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AN OVERVIEW ON COMPLIANCE IN OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT

compliance

AN OVERVIEW ON COMPLIANCE IN OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT

Shippers across the globe are sure to be confronted with new disruptions when navigating international markets–regardless of the shipping method put into place. Gone are the days when minimal compliance efforts are overlooked or passed off as acceptable. In the modern trade arena, compliance and accuracy are everything.

Tack on the pandemic, an ongoing trade war and what seems like a constantly shifting trade landscape, and compliance efforts can seem downright daunting and costly–especially to and from the U.S., according to Ben Bidwell, director of North America Customs and Compliance at C.H. Robinson.

“Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty once said, ‘If you think compliance is expensive, you should try non-compliance.’ When shippers make mistakes, it can become costly and not just in terms of freight delays, but it can lead to seizure of goods and even jail time for those who are involved,” explains Bidwell. 


The C.H. Robinson executive shares that not only do shippers have to be more careful now than ever when trading across borders, but simply understanding the evergreen trade landscape and various barriers is a critical part of successful operations.

“Challenges in today’s trade market include Section 301, punitive tariffs, forced labor concerns and more,” Bidwell says. “But shippers cannot afford to forget about basics such as the U.S. Customs List of Trade Priority Issues, for example. Customs has certainly not lost sight of that list, and the importing community can’t afford to lose sight of it either.”

Different challenges require unique, strategic approaches in management. The constant shifting of these challenges depends primarily on the country in question, the products being shipped and local customs regulations. This is where automation, advanced technology and access to critical information can serve as significant game-changers for your customers and operations.

Trade & Tariffs Insights, a page on the C.H. Robinson website, “brings the latest challenges, changes and more wrapped together for importers and exporters to utilize and understand,” Bidwell says. “This resource helps shippers get the information they need–not only to remain compliant but to also keep them updated on the latest changes and potential changes that could impact their business.”

Staying informed with rock solid information is becoming ever more important, Bidwell notes.

“Visibility, access to your data and data analytics are critical in running a compliant and successful supply chain,” he says. “It equals not only results in compliance, but also duty savings, duty mitigation opportunities and overall awareness.”

C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere platform does exactly that. The data analysis tools (Carrier, Insight and Vision) capture key elements in the importing and exporting process while providing a clear path of data-backed insights and next-step actions. Navisphere leaves the guessing out of the process and enables customers to make informed decisions and cost analysis. Additionally, the different Navisphere tools serve as an extension in predictive data allowing shippers to proactively plan their next move.

“Shippers can go in and see where they are paying the most in duties and taxes by country, by specific commodity, by shipper, etc.; they can see all of that data side-by-side,” Bidwell says. “This feature gives them the opportunity to make informed decisions and assist with weighing, should we look at alternative sourcing options, for example.”

Another trending issue within the importing and exporting landscape is forced labor compliance. Bidwell shares that the penalties for such compliance issues–regardless of whether the importer is aware—are costly and can lead to the ultimate seizure or destruction of the goods in addition to severe civil penalties.

“Anytime you are shipping across borders, it is important to have a compliance program in place and that your company has individuals or a team dedicated to reviewing and maintaining that program,” he adds. “C.H. Robinson has worked with thousands of companies related to this. At the end of the day, our role is to act as an extension of their team, to not only get them up to speed on what they need to be doing from a compliance perspective, but in the long-term acting as a reliable partner to ensure their ongoing compliance.”

Shippers must keep in mind that customs has eyes on their shipments and implementing proactive rather than reactive measures will greatly benefit the business in the long-term. Bidwell advises that to ensure compliance measures are met and maintained, costs are inevitable. It really boils down to when these costs are enforced.

“Compliance is an investment. It may cost more on the front-end but skipping out on that investment could cost you tenfold in the long term. As far as other supporting elements with compliance efforts, I recommend going back to the data analytics and visibility of your own data, because that information can be telling, and it allows you to identify anomalies as they occur.”

Investing in a solid compliance strategy is not just for shippers, it is a critical piece to the entire process, throughout the whole supply chain. With the labor shortage being felt in almost every industry, the logistics sector cannot afford to skip out on the creation and adherence to acceptable compliance efforts. When employees are professionally trained and informed on upcoming changes within the market, your business benefits.

