US Customs and Border Protection is planning to update its Customs Modernization Act of 1993 by introducing new legislation to modernize its trade enforcement functions. Changes anticipated include data access and sharing, “responsible party” definitions and enforcement, new processes and resource optimization. Leveraging its work on the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), CBP will move towards the “One U.S. Government” single-window concept and eliminate archaic practices. Blockchain will also be tested for certificate tracking to verify information about imported goods and check how foreign suppliers act toward American importers, he said. The system can also be used to authenticate trademarks and check on an item's physical properties.
The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on three foreign companies it says are helping North Korea with illicit shipments of goods to fund its nuclear program. The Treasury Department said Wednesday it was taking action against the companies, which are based in China, Russia and Singapore, as well as the head of the Russian firm. The move blocks any assets that they may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from doing business with them. Those targeted are the China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co. and its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Ltd., along with Russia’s Profinet Ltd. and its director general. They are accused of helping North Korea evade international sanctions by re-routing exports and imports through Chinese and Russian ports.
The US Senate Appropriations Committee has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the possibility of loosening the air quality limits for ships entering the United States over concerns that the IMO’s tougher regulations could harm the cargo shipping industry’s economic competitiveness. The EPA has just launched the study in response and will also look at diesel fuel demands that might impact other transportation sectors, including trucking. Some have predicted that diesel could be as much as a dollar a gallon more expensive by the end of 2019 or early 2020. The committee wants EPA to consider an exemption from the ECA restrictions for vessels that have engines that generate less than 32,000 horsepower and operate more than 50 miles from the US coastline.
The US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced $4.8M in grants to six Marine Highway projects. The funding, provided by the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Marine Highway program, will help enhance existing marine highways serving ports in Louisiana, Virginia, New York, and Connecticut, and support the development of new container-on-barge services in Kentucky and Rhode Island. The Marine Highway Program supports the expanded use of navigable waterways to relieve landside congestion, provide new transportation options, and generate other public benefits by increasing the efficiency of the surface transportation system.
Stewart Muir of Resouce Works examines what the arrival of the laden oil tanker Nordtulip at Anacortes, WA on July 31st all means. The Portuguese-flagged tanker ship was coming directly from the port of Nakhodka near Vladivostok, Russia, and is estimated to be carrying 600,000 to 650,000 barrels of oil. The Trans Mountain pipeline has commitments to supply at least one of the two refineries in Anacortes following its expansion, but until then it is struggling to keep up with the demand for more capacity through the pipeline. The market acceptance of Russian oil by the US raises eyebrows as Canadian suppliers of crude oil follow much more stringent environmental policies than those of Russia. In the picture above, it shows three laden tankers - two from Alaska and the Nordtulip en route to Anacortes on the same. The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion at capacity would see one tanker call a day compared to the average one tanker a week seen today. It definitely makes one question what role the US and its ambitions for energy dominance plays into all of this.
On April 30, 2018 the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a six-month pilot that encourages L1 visa applicants to file in advance a Form I-129 petition, plus supporting evidence for Canadian citizens seeking to enter the US as L1 executives or managers to the California Service Center. The Blaine, WA border crossing is the first pilot site and US CBP officers will not be validating L1 applications on-the-spot during the pilot period at that particular border crossing during the pilot which ends October 31, 2018. Those wishing to avoid the advance adjudication process can use an alternate border crossing where the on-the-spot processing remains.
Trucking shortages continue to drive the hottest freight market in years with rates 20 to 30 percent higher than last year. Truckload carriers are becoming more selective and chosing the most profitable loads and lanes. US manufacturers and retailers are concerned and looking for supply chain efficiencies to counter higher logistics costs. Also this week container lessors, manufacturers, and intermodal providers lobbied against a proposed tariff of 25 percent on shipping containers before the US Congress Section 301 Committee. Fears of this tariff in addition to higher surface costs would be a double whammy to US shippers. About 97 percent of marine containers are made in China.
The first edition of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s US Coast Pilot (Vol. 1, 48th Edition, 2018) that includes both the Navigation Rules as well as the amalgamated International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea is now available. The US Coast Pilot is issued in nine volumes that contain supplemental information difficult to portray on a nautical chart but that is important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters and the Great Lakes. To access the various editions visit the US Coast Pilot website. All US Coast Pilot books are free to download from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey website.
