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Category Archives: Global Logistics Solutions

What is Required to Import Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) into the US?

what is required import ppe into us
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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to all protective clothing, helmets, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks, and other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness. If PPE is intended to be used as a medical device, then it must conform with the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize that the United States and many other countries around the globe are dependent upon a well-functioning global supply chain of critical medical supplies for those who are in the front lines as well as for the general population.

All the challenges and hurdles of normal logistics have been accentuated by the current global pandemic. To illustrate this let’s look at what happened with N95 masks.

Some of the U.S. companies selling N95 masks have U.S. manufacturing facilities, however, most masks were being manufactured overseas, mostly in China, which in normal times is not a problem. Immediately after the pandemic outbreak, China acted fast in protecting most of the N95 masks along with other PPE manufactured in that country to ensure local doctors and other health professionals caring for COVID-19 patients were well supplied. Then, as the virus spread beyond China, the governments of other countries producing N95 masks such as France, Germany, South Korea, and the United States bought up available supply, and restricted export of these commodities out of their countries. As a result, in a few short weeks, the global market of this PPE went into a halt,.

The Two Most Important Issues to Consider Before Buying PPE to Import into the US:

1) Can the Product be exported from the Country of Origin?

First, you must confirm if the supplier is duly licensed and certified at origin and if the product can be exported from that country.  For example, if your PPE supplier is from China you need to know that the government of that country issued very strict rules on April 1st, 2020, mandating that all exports of PPE need the approval of China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the supplier/model combination.  Otherwise, Chinese Customs authorities will detain the shipment before departure. Many promising deals have fallen through the cracks at this stage because the Chinese manufacturer did not have China NMPA’s approval.

2) Can the Product be imported, sold, and used in the US?

The importation of all medical devices including PPE requires the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The eligibility of certain products is changing constantly as FDA progressively has loosened restrictions on imports of certain PPE products to fulfill the demand.  One of the many releases issued by the FDA to the public took place in April 2020: “Enforcement Policy for Face Masks and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Revised),” which allowed the importation of Chinese-designed “KN95” respirator masks that are equivalent to U.S.-designed N95 masks but not FDA approved for medical use. The FDA rules are changing very rapidly, therefore we urge importers of PPE to keep up with these changes by always checking the FDA website www.fda.gov.

Take note that the manufacturer must register their company with the FDA, as well as the products or medical devices they produce if they are intended to be exported to the U.S. Also, the importer must register with the FDA as ‘importer of medical devices’. As part of its due diligence, the importer must request from the manufacturer the device or product FDA registration number and validate with the FDA that indeed the item is registered. The shipper at origin, if different from the manufacturer, must also register with the FDA as a provider to these products.

We urge all importers to hire a seasoned licensed Custom Broker to help with the import and customs entry process. When contacting a customs broker have the following information available:

  • Country of origin of the product
  • Importation Product Code, which is a combination of the FDA Panel and Product Code
  • Product description
  • Manufacturer’s name and details
  • Information about the shipper
  • Applicable “Affirmation of Compliance” codes (from the FDA)
  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code for the product described in the importing documents.

Licensed Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Ready to Help

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

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Minimize the Impact of Disrupters to Your Business

business disruptors

When it comes to logistics or any other industry, businesses need to constantly foresee and play in their heads adverse circumstances and plan accordingly for possible unexpected disruptions.
Due diligence always rewards those who take it seriously and by the end of a crisis, they are in a better position than those who did not have a strategy for the unforeseen.

The goal must always be, even though it may sound like cliché, ‘to prepare for the worst and hope for the best’.

The UNSIDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) defines a disaster as  “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability, and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses, and impacts.”  We are talking about a devastating incident that disrupts everyday operations in any given area that cannot be resolved by itself and for which multiple resources are required.

Disruption can occur due to several reasons, including meteorological, political, biological (such as what we are experiencing now with the current health crisis of COVID-19), hydrological, among others.

In any case, it is critical to have systems in place that can be activated swiftly and efficiently.