“It’s about getting back to basics and not losing sight of all of the baseline compliance that comes with importing and exporting,” Bidwell says. “It is easy to get lost with all the changes that are happening with trade policy and a very volatile market. Companies must ensure that they do not lose sight of traditional basic compliance, because that stuff hasn’t gone away, and customs certainly hasn’t stopped.”

C.H. Robinson provides solutions for their customers at the local level and across the globe. Ensuring all bases are covered through customs and compliance experts enables the customer to rely on these resource experts to advise on how to ensure their supply chain is compliant. 

To learn more about C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere technology platform or other offerings, please visit chrobinson.com/en-us/technology/navisphere/.

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Ben Bidwell is the director of North America customs and compliance at C.H. Robinson. Ben joined C.H. Robinson in 2004 and became a Licensed Customs House Broker in 2007. Throughout his career at C.H. Robinson, he has consulted and resolved a wide range of customs disputes for clients involving classification, country of origin, marking violations, seizures and protests for products ranging from hospitality goods, automobile tires, apparel and textiles, toys and other consumer retail goods.

cybersecurity

E-COMMERCE VS. MANUFACTURING CYBERSECURITY: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

In the digital world, most of us are constantly immersed in protecting data while ensuring smooth operations that have become increasingly complex in recent years, particularly in the age of COVID-19 for manufacturers and e-commerce leaders. With concerns of maximizing cybersecurity compliance increasing almost as quickly as consumer demand, we decided to take a deeper look at how data protection ties into e-commerce and manufacturing and what companies can do to remain competitive, compliant and trustworthy in the eyes of their customers. 

To gain a better understanding, we looked to Bindu Sundaresan, director at AT&T Cybersecurity Consulting. With the firm for the past 12 years, Sundaresan and her organization offer planning and professional services to help customers in retail, healthcare, manufacturing, finance and more reduce cyber risks.


 

“You name the emerging technology irrespective of customer security maturity, we are there,” Sundaresan says. “We are starting to see some implications of rushed transformation efforts, putting companies at larger risk. They have to take stock of their altered risk profile as the threat surface grows and with the adoption of digital technologies in pursuit of new business models and enhanced customer experiences such as e-commerce in manufacturing.”

She adds that in the modern age, e-commerce is no longer just in sight for retailers or e-tailers. In fact, e-commerce has transformed the way major industries are conducting business from manufacturing, B2B and even shippers. 

“It’s a whole function, end-to-end in terms of when the ordering is placed to checking on what stocks are available, to shipping,” Sundaresan says. “This is all happening through front-end e-commerce websites. E-commerce in general is an attractive target for the malicious actor, because that’s where the money is.”

Data protection in the digital space requires a strategic and tedious process–two words some would never think to put in the same sentence when talking technology. For businesses to successfully secure consumer data, company data and overall cybersecurity, all moving parts must be considered, starting with the basics. Sundaresan emphasizes that just because digital applications have been simplified, it does not ensure a successful launch of data-secured applications.

“Follow the data, think about every connection, think about the data flow, think about every connection you are making for every asset within your organization. Web application security must be taken seriously. Application Security 101 is how you should secure your third-party and open-source code because approximately 96 percent of apps today use borrowed code. Sure, it is a great way of standing an application up, making it run fast, and saving development time and resources. But at the same time, it will introduce vulnerabilities into your infrastructure.” 

From its inception, web applications present competitive advantages—and significant vulnerabilities if not properly deployed. One must carefully consider the limitations and vulnerabilities of the selected tools over protected information to effectively secure and operate it. 

“It’s not just about fraud protection or credit card data behind these applications,” Sundaresan notes. “It is about the denial-of-service attacks that can happen, making your website unavailable. It is not somebody stealing, it is somebody getting availability. It is about using your website and your brand to craft another webpage that looks exactly like your brand, and then do SQL injection on it. E-commerce websites now have sophisticated tools with shielding applications and technologies available. These are all affordable and easily consumable, eliminating the need to go in and actually change the code.”

