International Transportation

On December 26, 2023, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced that it will further extend 352 reinstated exclusions and 77 COVID-related exclusions to duties imposed on goods from China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 until May 31, 2024.  USTR imposed Section 301 duties in four tranches or “lists,” and

Don’t Forget the Chassis in the Chase for the Cure.

A new level of frustration has arisen from the ocean shipper ranks during this “post-COVID” period. Shipments from Asia to the U.S. are experiencing extreme difficulties in getting their cargo delivered, mainly due to the acute shortage of chassis to effect delivery of their containers on the U.S. side. The painful example of this is the BNSF current experience with Lot W. Aside from the impact to the importer in not being able to access its cargo and experiencing serious damage to its business, it is also likely to face serious demurrage charges from the ocean carrier. This is on top of having just experienced a quadrupling (or more) of the base FAK per container rates, and the ocean carrier choices to leave agricultural commodities sitting at West Coast U.S. ports, favoring the shipment of empty containers opting to position equipment for the lucrative Asia to U.S. trade.

U.S. International Trade Commission

Section 701/731 Proceedings

  • Certain Pasta from Italy and Turkey: On April 10, 2019, the ITC announced its determination that the revocation on certain pasta from Italy and Turkey would lead to the continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United States.
  • Cast Iron Soil Pipe from the People’s Republic of China: On April 12, 2019, the ITC announced its final determinations in the AD and CVD investigation that industries in the US would be materially injured by the importation of the subject merchandise.
  • Larges Diameter Welded Pipe from Canada, Greece, Korea, and Turkey: On April 19, 2019, the ITC announced its final determination that an industry in the United States is materially injured by the importation of the subject merchandise.
  • Steel Propane Cylinders from China and Thailand: On April 29, 2019, the ITC issued a revised schedule of the final Phase of the Countervailing Duty and Anti-Dumping Duty Investigations.
  • Certain Large Residential Washers from Korea and Mexico: On April 30, 2019, the ITC released its final determinations on whether or not the continuation of the subject merchandise from these countries would continue to cause material injury in the United States.

On September 22, 2018, Bill (SB-1402) was signed into law in California to become effective January 1, 2019. That law will make a “Customer” that engages or uses “a port drayage motor carrier” jointly and severally liable with that port drayage motor carrier if that carrier is listed on the Internet Web site maintained by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. This ominous list will identify port drayage motor carriers which have been found liable to a “port drayage driver” for unsatisfied court judgments, assessments, orders, decisions, or awards, for port drayage services performed for which the drivers have not been paid or expenses for which they have not been reimbursed, plus damages, penalties, and interest.

The reason why this Bill is not as tentative as it sounds is that The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, has awarded in excess of $45 million in unlawful deductions from wages and out-of-pocket expenses to more than 400 drivers, and that drivers have seen little of those awards.

The following is a short, to the point, summary of recent developments which impact transportation intermediaries, some of which can be implemented simply without fanfare, others which just bear careful monitoring.  The Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) recently passed new regulations relating to Negotiated Rate Arrangements (“NRAs”), and NVOCC Service Arrangements (“NSAs”) which require some simple implementation, but then little else. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) has amended Hours of Service regulations which provide for strict usage of Electronic Logging Devices (“ELDs”), and a corresponding obligation for those intermediaries who select motor carriers for transport. Last but not least, we will briefly explore the question of where is the transport intermediary industry headed in the evolving e-commerce revolution?