Create a Contingency Plan

Define potential threats to your business and draft the steps necessary to mitigate the impact of these threats if they become real. Think ahead and take the time to develop a course of action that you and your employees should refer to in the event of a major disruption. This arrangement is typically known as a disaster risk management plan. Here are some steps when creating your risk management plan that can help to minimize disruptions in your services:

  • Assess Risk. While it is impossible to always plan disruptions, play different scenarios and possible outcomes. Determine where the risk might come from and determine what part of your logistics will be affected.
  • Prepare in Advance. You should never wait until a major disruption strikes to attempt to evaluate what you need or don’t. Visualize ahead of time and have the necessary resources in place. Just to mention a major player in today’s business is data. How is important data being preserved, either in the cloud or stored at an off-site location can help in the event of physical damage to your location?
  • Discuss a Plan of Action. The mitigation process will essentially decide how your company reacts to a disruption or unexpected halt. Details such as how will you communicate with employees? How will you notify your customers of potential delays or complications? Will your suppliers or your shipments be affected? Ask yourself questions that you may have to consider in such a situation.
  • Response and Recovery. Once the situation has been resolved you will need to go into a recovery response mode. This phase also required planning in order to allocate any necessary resources and get back on your feet as soon as possible in the most cost-effective way.

Protect Yourself with Premier Logistics Services

At Promptus LLC, we have a dynamic team of logistics professionals assisting companies to move their goods around the world. With 20 years in the industry, we have a profound understanding of preparedness, response, and recovery. We employ the most advanced technology to continue to service our customers before, during, and after being impacted by any disruption. Call us today!

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

Understanding Trade Between the United States and Haiti

what are the HOPE and HELP acts

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

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

The HOPE Bill Upgraded

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

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

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

About the HELP and HOPE Acts

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

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

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)

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

Current preference highlights include:

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

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

Laws Regarding Free Trade Zones

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

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

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

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

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

The Free Zones National Council and Free Zone Directorate

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

Some responsibilities include:

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

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

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

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

Crunching the Numbers (as per the ITA)

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

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

Considering Expanding Your US Business Market?

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

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

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

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CAFTA-DR (Central America – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement)

cafta dr agreement

The Central America – Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is the first agreement of this nature between the United States and a group of smaller developing economies which include our Central American neighbors: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, as well as the Dominican Republic. The CAFTA-DR promotes stronger trade and investment ties, prosperity, and stability throughout the region and along our Southern border.

Implementation dates, depending upon the country, ranged from March 1, 2006 through January 1, 2009. Information for U.S. Exporters is available through the Department of Commerce.

Most CAFTA-DR goods currently enter the United States free of duty and the merchandise processing fee (MPF), and virtually all will enter free by the time the Agreement is fully implemented on January 1, 2025.

Combined, the countries in the CAFTA-DR represent the United States’ 18th largest trading partner, with $57.4 billion in total (two way) of goods traded in 2018. Exports totaled $32.2 billion while imports totaled $25.2 billion. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. goods exports to CAFTA-DR supported an estimated 134 thousand jobs in 2014 (as per the Office of the US Trade Representative).

CAFTA-DR General Rules of Origin

Section 203 of the CAFTA-DR Implementation Act specifies the general rules of origin to be used in determining if a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment under the Agreement. The HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) has been amended to include specific rules of origin, definitions and other provisions to determine whether a good originates under the CAFTA-DR. The CAFTA-DR employs a similar methodology to determine whether a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment that is found in previous agreements such as the U.S.- Chile and Australia Free Trade Agreements. Another notable similarity is that the responsibility for providing information to substantiate the claim is on the importer.

A non-textile good can only qualify for CAFTA-DR treatment and tariff protection if it meets for the following requirements:

  • The good must be wholly obtained or produced within a participating country or territory. This means it must explicitly be made not just in the country of origin, but with parts sourced from the same territory. This typically applies to goods that are harvested or mined, and typically only covers a small percentage of exports.
  • The good is produced wholly within the territory of at least one participating country using non-originating material. The goods must have undergone an applicable change (as specified in the rules of origin), and they must also satisfy any applicable regional value content (RVC) or listed requirements.
  • The good is produced exclusively in a participating territory, using material originating from the territory. The goods must meet the qualification specified in the agreement or rules of origin.

CAFTA-DR and the Textile Industry

One of the biggest winners of this trade agreement has been the textile industry, including manufacturers in the CAFTA-DR countries as well big retailers and Department Stores in the US.