Whether we realize it or not, almost all of us are using some type of e-commerce platform, IoT device or another form of digital technology enabling connectivity between us and the outside world of products and goods.

“Everyone cares about privacy, and this is a common thread across industry verticals,” Sundaresan explains. “We all use internally built applications, APIs and take payment information. Anyone that takes credit card information needs to comply with the PCI standard. It covers a lot of web applications and e-commerce security controls that are a must. Compliance is not the end goal, but it’s a great starting point for your framework.”

Looking at manufacturing, we see a different story unfold. Data protection measures are approached from a different angle that does not consider coverage for sensitive consumer payment information or personal identification. After all, many manufacturers are not dealing directly with the consumer but still have a need for securing digital transformation in the sector.

“As a manufacturer, you have to think about what the attack surface looks like and what the protection surface looks like,” Sundaresan warns. “It is critical for manufacturers to think of each new connection as a potential vulnerability to their attack surface. Gone are the days where manufacturers are going to look at just safety and well-being as the only priorities–security is now top of mind, and it should be.” 

Along with basically every other industry sector across the globe, COVID-19 impacted and changed manufacturing. Sundaresan highlights the changes sparked by the pandemic and how manufacturers are now prioritizing data security. 

“COVID propelled smart manufacturing, showing us that security is more about risk and resilience rather than just providing a technological element to operations. We have enough tools out there, and it’s time to initiate the joining of forces and look at how data can be exploited because of unpatched systems in manufacturing.” 

Over the past 12 years, Sundaresan and her team at AT&T Cybersecurity Consulting have learned the adage, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link” was more than relevant during the pandemic for the supply chain, challenging the notion that just because a company is not focused on B2C operations does not eliminate risk for data breaches and threatened security.

“In the 20 years I have been working in the industry, there is not one thing that we don’t do at AT&T Cybersecurity. Some assume we might only do large projects or cater to those if they are connected to our network. That is not the case. In relation to the industry as a whole, an important takeaway is to remember that what manufacturing and healthcare are going through now, retail and finance went through this same thing about two, three years ago.” 

To learn more about AT&T Cybersecurity and its diverse solutions portfolio, visit: https://cybersecurity.att.com/

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Bindu’s experience, which spans more than 20 years, has been shaped by the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most innovative companies. She has worked with industry frameworks, including NIST/ISO/HITRUST, regulatory requirements including PCI, NERC, and HIPAA. Bindu has led dozens of cyber-risk engagements for Fortune 500 clients from strategy to technology implementation to breach response. She was tapped to lead a complex PCI and HIPAA compliance assessment for a leading global retailer, spearheaded a $1M security assessment, and worked on securing Criminal Justice Information Sharing Networks in NYC. Before AT&T, Bindu was a Senior Manager with Verisign. Before joining Verisign, she was a Senior Consultant with KPMG and a Senior Network engineer. Her love for teaching and mentoring started with her role as an Adjunct Faculty with the State University of New York (SUNY).

wallbox

Arlington, Texas Welcomes Global Electric Vehicle Charging Company Wallbox

The Lone Star State now represents the very first U.S.-based manufacturing site for global electric vehicle charging solutions company, Wallbox. Headquartered in Barcelona, Wallbox announced the exciting expansion news earlier this week, citing Arlington’s central location, cross-country highway access, and proximity to some of Texas’ major cities. The Arlington facility is the fourth manufacturing site globally, with one currently in Europe and Chinese markets, and is projected to create 250 direct jobs in the region by 2030,

The new 130,000 square foot high-tech plant will see production beginning as early as June 2022. Wallbox confirmed a total of 290,000 units are projected annually in this facility by 2027 and will reach full capacity of 500,000 units by 2030.


 

“The U.S. automotive and energy markets are at an inflection point. Automotive electrification will accelerate significantly due to initiatives aimed at meeting aggressive greenhouse gas emission targets, which will significantly increase the demand for our EV charging and energy management solutions,” said Enric Asunción, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wallbox. “This new factory will be an instrumental step in our expansion in the North American market, enabling us not only to meet the growing demand, but also to accelerate the launch of new products and enter the business and public EV charging segments as we bring our production stateside.”

