hiring the carrier directly for the freight.)
  • c) Importer not registered with the proper PGA (Partner Government Agency) if required.
  • d) Incomplete documentation tendered to transportation company picking up cargo at shipper’s location.
  • e) Shipper not meeting documentation cut-offs.
  • f) Wrong contact person at loading location / wrong reference number for pick-up.
  • g) Load wrong equipment at pick-up location. This may happen when at the loading location there are multiple containers or trailers being loaded simultaneously and warehouse personnel loads cargo in the wrong container or trailer.
  • h) Not having proper hazmat placards (if applicable) or container seal, etc.

How to Handle a Cargo Delay

The best way to avoid shipping set-backs, like carrier delays or issues with your documents, is to team up with the experts! Promptus LLC offers clients full-scale freight forwarding services, including warehousing and distribution, ocean shipping, and customs brokerage! We can help you coordinate all aspects of your domestic or international shipments at affordable rates. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 for your Free Quote!

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Common Reasons For Shipping Setbacks: External Causes

Learn More About Factors that Can Impact Your Shipping Times

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Sometimes, forces beyond our control can disrupt carefully laid plans, especially when it comes to shipping services. Weather, foreign politics, port congestion, international holidays, and other external factors can affect shipping times for merchandise traveling all over the world. Many of these forces can be hard to predict due to their nature. At Promptus LLC, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the situations and what may cause them, so you can account for various setbacks when coordinating shipping services.

How to Deal With Unexpected Cargo Delays

Shipping delays are generally not part of the plan; on the contrary, getting your cargo to its destination safely and quickly is the goal with most companies. Unfortunately, however, certain factors can affect the carrier’s ability to meet its deadline. Remember, even the most carefully laid out plan can be disrupted, so staying educated can help you decide what to do in the event of an external shipping setback.

Certain situations like port congestion or unexpected weather emergencies can be impossible to anticipate, but working with a licensed US customs broker and a knowledgeable freight forwarder can help you find solutions to all your shipping concerns.

Weather Delays

Meteorologists work carefully to study the atmosphere and weather patterns around the world to anticipate potential storms or other climate changes that may affect people in the area. If you are planning shipping services using containerships or airplanes, being aware of potential weather disruptions can help you plan your carrier’s route.

Hurricanes, snowstorms, flash flooding, and similar natural disasters can often make roads hard to navigate or oceans and skies dangerous. Our goal would be to help you understand when these risks are highest in certain areas and how to plan a shipment when heavy rains, winds, and other weather complications arise.

Port Congestion

A port of entry can be either an airport or a seaport, depending on the mode of transport you are using. If you are shipping across a long distance or using intermodal transportation, your goods may call more than one port during its trip. However, with billions of tons of cargo traveling across the world every day, your carrier is probably not the only shipping company bringing their goods through the port.

Congestion is, unfortunately, a common issue that can lead to shipping delays, and is often hard to predict if you aren’t a seasoned freight forwarder. Several things can cause port congestion, including equipment shortage, inclement weather, customs delays, and spikes in demand (especially during the holidays).

Customs Inspections

Customs agencies in the US or any other country in the world reserve the right to inspect any international shipment coming into the country at any point in time.

While correctly and thoroughly filling out the accompanying paperwork can often help streamline Customs inspections, it is not a guarantee that your cargo will not be selected for closer examination.

Here in the US the CBP must monitor all incoming cargo imported into the United States; and they follow strict rules. For example, certain foods, animals, or hazardous materials must be handled in a certain way or may be banned entirely from entering the country. In other cases, there are requirements for the type of paperwork, packaging, labeling or marking that must be followed and were not appropriately met. Also, outgoing shipments can be subject to inspection, causing unexpected delays that sometimes stretch for days or weeks.

Instability at Origin or Destination Country

International shipping laws can vary from country to country, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the regulations in the destination and origin countries. Some nations may be struggling with political turmoil, which could affect the tasks of the governmental agencies involved in the import or export process, others may be affected with labor shortages or strikes, terrorism, lack of financial stability, and other related issues. These issues are less unexpected, but they are impossible to control, so staying updated on current events in countries you plan to import or export goods can help you anticipate potential shipping disasters.

Need Help Navigating Shipping Setbacks?

