According to the American Trucking Association, there is a current shortage of about 51,000 drivers which is impacting U.S. retailers, and it is predicted to get worse in the coming years. The driver shortage is leading to delayed deliveries and higher prices. Also coupled with driver shortages are equipment shortages, including in the maritime container/chassis environment. Many, if not most, retailers are subject to seasonal cycles where timely delivery is key to a “make it or break it” year. Other retailers, such as e-commerce retailers and other lesser known industry groups (the animal feed industry, for example) do not have seasonal peaks, but a substantial percentage of these industry segments have same day or next day delivery requirements essentially on an on-going basis. The retailer industry, including e-retailers, are looking to different solutions for addressing these real bottom-line issues—i.e., getting all kinds of goods to customers in a timely manner. Continue Reading Retailers: Thinking Outside the Box to Address Driver and Equipment Shortages
President Trump signed a new Executive Order on August 6, 2018, titled “Reimposing Certain Sanctions with Respect to Iran”. The Executive Order was timed to coincide with the last day of the 90-day wind-down period established for activities associated with certain sanctions relief authorized by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). As a result, the first round of sanctions against Iran will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on August 7, 2018. Continue Reading United States Announces Re-imposition of First Round of Nuclear Sanctions on Iran
On April 15, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued a denial order against ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively “ZTE”), effectively banning U.S. companies from providing components to ZTE because the company had failed to comply with the terms of a disciplinary agreement reached in March 2017 arising from violations of U.S. export control restrictions against Iran and North Korea. It is estimated that U.S. companies provide nearly 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE products. ZTE’s U.S. subsidiary advertises that it has been ranked by independent industry analysts as the fourth-largest supplier of mobile devices in the U.S. overall and second-largest supplier of prepaid devices.
On Friday, February 23, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) imposed blocking sanctions against one individual, twenty-seven entities and twenty-eight vessels known to have previously provided maritime support to North Korean coal and petroleum transactions. OFAC added the individuals, entities and vessels to its Specially Designated Nationals List (the “SDN List”), which will generally prohibit the fifty-six sanctioned parties from transacting with the United States or any United States person.
Continue Reading OFAC Issues Additional North Korean Sanctions and Guidance for Shipping Companies
The government shutdown began on Saturday at 12:01am. Here is a list of several agencies involved in trade and transportation issues that will be affected.
International Trade Commission
The International Trade Commission will only have three to seven individuals working during the shutdown in order to protect life and property. The six Commissioners are presidential appointees and therefore are exempt from the furlough. Continue Reading Impact of Government Shutdown on Trade
In guidance released August 28, 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminded carriers whose ocean vessels have been diverted from their intended port of unlading by Hurricane Harvey to amend their manifests to reflect the new port of unlading. Amending the manifests ensures that the automated terminals at the new port of discharge will receive the appropriate notifications. But who must pay the additional costs that are incurred when cargo is rerouted because of extreme weather?
Shippers Usually Bear Disaster Expense
Hurricane Harvey has disrupted shipping in Texas and Louisiana, forcing carriers to divert vessels to alternate ports. This raises the question of whether shippers must assume the risk and additional costs of receiving cargo at a port to which it was not destined and for on-carriage to get the cargo to its ultimate destination. Additionally, shippers that intended to export cargo from ports impacted by Hurricane Harvey may face terminal demurrage charges for containers that were delivered before the hurricane but have not been shipped.
Current bills (HR 2593, S. 1119) authorizing appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission contain substantive terms which seem to forecast the path the regulatory agency is taking with respect to both tariff requirements and regulation of ocean transportation intermediaries.
The bills address some meaningful changes to the current antiquated tariff system. Combined with the FMC’s new Regulatory Reform Task Force, and the corresponding Notice of Inquiry issued by the FMC seeking specifics from the shipping public for deregulation, it appears the FMC may be taking a clear stance on tariffs. Acting Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Michael Khouri, has made several public statements which confirm the conclusion that tariffs have no place in the current ocean transportation marketplace.
On May 31, 2017, Petitioners DAK Americas LLC, Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America, and Auriga polymers Inc. filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Continue Reading Petition Summary: Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam
On March 28, 2017, Petitioners Charter Steel, Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Keystone Consolidated Industries, Inc., and Nucor Corporation filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Carbon and Alloy Steel Wire Rod from Belarus, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the Republic of South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The merchandise covered by these investigations are certain hot-rolled products of carbon steel and alloy steel, in coils, of approximately round cross section, less than 19.00 mm in actual solid cross-sectional diameter. Specifically excluded are steel products possessing the above-noted physical characteristics and meeting the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) definitions for (a) stainless steel; (b) tool steel; (c) high-nickel steel; (d) ball bearing steel; or (e) concrete reinforcing bars and rods. Also excluded are free cutting steel (also known as free machining steel) products (i.e., products that contain by weight one or more of the following elements: 0.1 percent or more of lead, 0.05 percent or more of bismuth, 0.08 percent or more of sulfur, more than 0.04 percent of phosphorous, more than 0.05 percent of selenium, or more than 0.01 percent of tellurium). All products meeting the physical description of subject merchandise that are not specifically excluded are included in this scope.
On March 23, 2017, Petitioners the National Biodiesel Board Fair Trade Coalition and its individual members filed a petition for the imposition of antidumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of Biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The product covered by these petitions is biodiesel, which is a fuel comprised of mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, including waste oils or greases, and other biologically-based oil or fat sources. The petitions cover biodiesel in pure form (“B100”) as well as fuel mixtures containing at least 99 percent biodiesel by volume (“B99”). For fuel mixtures containing less than 99 percent biodiesel by volume, only the biodiesel component of the mixture is covered by the scope of the petitions.