“Project Quick Charge” was the dedicated code name for the company at the launch of the project by site locations veteran Eric Kleinsorge of Global Site Location Industries (GSLI). The company hosted a dedicated webinar back in June announcing the initial project specs and RFP requirements.

“The Wallbox team was great to work with,” added Eric Kleinsorge, Chairman and CEO of Global Site Location Industries (GSLI). “The project was very fast-tracked and took a tremendous amount of focused attention. The Wallbox and GSLI teams really stepped up together for a very successful location decision. We are excited to see their first US Manufacturing Plant off to such a great start.”

Plans for additional expansion in the U.S. over the next decade were also cited in the announcement, with plans to further support the North American market presently being pushed for the electrification of automobiles.

“Between the highly successful launch of our residential charger Pulsar Plus and our recently announced strategic alliance with SunPower to offer packaged EV charger and solar installations across the U.S. market, Wallbox has made great strides in establishing and growing its brand in the country this year,” said Douglas Alfaro, GM of North America at Wallbox. “The U.S. factory is another important milestone to expand our local footprint. Wallbox will be able to better serve American customers, increase its solutions offerings and support the nation’s transition toward electric mobility”, he concluded.

counterfeit

HOW DUBAI CUSTOMS STOPS COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS FROM ENTERING THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Dubai Customs continues to position itself as a leader in countering illicit product transport, with regular reports showcasing the efforts and successes throughout each year. Dubai Customs remains one of the leading organizations in halting counterfeit imports in the supply chain. Additionally, the organization continues to lead efforts in sustainable solutions for discarding seized products. In 2020, the organization recycled 1,906 counterfeit items ranging from computers to athletic shoes and mobile headphones.

In this exclusive Q&A with His Excellency (HE) Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, director general of Dubai Customs, we get a behind-the-scenes peek at how the organization continues protecting consumers and the environment from counterfeit products and the international supply chain from illicit trade.

Global Trade (GT): Please discuss how Dubai Customs has successfully stopped counterfeit products from entering the supply chain.

HE Musabih: Dubai Customs works to perform all UAE obligations under international trade regulations and agreements and pays great attention to the protection of intellectual property [IP] rights. These efforts have led the United States to a decision to remove the UAE from the Watch List for Intellectual Property, according to the annual report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative [USTR], an affiliate of the U.S. federal government, on the Intellectual Property Protection. 

The total number of IP disputes resolved by the department in the first quarter of 2021 was around 81 disputes, with an estimated value of AED [Emirati dirham] 11.3 million. In 2020, 255 IP disputes were resolved, with an estimated value of AED 62.2 million.

One of the most prominent seizures carried out by the department was the foiling of the smuggling of 58 counterfeit goods of oil and gas pipes based on a complaint received by the department from [Middle Eastern IP consultancy] Cedar White Bradley regarding counterfeit goods loaded in four containers coming from an Asian country to Dubai. The goods were to be brought to the UAE as original goods of oil transport pipes bearing the Vallourec trademark. These pipes posed significant risks to the environment as they were not capable of withstanding high pressure that the original pipes of that trademark were designed to withstand. This could have caused serious environmental damage if the counterfeit pipes reached the country of origin and were used for oil and gas projects.

Our efforts to combat counterfeit goods have resulted in the application of a series of measures and steps adopted by the department to resolve IP disputes relating to trademark counterfeiting goods. These measures and three steps are as follows:

1. Customs inspectors in our customs checkpoints suspect counterfeit goods through inspection activities.

2. Counterfeit goods are pre-monitored by the Smart Risk Engine System developed by the department to identify risks in commercial shipments prior to their arrival to our customs checkpoints.

3. A trademark infringement complaint is filed by the trademark owner or its legal representative.

GT: What role does technology play in halting counterfeit trade? 

HE Musabih: Advanced electronic systems and applications effectively contribute to countering attempts to smuggle counterfeit goods through pre-monitoring of risks in commercial shipments. Dubai Customs has developed the Smart Risk Engine System to manage and analyze customs risks efficiently to determine risk levels in future shipments and track prohibited, restricted goods and counterfeit goods before they reach customs posts of Dubai. This process is completed by inspection and detection by highly skilled customs inspectors. 