The US Office of Management and Budget have received 72 submissions in response to its request on how the Federal government may prudently manage regulatory costs imposed on the maritime sector. Multiple Federal agencies regulate the US maritime sector consistent with their statutory authorities. OIRA seeks public comment on how existing agency requirements affecting the maritime sector can be modified or repealed to increase efficiency, reduce or eliminate unnecessary or unjustified regulatory burdens, or simplify regulatory compliance while continuing to meet statutory missions. This will inform US agencies' development of regulatory reform proposals. Canada maritime sector is drowning with the government's silos and administrative burdens - it's time for action. Submissions can be found at: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OMB-2018-0002-0001.
A Final Rule published by the Federal Maritime Commission offering deregulatory flexibilities for Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) Negotiated Rate Arrangements (NRAs) and NVOCC Service Arrangements (NSAs) will go into force on August 22, 2018. The key changes to NRAs allow them to be amended at any time; allow the inclusion of non-rate economic terms; and, allow an NVOCC to provide for shipper’s acceptance of the NRA by booking a shipment. NSAs will become easier and more attractive to use by removing filing and essential terms requirements.
The US Coast Guard is investigating the 88-foot fishing vessel Mark I for knowingly discharging oil overboard in Canadian waters. On July 7th Transport Canada's National Aerial Surveillance crew detected the Mark I transiting through the Canadian exclusive economic zone 97-miles off of Cape St. James, BC with an approximate 26-mile oil sheen trailing behind. The USCG pollution response investigators and investigative service agents boarded the Mark I in Dutch Harbor, Friday. During the boarding they found evidence that bilge waste and oil had been discharged overboard. The operators of Mark I have been order to perform certain marine environmental actions and clean up. US vessels are prohibited from discharging oil or oily water within and outside US waters. The Mark I violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and the discharge can result in up to 10 years confinement and a criminal fine up to $250,000.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States had notified that it does not have any outstanding security issues following an agreement with the U.S. government to divest the Long Beach container terminal business to a third party. Cosco has said the U.S. regulator has cleared its planned takeover of the Hong Kong-based container shipping operator, after Cosco agreed to place a large container terminal in Long Beach, Calif., into a U.S.-run trust and put it up for sale. When everything is final COSCO will hold 90.1% of OOIL.
President Trump's tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods have kicked in, escalating a war of words between the world's two largest economies into a full-blown trade conflict. Washington's 25 percent duties went into effect at midnight EDT and affected products such as water boilers, X-ray machine components, airplane tires and various other industrial parts. China immediately retaliates with tariffs on its $34 billion list of goods issued last month, including soybeans, pork and electric vehicles. US. shipments of soybeans originally destined for China have been canceled or rerouted. One bulk carrier, Peak Pegasus, laden with US soybeans steaming toward China appears to have lost the race to arrive before the import duties were imposed. The vessel is near the port of Dalian, according to ship-tracking data. The oilseed, used to make cooking oil and animal feed, accounts for about 60 percent of the US’s $20 billion of agricultural exports to China.
In a victory for the coal industry, a federal judge struck down the City of Oakland’s ban on the operation of a coal terminal, clearing the way for coal to be exported from the West Coast port. US District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Oakland city officials violated a contract with developer Phil Tagami and his Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal when they prohibited the handling and storage of coal within the city limits in 2016 and retroactively applied the ban to his previously approved marine terminal project. Human health arguments previously put forth were dismissed as the evidence was insufficient and failed to consider mitigation technologies the company planned to deploy. Estimates are the terminal will handle five million metric tons of coal per year.
A pair of crane operators at the Port of Long Beach have set a new productivity record for moving the most cargo using a single crane during one eight-hour shift. The record was set on May 15 when two crane operators working the containership Gudrun Maersk at Total Terminals International’s Pier T terminal moved a total of 564 containers using a single crane over just an eight-hour period. This represents an average of 70 container moves per hour, which is nearly triple the West Coast average of 25 container moves per hour. The new record breaks the previous American record of 534 container moves set in 2014, also at the Port of Long Beach. Over the four-day call, more than 9,300 total containers were discharged and loaded on the 11,000 TEU capacity Gudrun Maersk.
The US Coast Guard has issued Safety Alert 11-18 to raise awareness of a potentially dangerous circumstance involving Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). Inspections have found that a number of unwearable type 1 PFDs would have presented a problem if ever needed in an emergency. Owners and operators are strongly requested to inspect their PFDs and are reminded that regulations require PFDs to be wearable and in serviceable condition.
The Marine Safety Center issued two more Coast Guard Ballast Water Management System type approval certificates. The eighth certificate was issued to Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. for its Samsung Purimar BWMS that consists of filtration with electrolysis during uptake and neutralization at discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 250 m3/h and 10,000 m3/h. The ninth certificate was issued to BIO-UV Group. The treatment principle of the BIO-SEA B BWMS consists of filtration with UV treatment at uptake and discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 55 m3/h and 1,400 m3/h.