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Category Archives: Freight Forwarding

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

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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
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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

shipping delays external causes
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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

common shipping setbacks
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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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Everything You Need to Know About IMO’s IMDG and IATA’s DGR

Learn the Importance of Properly Shipping Dangerous Goods

what-you need to know imo imdg and dgr
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Working with dangerous goods can be – well, dangerous – so it is essential to adhere to specific rules and regulations to lessen the chance of accidents. When shipping hazardous materials, the risk can be higher, especially if the shippers and everybody involved in the supply chain do not follow proper packing and storing instructions. Governing organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Internal Maritime Organization (IMO) are responsible for overseeing and enforcing guidelines, codes, and ordinances that help to keep the crew, cargo, and transport vessels safe.

What is the IMDG Code?

To help reduce tragedies overseas IMO introduced the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. This code is an extension of the SOLAS treaty, whose current version was implemented in 1974. Officially known as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, SOLAS is responsible for dealing with many aspects of maritime safety, including the correct handle and transport of dangerous goods.

Maritime officials adopted the IMDG code in 1965 and introduced them as recommendary, but not necessary, guidelines for transporting dangerous goods in packaged form. It wasn’t until 2002 that the IMO upgraded it to mandatory under the backing of the SOLAS convention.

The Code provides details relevant to all hazardous materials, including individual substances, elements, or articles. It also covers matters related to proper packaging, container stowage and traffic, and necessary guidelines on isolating incompatible materials.

HAZMAT Regulations and DGD Forms

Where IMO handles ocean transportation, IATA is responsible for air transportation, including import and export cargo. Part of their responsibilities includes setting the standards for transporting HAZMAT products, which is outlined in the Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). For over 60 years, the international airline industry has accepted the regulations and instructions provided in this guide as the global standard for handling dangerous goods. The guide is regularly updated with relevant new information. The 60th edition, for example, released new changes to the DGR on January 1, 2019.

 You May Also Like: “Safety in the Sky: IATA’s #1 Priority 

Under these international regulations, the DGR requires shippers to fill out a specific form that states the cargo has been properly packed, labeled, and declared as per IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). This form, known as the DGD (dangerous goods declaration), enables shippers to identify all the details of the hazardous materials to ensure all parties handle it accordingly.

For your convenience, IATA allows shippers (or a Licensed Freight Forwarder) to electronically file the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods known as the e-DGD. This option also provides access to an electronic database that provides members of the shipping industry the ability to both digitalize and share their data using the platform.

What Do These Regulations Cover?

While the IMO and the IATA’s guidelines vary based on the different stipulations related to the sea and the air, respectively, the goal is ultimately the same: to help prevent any risks associated with the transport of dangerous cargo.

Here are some of the things they cover:

  • Training requirements
  • Classifications of hazardous materials
  • Handling instructions for crew members
  • Security provisions
  • Important codes, marking, and labels

Stay On Top of Important Regulations

While it is the personal responsibility of every member of the import/export industry to familiarize themselves with the corresponding codes according to their shipping needs, we understand some areas can be more complicated to understand than other. At Promptus LLC, we have over 15 years of experience working with air and ocean shipping services, and we work diligently to stay on top of new guidelines introduced by IATA and IMO.

Our team of Licensed Customs Brokers can help you go coordinate shipments involving dangerous materials to ensure all the necessary rules surrounding paperwork, packaging, and transport are successfully met. Contact us today to get a Free Quote for our freight forwarding services!

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Most common causes of Cargo Ship Accidents

Errors in Packaging Could Mean Bad News For Cargo Ships

cargo ship accidents
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The world of cargo is immense, with millions of tons transported by containerships every year. Just like trucks or airplanes, there is a potential for mishaps to occur in the ocean. Thankfully, maritime accidents are not commonplace, and there are plenty of regulations in place to help avoid tragedies onboard and in the port. But, of course, it is essential to be prepared for anything and to know how to reduce the chance of any possible mishaps.

Mislabeled, improperly packed, or incorrectly declared cargo are not just ways to cut corners but could pose a more significant risk to everyone onboard and the cargo. Following we will illustrate some accidents in recent years.

The Importance of Correctly Labeling Combustible Cargo

Less than a year after leaving the shipyard, a cargo ship in 2002, named the Hanjin Pennsylvania, was heading along a voyage from Singapore to Germany when an explosion erupted in a cargo hold. Four days later, a second explosion shook the 282-meter ship. Investigations eventually revealed the cause of the blast: containers filled with fireworks that were misdeclared in the ship’s manifest.