Last year, the department organized 10 workshops that were attended by 309 participants to familiarize customs inspectors and officials with how to distinguish between counterfeit and original goods. In the first quarter of 2021, two workshops were organized, which were attended by 68 participants.

The technology used in risk management has enabled us to control counterfeit goods. For example, the Customs Intelligence Department and Air Customs checkpoints management inspectors worked in coordination with the IPR Department to successfully thwart an attempt to bring a shipment bearing the “Vaseline” counterfeit trademark in the quantity of 17,280 packages coming from an Asian country via air freight, with a market value of about AED 400,000. 

GT: What are some best practices Dubai Customs recommends for preventing counterfeit/illicit trade?

HE Musabih: Prevention of illicit trade of counterfeit goods is an integrated process that should include thwarting the smuggling of goods across borders through cooperation between customs departments, border control and partnerships with the private sector represented by trademark owners. This requires development of the technologies used in inspection activities and improvement of the performance of customs inspectors through continuous training while raising awareness among consumers of the dangers of counterfeit goods.

The IPR Department, through the Awareness and Education Division, contributes to raising awareness about the importance of implementing the IPR Policy internally and externally, so that internal awareness activities target customs officials and inspectors while external awareness events organized by the department target all groups of society. The number of awareness events organized by the department in the first quarter of 2021 to inform customers, partners and the public of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights, reached 12 awareness events. There were 1,394 beneficiaries of these events, including inspectors, government department staff and school students. In 2020, about 46 awareness events were organized with 2,358 beneficiaries from these categories.

The department applies environmental sustainability standards in combating counterfeit goods to achieve the UAE Agenda for Sustainable Development by stopping shipments containing counterfeit goods while avoiding environmental damage resulting from their destruction, through recycling of counterfeit goods. Through these operations, Dubai Customs prohibits the re-export of counterfeit goods to limit the trade of these goods in the world. The department has recycled about 510, 000 pieces of counterfeit goods of 26 trademarks during the first quarter of 2021. In 2020, about 161,800 counterfeit goods of 60 trademarks were recycled.

GT: How does Dubai Customs ensure the security of the supply chain?

HE Musabih: Dubai Customs is making its best efforts to prevent counterfeit goods, having allocated substantial budget to develop its system of procedures through smart devices and innovations launched by the department with a view to improving its ability to counter smuggling attempts, most notably high-capacity scanners [X-ray]. Goods within containers are detected with six scanners operating under the Advanced Container Scanning System in Jebel Ali, with a capacity of scanning 900 containers per hour. These are supported by the operating room, which follows up on operations in customs checkpoints in addition to the Early Trademark Information System and the Smart Risk Engine System targeting risk shipments.

We have an intelligence-led approach to preventing illicit trade, which relies on effective data collection and analysis, risk profiling and targeting. The comprehensive system uses technology to support public awareness, detection, enforcement and sector-specific intelligence around illicit trade and smuggling activities that pose risk for the economy and the society. But when it comes to tackling illicit trade in counterfeits, we believe that improved IP enforcement and regulatory compliance are key, but this alone will not be enough without engaging all stakeholders and consumers through enhanced consumer protection and public awareness initiatives to ensure demand for counterfeit products is reduced. 

Learn more: 

https://www.dubaicustoms.gov.ae

https://www.wfmj.com/story/42253899/counterfeit-vallourec-tubes-seized-in-dubai

https://gulfnews.com/uae/crime/dubai-customs-foil-bid-to-smuggle-fake-vaseline-worth-dh400000-1.79303481

data

THE SOLUTION TO MITIGATING RISKS FOR TODAY’S 3PL COMES DOWN TO DATA

Gaps in operations are not biased. Whether you are a warehouse manager navigating scheduling oversights or a fleet manager solving the next best approach to reducing costs, gaps in operations within the global logistics arena are inevitable. The real concern is how the modern-day 3PL provider can successfully mitigate risks while minimizing common gaps before they become a critical problem. 