The program qualifies for “duty free treatment” garments that comply with the rule of origin which is commonly known as the “yarn-forward” standard, that requires that the yarn production and all operations “forward” (i.e., fabrics and fabric materials production through apparel assembly) occur in either the United States and/or the CAFTA-DR region. Fabrics materials include fabrics, pocketing, elastics, interlining, sewing thread. If any of the fabric materials are not made in the US or DR-CAFTA region, the garments will be disqualified from duty free treatment (exceptions and more details can be found on the Otexa website).

In order to claim “duty free treatment” under this program, the importer must have records of the following documents (but not limited to):

  • Affidavits of origin, for each fabric and fabric material and the yarns they are made of.
  • The records of purchase orders, payments and receiving of all relevant fabric materials.
  • The records of cutting tickets and fabric pull sheets with roll numbers.
  • Record of shipments of all relevant fabric material and finished products.
  • Record of orders for finished garments and proof of payment.
  • Value Statements detailing the following (in case the commercial invoice does not show the full value of the garments): – Style number that will be use enter the product in the US – Body Fabric information (mill, style, content & type) – Name of Importer and Manufacturer – Type of garment, HTS Classification Number and Category Number – Detail cost of all fabrics, components & transportation and insurance (except the ones from the country of export into de US).
  • Any record or document related to the production of the garments.

Navigating Trade With Central America and the Dominican Republic

If your business is looking into doing importing or exporting within any of the countries in the CAFTA-DR agreement, it may be beneficial to hire a licensed US Customs Broker to help you navigate the process!

At Promptus LLC, our team is expertly-trained and has over 15 years of experience working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and helping clients navigate rules, tariffs, and regulations. We can also help organize transportation and freight forwarding solutions to ensure your goods travel safely to and from their destination country, regardless of size! Contact us today to get a free quote for our services.

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Take Advantage of Paperless and Remote Customs Filing

advantage of paperless and remote filing
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In today’s world, nearly everything can be done remotely. Thanks to the technology behind the Internet of Things (IoT), we have the ability to submit, store, and share information from just about anywhere. Even everyday tasks like starting a car, controlling the AC, checking security cameras, or shopping can be done remotely. Information like this can be sent from one device or location to another in just a few minutes, all at the click of a button!

In addition to helping provide an increased level of convenience and efficiency in our lives, the technology behind telecommunications allows information to be sent without the need for printing materials or postage mail! This paperless option not only allows information to be delivered in half the time, but it also saves money (and helps the environment) by eliminating the need for paper.

Paperless and Remote Filing Options

In the freight forwarding and shipping industry, this type of technology offers both suppliers and customers a better experience and a reduced risk of complications that may result in delays or added costs.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency recognizes how remote and paperless filing and communication systems can help streamline everything from packing and shipping to the inspection process. In 2009, CPB implemented the regulations that would shape what is known as the Remote Location Filing (RLF) program. This works in conjunction with the Electronic Invoice Program (EIP) which allows Licensed US Customs Brokers with a valid national permit to electronically submit and transmit data in accordance with their rules and regulations.

What Are Some Benefits of the EIP and RLF Program?

The CBP offers two programs to help submit and file electronic data in place of paper documents required for goods to enter into a location other than arrival or examination port. While these programs are subject to the same level of scrutiny and review as regular filings, it helps to provide a more convenient option for imports and exports. The Electronic Invoice Program (EIP) allows users to submit trade documents electronically in lieu of paper filing. Remote Location Filing (RLF) operates on the EIP system and allows users to (as the name suggests) remotely file data, so you do not have to physically be in the location as the entry or examination site.

The appeal behind the RLF program extends to a number of reasons. Most notably is its ability to allow brokers to file paperwork electronically for certain entry types, without being in the physical location as the shipment’s declared port of entry or examination.

This means that a Customs Broker in Miami, FL that is certified, can electronically submit Customs Entry, along with the required documents (Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, or Pro Forma Invoice, etc.) for a shipment entering the US via New York, NY – without ever having to leave their office!