With over 15 years of freight forwarding experience, you can count on the team at Promptus LLC to understand the inner workings of the global logistics industry. We are familiar with major ports all over the world, travel patterns, potential weather risks in certain areas, and international holidays that are notorious for slowing down shipping times. Armed with this information, we can help you plan all your import/export needs so you can help reduce shipping delays and provide excellent customer service. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 for your free quote!

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Common Reasons For Shipping Setbacks: Carrier Delays

Is Your Cargo Behind Schedule? Your Shipping Company May Know Why

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Shipping timelines are often stringent, and meeting deadlines is an essential aspect of maintaining customer expectations. Unfortunately, the fact is that cargo does not always arrive on time, as many factors can contribute to potentially delaying the arrival of your merchandise. In this blog we will cover those factors inherent to the carrier and in subsequent blogs we will deal with other causes of delays non related to the carriers.

Why Does Cargo Get Delayed

The best way to help avoid shipping delays when transporting cargo is being diligent. This means double-checking paperwork, ensuring all the details and information are correct and easy to understand. Take the time to find a reliable freight forwarder which will help reduce your risk of mistakes that could delay your cargo.

In some cases, the holdup is not due to a mistake on your end nor the freight forwarder. If you have thoroughly coordinated the shipping arrangements, and your cargo will end up arriving late, it may be due to carrier delays. Here are some common issues that may hinder the transportation time.

Intermodal Issues

Intermodal shipping involves the use of more than one mode of transportation. This method is often the most cost-efficient way to get your goods to their destination and typically combines train and trucking to help cross long distances. However, this also means that there is twice the risk when it comes to shipping delays.

Let’s say you have an ocean shipment set up to go from St. Louis, MO to Buenos Aires, Argentina and it will sail out of the port of Houston, TX; the domestic intermodal leg will involve truck and rail to move it to the port of sailing. If the trucking company mixes up the paperwork that accompanies your goods – this could mean that your cargo won’t meet the cut-off at the rail ramp, therefore your cargo will miss the vessel cut off in Houston, even though everything went smoothly initially.

Mechanical Problems

Of course, some issues are beyond human control, like engine failure or mechanical troubles. Just like with cars; shipping vessels, trucks, airplanes, and trains need to be serviced, and sometimes something malfunctions – this could mean delays for your cargo. Often ocean carriers notify their customers that vessel departure is delayed due to mechanical problems. Same happens with cargo airlines. A reliable freight forwarder will keep you informed of these delays and will advise on what to expect.

Lack of Equipment

Another reason that your merchandise is delayed in transit may be due to a lack of equipment at origin or destination. Let’s say you organize an international shipment and you have requested a 45’ container to load in Boston, MA bound to Germany; however after booking has been confirmed by the carrier, you receive a notification from your cargo agent indicating that the carrier has not been able to locate an empty 45’ container in the area and they do not foresee availability for one in the upcoming week. Many other times container availability is not the only problem, but the lack of trucks to move the equipment from the shipper’s location to the port or the rail ramp.

In other instances, the lack of equipment is a problem at the destination port. The merchandise arrives at the port by the estimated date, but there is a shortage of chassis or other necessary equipment for the cargo to continue the journey smoothly to final destination.

In the end shortage of equipment is a today’s real problem for the industry and are an important cause of setbacks.

Unexpected Schedule Changes

As we mentioned, shipping arrangements usually operate under certain time restrictions. Your shipping company may operate under specific schedules that you must adhere to in order to get your goods where they need to go. That means any unexpected deviations from the predetermined schedule will inevitably lead to delays in arrival time for your shipments.

The causes of these changes can vary: such as unexpected issues at the port of call of your cargo, which will cause that vessel will skip this port to meet the timeline for the other ports and when issue is normalized it will return; other times a mechanical problem of a vessel causes a change in the itinerary of the vessel carrying your cargo since now this vessel will accommodate cargo from the vessel in trouble; same situation happens with airlines.

A Comprehensive Freight Forwarding Company Can Help

While certain elements cannot be controlled, it is imperative to be prepared for all circumstances when it comes to global logistics. At Promptus LLC, we offer patients ocean shipping, warehouse and distribution services, and access to Licensed Customs Brokers to help ensure all your documentation is accurate and adequately presented. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to get a free quote for our services!

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