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January 2019 Newsletter

A monthly roundup of our Industry Updates, Blogs and Market Information

Industry Update - Potential for Increased Charges for Import Shipments

On January 7 we sent an Industry Update notifying of an embargo issued by Norfolk Southern. An excerpt of that message:

On Friday, January 4, Norfolk Southern issued a customer service alert stating:

"Effective 12:01 am, Monday January 7, 2019, all International (20', 40', and 45') shipments billed to Austell via the Memphis and Shreveport gateways and all shipments originating at the ports of Charleston or Garden City destined to Austell will be embargoed." 

The embargo has been lifted by Norfolk Southern and is no longer active. However, it is important to note this action was the result of ongoing problems related to drayage capacity and chassis availability in the region. In fact, an ongoing shortage of FCL trucking capacity and chassis availability in the United States is resulting in additional fees for many import shipments. Please be aware of the potential for increased charges and note that storage, pre-pull, per-diem and other charges related to import container movement are the responsibility of the billing party. 

We understand the potential impact this situation can have on the movement of your goods and as always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your shipments do not hesitate to contact our customer service team.

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Are you prepared for Chinese New Year?

There is a typical cycle to how CNY affects the movement of freight. In the weeks prior to the holiday, factories tend in increase production in anticipation of the annual shut down. Many US importers will increase their inventories during this time. Here are some things you can do to prepare for CNY.

  • Communicate with your logistics provider. Make them aware of your priority shipments in the event of space constraints.
  • Book your shipments well in advance of CNY.
  • Prepare for potential delays with your suppliers. The impact of CNY often means there are production backlogs when factories come back on line. 

Depending on where your supplier is located, the timeline for CNY or Lunar New Year may be different. Here is a list of those holidays within the region.

  • China (CNY) February 2-10
  • Malaysia (CNY) February 5-6
  • Hong Kong (CNY) February 5-7
  • Indonesia (CNY) February 5
  • Singapore (CNY) February 5-6
  • Vietnam (Lunar New Year) February 2-10
  • Korea (Lunar New Year) February 2-6 
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Market Trends and Developments we are watching

Maersk to begin physically inspecting containers

Maersk has announced a pilot program at four US Ports. New Orleans Ceres terminal, Miami Pomtoc, Houston Bayport and Newark Berth 88 terminals will see random inspection of import and export containers. The inspections are meant to verify whether the contents inside match document descriptions. 

Any discrepancies will be passed to either the consignee or shipper party for export or import containers.

Forecasting important shipping trends could be difficult in 2019

According to the Journal of Commerce, there are several reasons why 2019 and possibly even 2020 may prove difficult years for anyone making predictions regarding shipping trends. 

Container space is more difficult to predict because carriers aren't all following the same course. Industry consolidation in the past few years means that carriers, as a group are not as predictable. 

Demand could be less clear without the influence of China tariffs and the US economy is slowing. Both proved strong influencers on demand in 2018.

Finally, the IMO low-sulfur cap is looming on the horizon. In terms of how this will influence carrier actions, some argue the weakness in early year volumes increase the likelihood some carriers will compromise on compensation for expected higher low-sulfur fuel costs. 

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How Important is Cargo Insurance? 

There is no use crying over spilled milk. Perhaps that's easy to say if it isn’t your milk that's been spilled. In logistics terms, it might be more accurately stated that there is no use wringing your hands over damaged freight. 

It is inevitable that human error and bad luck will combine with the forces of gravity and nature. The result is water damaged cargo, pest infestation and breakage of all kinds. So what will you do if you receive an import shipment that has been damaged in transit?

Check out the complete article HERE.

For more information about cargo insurance Contact Us.


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