Unitrans Newsletter | Edition 14 | February 27, 2015
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In Edition 14:
West Coast Update
Volume Gains in Cross-Border Trucking
Possible DHS Shutdown
Trans-Pacific Partnership
Indian Labor Threatens to Strike
> NCBFAA 2015 Export Compliance Schedule
NAFTA Certificate of Origin
General Rate Increases
> Links of the Week
International Holiday Calendar

Links of the Week

December 2014 North American Freight Numbers

U.S. Department of Commerce Scope Ruling on Wooden Bedroom Furniture Chests

CBP and EPA Seize and Re-Export More Than 730 Illegal Vehicles Engines at LA/Long Beach Seaports

West Coast Update

Late Friday, February 20, the ILWU and PMA brokered a tentative labor contract agreement after months of negotiations. ILWU and PMA memberships will now vote to ratify the proposed contract, which could take several weeks. The majority of West Coast port operations resumed as normal over the weekend of February 21 and 22. However, on Sunday, a labor dispute arose at the Port of Oakland, allowing the grievance and arbitration process to be utilized for the first time in months

On Monday, February 23, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach reported that the ILWU resumed full dispatch of skilled yard crane operators, which had dropped from 110 to 35 in early November, according to the PMA. Additionally, the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma stated that crane productivity is rapidly approaching normal levels. The PMA also resumed ordering night and weekend work shifts at West Coast ports following the tentative contract agreement.

In an effort to recover from months of cargo backlog, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners appointed two industry veterans this week to newly created management positions in order to enhance cargo flow and improve service. Michael Christensen and Glenn Farren will both begin their new positions as soon as Monday, March 2. Furthermore, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) unanimously approved an amendment which would allow the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to work together to clear congestion. Read the FMC press release here.

Volume Gains in Cross-Border Trucking

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) recently released data which shows that in 2014, tractor-trailer volumes at the top five U.S. border crossings rose 4 percent. Truck volumes moving through the largest U.S. border crossing at Laredo, Texas, increased 5.5 percent from 2013. Meanwhile, Detroit, Michigan, the second-largest U.S. border crossing in terms of truck traffic, increased 1.4 percent. Additionally, truck traffic expanded 2.7 percent at Buffalo, New York, 5.2 percent at Otay Mesa, California and 6.4 percent at Port Huron, Michigan. According to the BTS data, the total number of trucks crossing the U.S. border in 2014 rose 3.4 percent to reach 11,216,779 trucks.

Possible DHS Shutdown

U.S. Customs operations could be affected tonight, February 27, at midnight if the Senate and House cannot agree on a bill to avoid a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shutdown. Following orders issued by Obama last month, the House attached an immigration amendment to the DHS funding bill and the Senate has been in a stalemate since. The immigration amendments would defer deportations for millions of migrants who are currently in the United States illegally. Late Thursday, the House outlined a plan to propose a three-week continuing resolution today, February 27, which would temporarily fund the department and delay the possibility of a DHS shutdown. There would be approximately 30,000 - 230,000 government employees that could be furloughed, in the event that Congress cannot come to an agreement. Essential agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration would continue to report to work, only in reduced numbers.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) being negotiated among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States. TPP negotiations have been ongoing for nearly five years. The negotiating members had hoped to reach a broad agreement by mid-March, however, reports now state that the ministerial meeting will not take place until the end of May. The TPP aims to abolish tariffs on goods and services and establish common rules of origin. The participating countries account for nearly 40 percent of the world's GDP and 26 percent of the world's trade. The Constitution enables Congress to grant the president a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) or a fast track to vote on the treaty as negotiated. It is expected that a bill giving Obama fast track authority will be enacted this spring.

Indian Labor Threatens to Strike

Labor federations, representing port and dock workers at 12 major Indian cargo hubs, have officially advised port authorities of their plan to strike beginning on March 9. Workers stated they will walk off the job due to the federal government's economic policies, particularly a reform of publicly owned ports. The work stoppage arises as leading container ports struggle to clear congestion due to increased volumes and limited inland transportation infrastructure. APM Terminals Mumbai said in a trade advisory, "Port and dock workers have proposed to go on an indefinite strike from March 9 at all major ports in India. We request shipping lines to take this into consideration for their upcoming plans."

NCBFAA 2015 Export Compliance Schedule

The NCBFAA recently notified their membership of the 2015 Export Compliance Schedule which was released by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC). Click here to view the upcoming schedule.

NAFTA Certificate of Origin

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently updated the NAFTA Certificate of Origin (Form 434) to include blocks for importer, exporter, producer and signee email addresses. Find the new Certificate of Origin form here. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local Unitrans International account manager.

General Rate Increases

As previously announced, TSA carriers will implement a GRI in the amount of $12/CBM, $24/MT, $480/20', $600/40', $675/40HQ and $760/45', effective March 9. Additionally, the India Sub-Continent (ISC) to U.S. trade lanes, which includes the origin countries of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have announced a GRI in the amount of $4/CBM, $8/MT, $160/20', $200/40', $225/40HQ and $255/45', effective March 20. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local Unitrans International account manager.

 

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