The carrier in which this type of cargo travels and when declared properly, will take a series of measures that will ensure the safe voyage of this and the rest of the cargoes on board. It may cost more to ship flammable materials like fireworks, but if an accident due to misdeclaration or similar errors occur, the liabilities for the shipper are huge.

Misdeclaration of Cargo Could Lead to Tragedy

In 2007, the crew of a cargo ship was packing away a container with a label that mentioned calcium chloride, which is a generally harmless chemical. The crew read the paperwork, and stowed it deep within the ship, near the engine room.

In reality, the container held calcium hypochlorite – which may not seem like a big difference – but can mean disaster if it is exposed to certain impurities or temperatures of 86˚F – 131˚F. In fact, because of this, many shipping companies refuse to transport this chemical. As expected, the container holding the cal hypo exploded, resulting in over $3 million in damages and a fire that lasted several days. Had the team onboard known, they likely would have taken measures to keep it stored safely.

In 2012, a German container ship, the MSC Flaminia, endured a series of explosions and a raging fire during a voyage across the North Atlantic. Tragically, this resulted in fatalities onboard the ship, before the remaining crew members were rescued by another ship. The ship continued to burn for several weeks, causing serious environmental hazards as well as severe damage to the vessel and the cargo. The fire onboard the MSC Flaminia raised new concerns about misdeclared cargo. Typically, containers housing explosive or flammable materials are carried on the decks, for safety. However, if the manifest in falsified or the container is incorrectly labeled, the crew may unknowingly stow it inside the cargo hold, which could result in potential hazards – such as a fire.

A similar incident occurred recently, in 2018, aboard the 353-meter Maersk Honam Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS). The vessel erupted in flames on the Arabian sea while transporting over 7,800 tonnes of cargo. After a week of constant burning, the entire cargo area was destroyed, and at one point, it’s reported the flames were so hot, it could be seen from space. This fire also tragically resulted in multiple deaths, while the remaining crew members were safely evacuated onto a nearby containership.

While the cause of the Maersk Honam fire is still under investigation, there is evidence that points to misdeclaration of hazards cargo as a primary factor. It’s estimated that over 5.4 million containers are packed with dangerous goods (DG) every year, which means following regulations is extremely important to help avoid tragedies like those listed above. Additionally, the more cargo is onboard, the higher the potential for risks like fire. The regulations listed in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Codes (IMDG) state how the carriage of hazardous materials should be handled, but each country is responsible for enforcing it at their borders.

Avoid Incorrect Declarations With Help From Our Logistics Team

Cutting corners, or even accidentally mislabeling a container of merchandise may seem like a simple slip up, but it could potentially lead to a major disaster. A Licensed US Customs broker is trained to understand what type of declarations are needed to ship hazardous or dangerous cargo, and they can help you avoid making a catastrophic mistake. Promptus LLC has over 15 years of experience organizing with ocean shipping routes around the world to ensure your cargo arrives safely to its destination. Contact us today to get your free freight forwarding quote from our experts!

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Safety in the Sky: IATA’s #1 Priority

Everything You Need to Know About IATA’s Six-Point Strategy

Safety in the air: IATA
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What is the IATA?

The International Air Transport Association – or IATA – is of vital importance in the world’s air transportation, and its members represent 82% of the world’s aviation traffic; making them one of the most significant organizations in international shipping. Among other things IATA is involved with issues having to do with the integrity of all aircrafts, the welfare of passengers, crewmembers and cargo, as well as the creation and enforcement of many safety regulations.

With over 280 members from 120 nations, IATA works diligently to ensure the safety of all flights traveling around the world. They use a comprehensive approach to handle any safety issue that may arise. It is known as The Six Point Safety Strategy, and it helps to keep more than 100,000 flights safely in the air every day.

Familiarize Yourself With the Six-Point Strategy

As the name suggests, IATA’s key safety strategy focuses on six main areas. To create these, the IATA coordinated with some of their Strategic Partners, such as the Safety Group (SG) and the Operations Committee (OPC).

