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Category Archives: Freight Forwarding

Common Reasons For Shipping Setbacks: Shipper or Importer Delays

Documentation Issues Can Mean Cargo 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

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

Learn the Importance of Properly Shipping Dangerous Goods

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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

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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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SOLAS, IMO, and Other Important Maritime Acronyms

Learn About the Organizations Improving Safety At Sea

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When it comes to regulating and governing the thousands of cargo ships that are travelling the world’s waterways on a daily basis it can’t be the responsibility of any one government but of all governments interested in a well-functioning mechanism to secure standardization, consistency and proper guidelines to protect the shipping industry and most importantly the lives of those of at sea.

Of that thought the IMO has created treaties, committees, and an organization formed over the years with the dedicated responsibility of ensuring the safety of those at sea.

Brief History of SOLAS and Maritime Safety

The SOLAS Convention (also known as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea), is regarded as one of the most important treaties to be signed in to maritime law for the protection of merchant ships. The very first iteration of the SOLAS treaty was adopted following the Titanic tragedy, in 1914. The version used today, sometimes stylized as SOLAS 74, has seen many amendments and changes over the years, and as new provisions are introduced, new addendums are made.

Operating under the IMO, or the International Maritime Organization, SOLAS determines the minimum standards of safety that must be followed for the construction, maintenance, and operation of merchant ships. These regulations are enforced by the various Flag States, under which certain ships are assigned. These Flag States must ensure that their merchant’s vessels are compliant with the minimum required standards to ensure the safety of the boat, its crew, and any passengers. Certificates are distributed via the Convention to act as proof that the necessary authorities have inspected the ship and deemed it acceptable for transport.

How Does the IMO Work?

The development of international regulations has proven to be the best way to manage a large number of maritime vessels transporting both goods and people across the seas. Starting sometime in the 1900s, various countries around the world began drawing up treaties to help introduce better maritime practices and ensure safety for everyone involved. Shortly after the induction of the United Nations, a conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1948.

The first version of IMO was then born, under the name Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO). In 1958, the UN adopted the IMO convention we know today (the name changes finally came in 1982) and the organization began meeting the following year. By this time, treaties like SOLAS were already in place, but the IMO set out to update them to better reflect the changes of the decade. That was their first order of business, and SOLAS, 1960, was introduced.

Over the next few years following the introductions of SOLAS, the IMO set out to establish a number of standards, most of which remain active today. To ensure all parties followed these standards, certain committees and sub-committees were formed with specific responsibilities. These committees are responsible for policy-making, for example. Their respective titles describe each Committee’s area of focus, as follows:

  • Facilitation Committee (FAL)
  • Legal Committee (LEG)
  • Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
  • Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)
  • Technical Co-operation Committee (TC)

The seven consequent Sub-Committees help to support the efforts of these main Committees, and they act under the direct command of the MSC and MEPC. Like the other Committees, their work is designated by their respective titles.

IMO Sub-Committees

Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)

Maritime safety is about much more than ensuring the security of cargo moving overseas. It is about ensuring proper construction of merchant transport vessels, helping to reduce pollution, crime, and even facilitating traffic on the seas. Their slogan, “Safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans,” helps to highlight the IMO’s goals. The sub-committees directed by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) work to help uphold those goals. Here is a brief breakdown of each Sub-Committee and how they contribute to the IMO.

Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC)

The primary responsibility of the CCC, as the name suggests, is to help regulate the type of cargo containers. In specific, they help to implement codes, as well as survey and certify that everyone is following regulations surrounding cargo operations and carriages. This can include things like the transportation of packaged dangerous goods, bulk gas cargoes, solid bulk cargoes within containers. The CCC also helps to evaluate any hazards related to pollution or environmental concerns and helps to ensure all parties are in cooperation with the UN, and any other important agencies, like IGOs and NGOs.

Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW)

Self-explanatory enough, this sub-committee is responsible for the “human side of things”, which can include training and certification of any persons that may need it. The HTW also provides guidance with issues like fatigue or illness, and update and revise IMO model courses.

Implementation of IMO Instruments (III)

The III is tasked with matters related to IMO treaty instruments, many of which include the Flag States. For example, they III must review the rights and responsibilities of the Flag States, assess and review the current level of implementation for various IMO instructions by the States, and be able to identify any reasons why there may be difficulties, if any, implementing provisions of current or new IMO instruments.

Navigation, Radio-communication and Search & Rescue (NCSR)

The NCSR works in liaison with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding maritime and aeronautical radiocommunication and search & rescue matters. They also deal with all Government obligation related to the safety of navigation, carriage requirements and performance standards for shipborne navigation equipment, and operational protocols. Some of which are regarding dangerous situations, collisions and grounding, voyage planning, and measures recommended for the international maritime search and rescue operations.

Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR)

As you can imagine, this Sub-Committee is in charge of implementing regulations that help to prevent and reduce pollution of marine environments. This pollution can be related to ships or other vessels, hazardous materials, or harmful aquatic organisms, the latter of which can get into ballast water and sediments and cause damage. The PPR is also responsible for environmentally safe recycling procedures, such as with ships and containers.

Ship Design and Construction (SDC)

The SDC, formerly known as DE, FP, and SLF, helps to enforce all matters regarding, as the name states, the design and construction of maritime vessels, including materials, measurement matters, certifications, and load lines. This Sub-Committee also helps to ensure the safety of fishermen and their ships.

Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE)

Like the SDC, the SSE focuses on ship-related matters, in this case, the systems and equipment of the vessels. This can include things like machinery, electrical equipment installations, and the testing (and approval) of new systems. The SSE also implements life-saving appliances, as well as takes regular analyses of incident and casualties related to a ship’s system or equipment.

Stay Well-Informed on Maritime Matters

The work of the IMO and the UN is extremely important to anyone who works with ocean shipping, but it isn’t always the easiest to comprehend. With over 15 years of experience with global logistics, Promptus LLC can help you understand exactly what all the important PGAs and Alphabet Agencies do and which you should familiarize yourself with. Getting a Licensed Customs Broker on board can also help to ensure you don’t forget any important documentation that might get you in hot water with the IMO, resulting in additional fees or penalties. Contact us at 305-687-1405 today to get a quote for our services!

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Two of the Most Important Organizations in International Shipping

Who Are IMO and IATA?

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The fact is that the world of today could not exist without International shipping and knowing the regulations and the processes that are involved in the shipping of goods around the world is of vital importance. There are two very important organizations that have been and are of major support to the shipping industry: IMO and IATA.

Who Governs Safety and Security in International Shipping?

The IMO and the IATA are two major organizations that set the rules and standards for safety and security in international transportation. They each play their own significant role in helping to regulate ocean and air shipping standards.

IMO – International Maritime Organization

The responsibility of maritime safety and security of the seas lies with the IMO, or the International Maritime Organization. This entity also aids in preventing the pollution of the seas, get involved in legal international affairs, trainings, conferences, etc.

As an agency of the United Nations, the IMO is “the global standard-setting authority” in charge of regulating the safety and environmental performance of all international shipments. The main role of the I.M.O. is to develop a framework for the shipping industry that can be used universally and offers an equally fair standard that all import and export companies can easily follow.

Since the shipping industry is of a true international nature, and cannot be regulated by any one country or government, it requires a regulatory entity to set the standards and then implement the rules worldwide. When it comes to ocean shipping, the IMO is the governing power that develops, enforces, and maintains maritime regulations. Their first conference took place in 1960, which led to the creation of the International Convention on Safety and Life at Sea (or SOLAS) treaty. As a result, more conventions and international conferences took place and continue throughout the years.

One of the many responsibilities of IMO is also maritime security, which became a top priority following the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985. The organization took necessary strides to implement security guidelines that would help prevent future unlawful acts against passengers and crew members aboard ships.

Another area the IMO is responsible for is pollution and environmental issues related to the sea. To accomplish this mission they work to develop universally understood guidelines, like sustainable maritime transportation concepts, and international codes, like the Code of Safety Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code), or the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

IATA – International Air Transport Association

As the name suggests, the IATA is the global authority on the world’s air transportation, representing 82% of the world’s aviation traffic. The association was founded in 1945, in Havana, Cuba, and today it extends to some 280 members from 120 nations around the world. The IATA is a conduit for inter-airline collaborations, helping to promote safe, secure, and economical air services since its inception. Reliability is paramount when coordinating airline transportation, so it is a fundamental priority of the IATA to ensure global standards for airlines, both passenger and cargo.

Aside from helping to ensure the welfare of any person aboard any aircraft, as well as the integrity of any merchandise, the IATA helps create regulations that make the transportation of goods by air safe and straightforward. For example, IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) is the trusted source for correctly preparing, handling, and accepting dangerous goods shipments by air.

The IATA’s support to airline industries is vast and entails duties like being responsible for the creation of identification codes for the airlines – which are essential for identification of an airline, destinations, and essential documents – as well as codes for international airports that are used to help develop Air Traffic Management technology.

 You May Also Like: “Are You Familiar With the PGAs Involved with Import/Export Services? 

We Can Help Educate You on Import and Export Regulations

At Promptus LLC, we recognize the importance of these organizations, and we strive to uphold and abide by their guidelines and rules. Our dedicated team works closely with all clients to ensure that they are familiar with the various organizations, laws, regulations, and applicable duties that might be necessary for a successful shipment. With over 15 years of freight forwarding experience under our belt, we can help you sort through any complicated documents or shipping routes while helping you understand every step of the process. Contact us today to help you evaluate your shipping needs.