RLF Eligibility Requirements are defined by the CBP. In order to apply for RLF use, you must meet the following stipulations:

  1. Users have two options for submitting ACE entries. Either as a “two-step process” that requires a cargo release and separate entry summary, or a summary certified for ACE cargo release.
  2. The only entry types that are eligible are 01, 02, 03, 06 (including weekly FTZ), 07, 11, 12, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 38, 51, and 52.
  3. A Customs Broker must be licensed with a valid national permit, as outlined in 19 C.F.R. § 111.19(f) (please note, individuals filing as importer of record for their own transactions don’t have to worry about this).
  4. Users must submit all necessary Invoices, such as pro forma invoices, using the Document Image System (DIS).
  5. The eBond test is required for users submitting single transaction bonds.
  6. Participants can file RLF entries at any port of entry.
  7. Partner Government Agency (PGA) pilots testing areas, such as the the PGA message set or DIS uploads, may be eligible for RLF for pilot PGA forms and locations. Ineligible PGA forms for RLF processing include Department of State’s DS-1504 and DS-2031. Users cannot process these forms via RLF.

Additionally, some other reasons why remote filing is a great option for importers and exports include:

  • It helps to save money on paper, ink, and other printing materials.
  • The process is faster, with near-immediate delivery of your documents to the required port of entry.
  • You can submit paperwork in advance, allowing extra time to review and potentially correct any errors.
  • You don’t have to worry about illegible handwriting or damaged paperwork, meaning less misinterpretation or miscommunication issues with CBP agents.
  • The paperwork can be processed and reviewed before the shipment arrives at its port of entry, streamlining the inspection process and cutting down on port wait times.

Getting Started With Paperless Programs

At Promptus LLC, we hold a valid national permit that allows our certified US Customs Brokers to electronically file paperwork and take advantage of the RLF program. To learn more about what types of shipments are eligible for this service or how to enroll in a paperless shipping plan, call our office today at 1-877-776-6799. Our team of experts has offered 15 years of experience in the logistics industry, and we offer full-scale freight forwarding services to clients all over the world.

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How Technology Has Influenced Today’s Logistics

Have Operations Changed For the Better?

how technology influenced todays logistics

In today’s era, technology is the driving force behind almost everything. We use it to keep in touch with our loved ones, run our businesses, and get around. Popular tools, such as Bluetooth, AI, and GPS, are constantly advancing to help streamline everything from communication to travel, which means businesses have to stay on top of these changes to adapt.

For Logistics companies, as well as exporters and importers, this means taking in a lot of new information and adjusting your internal structures. When properly introduced and utilized, many of these new advances in technology can mean great strides for shipping companies and consumers alike!

Technology in Supply Chain Logistics

Over the years, great progress has been accomplished in the type of technology we have readily available to us today. Incredible things like cloud-based services and softwares allow us to remotely access information from anywhere, as long as there is internet access! GPS advancements have provided us with real-time updates of our deliveries so we can track their arrival down to the minute.

In the last 25 years we have seen huge changes to the way importing and exporting is done. Technology has had a huge influence on our tools and the services we provide, and some might say it has completely changed the way we work. Some of the most influential advancements include:

Tracking Software and GPS

GPS (Global Positioning System) is not a particularly new technology, but the application it has today was something unimaginable at the time of its birth. For example, trucks can be outfitted with new tracking devices that allow fleet managers to consistently stay on top of all of their vehicles, no matter where they are located.

Additionally, some GPS technology allows you to set up a geo-fence, which is a remote geographical perimeter that can detect when your fleets are nearing or in the area, and send you or your clients’ notifications to keep them updated.

The GPS along with GIS (Geographic Information System) and GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) has impacted how cargo is moved in a big way. With these tools trucking companies can design more efficient distribution routes, check real-time traffic, and weather, as well as obtain data from the vehicles regarding fuel efficiency, idle time of the vehicle and much more.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

IoT, RFID – acronyms are common in logistics, but these are new terms that you may not be familiar with. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the driving force behind technology like GPS, Bluetooth, AI, and more. It is an extension of telematics, which is a brand of information technology that is responsible for processes and transmitting information stored in computers and on the cloud. It powers telecommunications, car-tronics, and similar services that are all important factors in the logistics field. Advances in this type of technology are allowing smart machines to order products, request maintenance, and deliver relevant information to business heads without human interference – which can mean streamlined service and fewer mistakes on the line.