#1. Reduce Operational Risk

Operational risks are the primary concern for any airline, as this can mean grounded flights and serious safety concerns for passengers and crewmembers. IATA performs in-depth analysis and assessments to help address issues such as:

  • Cabin Safety. Before takeoff, the attendants on board will ask you to please turn off all electronics and put up tray tables. They also perform a demonstration on what to do in the unlikely event of a crash. It’s one example of cabin safety, but there is much more to involved than proper safety protocol. IATA works to help prevent and reduce incidents or accidents in the cabin.
  • Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I). When the captain and crew members lose control of the aircraft and are unable to keep the plane on its designated course, it is called a Loss of Control In-Flight. LOC-I is one of the top contributors to fatal accidents around the world, which is why enforcing regulations and assessments to help prevent this is high on IATA’s list of priorities. Loss of control can occur for different reasons, including engine failure or weather conditions, or stalls, and is one of the most intricate aspects of aircraft safety regulation.
  • Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). Unlike a LOC-I risk, a CFIT refers to an accident where the aircraft collided with some type of terrain, water, or obstacle, without the flight crew losing control of the plane.
  • Runway Safety. To help a flight go smoothly from beginning to end, the flight crew must follow regulations regarding runway safety. It remains the highest priority on IATA’s lists, as it represents a considerable risk to aviation safety.
  • Fatigue Management. When onboard an aircraft, for example on a domestic passenger flight, it is the responsibility of the crew members to stay alert and focused. Fatigue is now recognized as a potential safety hazard. Since it cannot be wholly eliminated, especially on long flights, the IATA has implemented management tools to help address the possible implications.
  • Mid-air Collision. In-flight crashes do occur, and although they are quite rare, the resulting damage can be disastrous. To help take care of any risk of mid-air collision during a flight, IATA calls on Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to issue resolution advisories.

#2. Enhance Quality and Compliance

To continue ensuring and enhancing security throughout the world, the IATA uses an Operational Safety Audit, known as IOSA, to cover internationally recognized aviation policies, processes, and procedures.

The Audit programs include:

  • IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO): This applies to ground handles and all aviation operations that occur on land.
  • IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA): This audit works alongside the general IOSA to further promote operational safety.
  • IATA Fuel Quality Pool (IFQP): The IFQP consists of airlines that share crucial information related to fuel, such as inspection reports and workloads at different locations.
  • IATA Drinking-Water Quality Pool (IDQP): Different airlines around the world work together to audit the quality of the potable water throughout the world.
  • IATA De-Icing/Anti-Icing Quality Control Pool (DAQCP): When freezing rain hit the surface of an aircraft, but do not freeze right away, it causing small protrusions that look a bit like horns. This occurrence is called icing. The DAQCP oversees de-icing regulations and services for airlines around the globe.

#3. Advocate for Improved Aviation Infrastructure

This strategy is relatively straightforward and allows the IATA to implement regulations that help enhance ATM infrastructures.

#4. Support Consistent Implementation of Safety Management System

The Safety Management System (SMS), helps to support the IOSA with the Six-Point Strategy. The framework offers the ability to focus on monitoring safety performance, analyzing and disseminating information, and promoting safety and facilitation in aviation.

#5. Support Effective Recruitment and Training

A tree is only as sound as its roots, and a team is only as powerful as the people working together. IATA considers recruiting and training aviation professionals a safety priority, and offers IATA training and licensing for Air Traffic Control (ATC), Ground Handling Agents (GHA), and more. They offer trainees and students in-company and classroom training courses to help ensure they are fully equipped to perform their duties.

#6. Identify and Address Emerging Safety Issues

As new developments arise in aviation, IATA must address any safety concerns that might be associated with it. Also, new technology means understanding how it could interact with the plane’s navigation and what should and shouldn’t be allowed within the cabin of an aircraft. The IATA uses a program they call the Global Aviation Data Management (GADM), to help monitor emerging safety issues. It currently includes information from over 470 organizations, assisting the IATA to identify any global safety concerns.

In recent years, regulations in lithium batteries, portable electronic devices, and even remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) have been the responsibility of the IATA.

Having Trouble Understanding the Aviation Industry?

Promptus LLC is a leading global logistics company, offering over 15 years of experience in freight forwarding across land, sea, and air. Our experienced team understands the aviation industry and will work closely with your company to ensure your merchandise arrives at its destination in a successful and timely manner. We offer Customs Brokerage assistance for clients who need to transport good internationally and want to avoid any unnecessary complications at the border. To learn more about our import and export services, contact us for your Free Quote today!

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