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10 Important Questions to Ask Your Freight Forwarder

Staying Informed Can Help You Pick The Best Logistics Service

10 questions to ask freight forwarder

Cargo shipping and transport is a valuable service, utilized by countless industries worldwide. However, not everyone knows exactly what they need or how to facilitate the import or export of goods. That’s where a 3PL comes in, also known as a third-party logistics company.

Freight forwarding companies can help you coordinate shipments both domestic and international. Ideally, you can find a company that offers full-scale services to help you with every aspect of the process. Finding the right one can take some time, therefore ask questions so that you can be sure they can take care of your shipping needs. Here’s a list of vital questions you should ask and know their answers before moving forward with a freight forwarding company.

Before Hiring, Be Sure to Ask

1. Are You Licensed?

Before you go anywhere in the hiring process, be sure to find out if a valid licensing agency has certified the freight forwarder you are interviewing. This will validate that they have been adequately screened and that they met all the necessary licensing requirements. Our company, for example, has the following credentials:

  • Licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) as a Freight Forwarder and as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)
  • Our Customs Brokers are licensed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Certified as an Indirect Air Carrier (IAC) by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA)
  • In-Bond Export Consolidation (IBEC) and Container Freight Station (CFS) credentials, licensed by the CBP
  • Certified by CBP under their security program, Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT)
  • Certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to handle dangerous goods

2. Do You Provide Cargo Insurance?

In many cases, importers and exporters make the mistake of assuming that the carrier automatically provides insurance that will cover the cargo. Unfortunately, however, this is false. Unless the company issues you an insurance certificate your shipment is uninsured by the carrier, and it will be under your responsibility. We highly recommend that you ask your potential Freight Forwarder if they offer cargo insurance and their rates.

3. Can You Help Me Clear My Shipment Through Customs?

Unless you are working with a freight company that is also a Licensed US Customs Broker, your logistics company will leave clearing shipments and submitting paperwork to the US Customs and Border Protection agency entirely up to you. The trouble is, this is an essential service in the supply chain and it can disrupt the process of getting your cargo to its final destination within the designated time frame.

Additionally, if your freight forwarder does not offer customs brokerage, you’ll have to find a separate company to handle the clearance of your import shipment. Promptus is Licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection agency to offer Customs Brokerage services in any port or airport in the United States.

4. What Does Your Rate Include?

As with any service you hire, you deserve to know exactly what you are paying for. Some freight forwarders may choose to present their rates as a lump sum or a totaled amount, which can work well if they detail their services in the quote. If the services are not transparent, be sure to ask. There are many fees involved in a simple transaction that companies might present in their own way. Here’s an example. Let’s say you need an LCL import shipment, your logistics bill might include the freight from origin to port of destination, but you might incur additional fees with the handling and storing charges of the deconsolidation warehouse at the arrival point.

5. What Are the Costs at the Destination (When Exporting)?

Here’s one you might not always think to ask. There will be costs at the destination, but these will vary depending on the carrier, the port, and the country of destination, etc. In many cases, the forwarder arranging the shipment can help give you an estimate of these costs, which you or the consignee of the shipment will have to pay at destination.

6. Are There Any Requirements to Be Aware of When Shipping to The Country of Destination?

Before arranging a shipment to any country, you should first find out if there are any specific regulations or requirements you need to be aware of to export your goods. Your logistics team or any freight forwarder you are considering should be able to inform you. Typically, the requirements are related to the type of cargo you are shipping.

For example, certain food products require a phytosanitary certificate, which must be issued by the US Department of Agriculture. Some countries will not accept your cargo unless the appropriate document has been issued by the proper entity in the country of origin. In cases like this, our team will guide you through the process.

7. Do You Have a Tracking System?

Tracking is an essential tool in today’s logistics world. For safety and security reasons, more and more customers are requesting real-time information and increased visibility on their cargo. Having this information gives customers peace of mind. Promptus uses a powerful transportation management system (TMS) that gives clients instant information for any shipments that we are assisting with. Our company provides access to documents, packing lists, commercial invoices, and will even provide pictures of your cargo if we receive it in our warehouse.

8. Do You Operate Your Warehouse?

While you might think this a given for a logistics company, with the ever-changing technologies in today’s virtual world, some freight forwarder can outsource their services. Be wary in these cases, as these companies might operate under the guise that their warehouse or services are under their direct supervision and control, even though this is untrue. While outsourced logistics certainly have their place, you have a right to know exactly who is handling your cargo. A freight forwarder that operates their own warehouse can be beneficial for you, as it allows you more control and flexibility over what happens with your goods.