Below some of the top applications of the IoT in logistics are:

  • Location management systems (as we mentioned before when talking about the GPS, GSM and GIS technologies)
  • Inventory Tracking and Warehousing
    The simple placement of small inexpensive sensors allows companies to easily track inventory items, know their level status, check their position, therefor creating a smart warehouse. In addition, this application helps preventing losses and enhances the efficiency by locating items fast.
  • Drone deliveries (read below)
  • IoT and blockchain for supply chain management
    Tracking products in general from origin to the delivery in the hands of the customer is very important, but it is crucial for some products, such as produce, perishable products, certain chemicals, etc. Here is where RFID comes in handy.

    RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This technology along with sensors will allow you to monitor things such as product temperature, humidity at different stages of the transportation process.

  • Self Driving Vehicles (read below)

Virtual Operations

It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but auto-driving trucks and drone-delivered parcels are well on their way to becoming a reality. With companies like Google and Tesla unveiling self-driving cars, the technology is quickly extending into the way shipping companies handle logistics.

With cars and trucks that operate themselves, the potential for covering more ground is increased, helping deliveries arrive faster and more efficiently. Drones delivering packages, on the other hand, is still a few years from being ready to debut, but companies like Amazon are working diligently to sort out the logistics to cut down shipping times and potentially save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.

What Does This Mean For the Future of Logistics?

Just like in other aspects of our lives, technology has the capability of providing users with a level of convenience, ease, and accessibility that helps promote efficiency. Just like smartphones and portable devices, advancements in shipping technology can help companies stay connected with their trucks. It can also promote better vehicle efficiency and route planning when you can receive real updates regarding potential delays, and clear notifications from your machines when it is time to replace or repair a part.

Robotics, artificial intelligence, and similar tools are all making their way into the supply chain, aiding in inventory management, overseeing operations, and streamlining customer service. It helps provide greater transparency between exporter, importers, and consumers.

Promptus Stays Ahead of the Curb

Staying on top of advancements in the fields of information technology and supply chain logistics is an important part of our freight forwarding responsibilities at Promptus LLC. Our team of experts has over 15 years of experience in the field, and we believe that you can never stop learning.

We strive to stay educated on new technology by attending seminars, training sessions, and informative classes as well as integrating new tools and services. Contact us today to get a free quote for our services.

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

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

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

What Exactly Is The C-TPAT Initiative?

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

Who Can Join the C-TPAT?

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

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

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

Why Join the C-TPAT?

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

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

Shaping the Shipping Industry

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

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

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Hazardous Materials: What They Are & How to Handle Them

Properly Prepare Handling Instructions, Labeling, and Documentation

hazardous materials what they are

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

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

What are Hazardous Materials?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proper Packaging and Paperwork

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

Packaging

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

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

Paperwork

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

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

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

Save the Hassle, Trust the Experts

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

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How 3PL Can Help You Maximize Efficiency with your E-Commerce Company

Operate More Profitably By Outsourcing Online Sales to Third-Party Logistics

how 3pl maximize efficiency your ecommerce company

E-commerce is a broad term that refers to business transactions that are conducted exclusively on the Internet or via electronic devices or applications. It can range from a multitude of business types, with some of the most common being electronic retail sites. This means businesses selling physical merchandise through electronic means. Additionally, many of these electronic retail sites have completely abandoned the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience to instead provide twice as much merchandise to three times the customer base.

But where are you putting that inventory? After all, e-commerce sites tend to have a wider range of purchasable merchandise than a physical storefront. Well, this is where a third-party logistics team comes in. Rather than finding multiple warehouses, distribution centers, commercial transportation services, and various different ways to meet your company’s fulfillment needs, you can turn to one full-service company who will take care of all those logistics needs.

Boost Efficiency With a 3PL

No matter what your business is, the most important aspect is to ensure you are maintaining efficiency and keeping customers happy. With a physical retail store, this is much easier to do, as clients are simply walking in, purchasing items, and leaving satisfied. When you switch it up to electronic purchasing, you have to be able to provide the same satisfying experience without the personal interaction with your customers. This means having a user-friendly interface, multiple trustworthy, fast shipping options, and exceptional customer service while also maintaining inventory, warehousing, packing, shipping, and tracking.

It might sound like a lot of moving parts. There are, after all, many aspects that go into maintaining a successful logistics service. If you aren’t sure of where to start, you can end up spending lots of money, time, and resources trying to set up appropriate delivery costs, options, ordering systems and making sure that they can all work in harmony with each other. For small and large business owners alike, this can mean taking time from working on additional projects or important aspects of the operations of the company.

A 3PL such as Promtpus LLC can integrate advanced technology solutions on both the front and back of your e-commerce site to maximize the experience for your customers and ensure smooth inventory management. We take care of:

  • Calculating shipping fees
  • Finding the best delivery companies
  • Securing cargo via customs
  • And any other necessities to ensure that your fulfillment service run without a hitch

We can offer you an affordable rate to streamline and maintain your e-commerce needs so you don’t break the bank!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

With over 15 years of experience, Promptus LLC knows in the inner workings of third party logistics and can analyze your company’s unique needs to ensure you get the best service for you and your clientele. We stand at the forefront to ensure that all of our clients have the first knowledge of new technology or techniques to boost growth and maximize efficiency.

We operate a warehouse and distribution center and hold service contracts with more than 15 ocean shipping lines with regional and worldwide coverage. Promptus LLC also provides all on-land freight forwarding solutions, including our team of Licensed Customs Brokers that can take care of submitting paperwork and meeting necessary regulations with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Contact us to get your complimentary quote today!

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The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Logistics to a 3PL

Save Time, Money, and Resources By Switching to a Third Party Logistics Company

outsourcing your logistics to a 3PL

As technological advances are made in the world of supply chain management, business owners are starting to recognize the advantages to abandoning the traditional in-house warehouse and delivery fleet. Instead, they are opting to outsource their logistics needs to 3rd Party Logistics companies, or 3PLs, such as Promtpus, LLC. Trusting an experienced global logistics provider can mean you have more time, money, and energy to dedicate to what’s truly important: running a business.

When it comes to providing your customers with the highest quality services and products, you may not always factor in their experience after they finalize their transaction.

  • How reliable is the shipping information?
  • How well was the item packaged?
  • How quickly did it arrive?

These are all questions that must be taken into consideration when running a company that offers delivery, as they will reflect directly on your logistics services.

For example, a high-functioning warehouse will need a solution for assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution. This will require time, money, and manpower that you may not have readily available or simply can’t afford to factor out. This is where a 3PL comes in. They can help you by offering an all-in-one solution while helping to ensure your company still provides excellent care and attention to all their products or services.

Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Get Back Your Time

In most cases, opting for a 3PL can be a much smarter and more cost-effective option for your company. For starters, it allows you the freedom to dedicate your energy into the products or services you are offering. Day-to-day logistics can be tedious, since it requires a constant supervision of your operations, preparing and submitting documentation to different government agencies, plus overseeing your staff, among others. Using an outsourced 3PL such as Promptus LLC means you don’t have to worry about any of this because we do it for you!

Cut Back on Costs

Rather than paying for the rent of a warehouse, the salary of a logistics team, regular maintenance on fleet vehicles, and all the necessities of running a logistics operation, invest that money into yourself! For a fraction of the cost, you can invest in a 3PL that works closely with you to understand your company’s needs and provide them as best as possible. That means no warehouse space, no additional employees, and no need to worry about billing, audits, training, or in-house supply chains.

Stay in the Know

As a leader in the global logistic industry, we find it crucial to stay up-to-date in regards to technology and product advances. With over 30 years of experience, we have managed to stay on the forefront of the industry, which allows the opportunity to share our resources with our clients. When you are operating supply chain in-house, you may not have access to the same network of information as a certified global logistics company, such as Promptus LLC.

Focus on What You Do Best

By using our numerous resources, extensive knowledge, and advanced technology, we can confidently offer our client the very best in global logistics services from Miami all over the world. Promptus LLC specializes in warehouse and distribution, ocean shipping, and all your freight forwarding needs. Contact us today at 1-877-776-6799 to get a personalized quote for our services.

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