9. How Quickly Can You Provide A Quote?

At Promptus, we believe that it shouldn’t take longer than 24-48 hours to deliver a quote, though some cases may require more time than others. The response time for a freight forwarding quote can vary based on the type of equipment, the country of origin, the kind of cargo, and other factors. At Promptus we will always tell the customer upfront the estimated time when they will receive our rates proposals.

10. What Options Do You Offer For Assisting With Import and Export Compliance?

As an importer or exporter, you are expected to comply with specific regulations and responsibilities. This is a crucial part of executing a successful transaction. Promptus takes pride in their experience and knowledge in the area of import and export compliance. Our goal is to guide you and simplify the process. We will also advise you of any responsibilities you should be aware of, such as declaring the cargo correctly, having the proper import permits or export licenses, paying any necessary duties and taxes to CBP, and more. Our team of experts has over 15 years of experience and is fully prepared to help you every step of the way.

Don’t Hesitate To Ask the Experts

Do you have more questions you’d like to ask to determine exactly what type of freight forwarding assistance you need? Promptus is happy to help! We specialize in a number of services, including ocean shipping, Customs Brokerage, and warehousing & distribution. We own our own facility, which is licensed as a Container Freight Station & IBEC to consolidate and deconsolidating import cargo, as well as to handle cargo in transit. Contact us today! We’d be happy to answer any additional questions and provide you with a Free Quote for your global logistics needs.

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How is Oversized Cargo Transported Overseas?

Extra Large Shipment? Learn About Your Ocean Transport Options

how is oversized cargo transported overseas

Do you have a large amount of cargo that you need to ship internationally? Are you having trouble finding options to transport your merchandise? Promptus, LLC is here to assist. Instead of worrying about the logistics of exporting your goods and wondering whether it is too large or will incur additional fees, trust in our professionals. We offer freight forwarding services to help you coordinate shipments both big and small, which leaves you free to take care of business.

First, let’s define what exactly is considered oversized, heavy cargo.

How To Tell If Your Shipment Is Oversized

Generally, oversized cargo has a different definition based on the mode of transportation you are using. For over-the-road trucking, oversized goods are defined as any load whose dimensions exceed 8.5 ft in width and 13.5-14.5 ft in length, however for ocean transportation any piece of cargo that does not fit in one 40’ or 45’ container is considered oversized.

The weight of the cargo, on the other hand, does not have strict parameters that specify whether it is considered “heavy” or not. However, when organizing the transport of cargo by land or sea, there are limits on how much weight a particular equipment can carry. Countries and states can also dictate weight limits.

How Heavy Cargo Gets Transported

Every day thousands of oversized and heavy pieces of cargo are transported via land and sea worldwide. But exactly how do they make it overseas? How does the Megabus from Germany make its way to highways in the United States? Or how does the giant dump truck made in Peoria, Illinois end up in the mines of Peru?

Using specialized equipment and vessels that have become useful when moving oversized goods, companies can transport items virtually anywhere there is an applicable port.

Roll On/Roll Off Carriers

These carriers are the best option when it comes to the transportation of large cargo shipments. The below deck warehouse featured on the ‘roll on/roll off’ carriers is favorite among transporting motor vehicles like dump trucks, back and front loaders, motorhomes, buses, and other similar large automobiles. This is because this option offers ease of access, unlike other transportation options. Typically, these vehicles are driven straight into the hull of the vessel, where workers secure them for travel.

Other types of cargo – for example, items that can’t be driven or propelled – are loaded onto the roll on/roll off carriers using a MAFI trailer, which is a rolling platform that can be towed or pushed by a tractor. Using the MAFI, the cargo can be loaded on an off the ship quickly.

Flat Rack

The flat rack is another tool that logistics companies use to load oversized cargo onto a vessel. It is, as the name describes a flat surface without any walls or roof, which allows the necessary flexibility required to move goods that have a height or width that extends beyond conventional container capacities. These flat racks can be driven directly into the hull of the vessel, as well.

Load-on Lift-off (LOLO)

Not all heavy and oversized cargo is shipped using roll on/roll off vessels, some freight is even too large to fit on these, or the cost of accommodating them is just too high. That doesn’t mean there is no way to transport them, but rather than you must use a different method. Typically, cargo that is too large for even the roll on/roll off vessels can be loaded using the LOLO method. The term refers to ships with onboard cranes that are used to, quite literally, lift the cargo from the holding area and load it onto the vessel’s deck.

Need A Hand? Promptus Can Help

It can be difficult to arrange a shipment that has oversized cargo. If you don’t find the best shipping method, you may end up spending an exponential amount on transportation – or worse, on fees. Instead, trust the experts. Our team of freight forwarders has over 15 years of experience that can help you import or export your items internationally. We also offer Customs Brokerage to assure all of your paperwork and documentation is accurate before shipping it off. For help navigating massive shipments, contact us today to receive a Free Quote!

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