Until one can jump to the list of solutions ranging from technology applications to hybrid work models, the most common (and possibly least talked about) gaps must be identified. Taking it a step further, 3PL providers should have a solid understanding of the why behind the what. In other words, they should ask themselves: Why are these gaps present within our operations and can they be resolved? Are these gaps common within the industry or are they unique to my company?

“One of the bigger gaps in the industry is the availability of timely and accurate data back to the shippers and to the community,” states Jason Carl, vice president of 4PL Solutions at BridgeNet Solutions. “3PLs are sitting on a wealth of data and information, and the ability to harness that effectively has always been a gap from my perspective. Delivering standardized timely information and data makes all the difference for a shipper in today’s environment.”

Carl has more than 15 years of experience in the logistics arena, ranging from ocean exports to operations. He originally started his career with Evergreen Line before moving on to BDP International for 13 years, managing operations for several multinational clients. He moved to BridgeNet two years ago to head the 4PL product.

BridgeNet Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BDP, provides sourcing, outsource sourcing procurement and managed transportation services focusing primarily on data analytics for more effective supply chain management.

BridgeNet’s cloud-based data solution, Xonar, is the company’s analytics and execution platform based on a foundation of accurate data collection combined with a robust analytics layer. Xonar enables BridgeNet to effectively collect and share critical information from shipper ERP systems, 3PL providers and freight payment companies. Carl cites this solution and the above capabilities as a game-changer for the company among competitors.

“Oftentimes what you find is that providers offering these solutions could be largely just software as a service or a technology company,” he explains. “At BridgeNet, we extend both the technology and the execution components to our customers, ensuring they can rely on an excellent integration hub paired with customizable technology based on the customer’s needs. We also offer a network of control tower operations based in Asia, Europe and the Americas to oversee that and to orchestrate the flow of information that’s moving through Xonar on a day-to-day basis.”

To be successful at identifying and eliminating common gaps in processes, the provider must consider the quality of the information coming in and going out. It is critical the provider understands where this information could be compromised–or even worse, completely missed. 

“3PLs need to understand the why,” Carl says. “Not just at the strategic level but also down to the desk level. It enables better decision-making on a day-to-day basis that really benefits shippers in ways that are often overlooked. The quality of the data can be a game-changer for planning processes and for decision-making overall. There is an increased recognition of that at least in the conversations I’m having.”

Beyond closing gaps in operations and day-to-day processes, Carl emphasizes the importance of looking at the big picture rather than just the result, citing innovative technology as a distraction for what is really going on layers deep within a data solution. 

“If the underlying data is not high quality, not standardized, not tightly controlled, then it’s not going to yield the results that providers want to achieve from that piece of technology. The value of that underlying information cannot be discounted. Before you go on the tech journey, providers should focus on the information that is going to fuel operations. This is where 4PLs can step in.”

As for the role of the 4PL provider, they are part of the bigger picture of where your data is coming from and what it all means. Data translation is equally as important as data collection. If a provider cannot identify the value from the data, the role of analytics becomes a moot point. That’s why Carl emphasizes the need to look and think outside of the box for solutions that are not only more cost-effective but add significant value to client needs. 

“4PLs can act as a translator or the intermediary to help provide data-driven insights to shippers by standardizing information from a multitude of 3PLs and then translate shipper’s needs and strategies for actionable change from the 3PL,” he says. “This bridge between the two entities can be a great help but it is not always the right fit for every shipper or for every supply chain. There are many situations where, now more than ever, a 4PL provider can provide a lot of value and support for 3PL operations and processes.”

Whether it is a pandemic or random disruption (think Suez Canal), the conversation of eliminating gaps in operations would be incomplete without addressing how the logistics industry has shifted looking back at the last year and a half. Buzzwords such as “agile” and “adaptable” might very well be accurate, but in what ways are 3PL providers being challenged to maximize their position in a competitive market? Carl points to letting go of the past as many companies still utilize lessons learned to affirm the success of the future.

“Gone are the days where the 3PL can rest on proverbial laurels and be complacent based on past success and relationships,” he warns. “The past 18 months have proven this. The existing network that 3PLs may have been operating for a customer for many years may no longer be sufficient in 2021. The needs are going to change, and it’s important that 3PLs are responding effectively to compete and be good partners for the shipping community.”

________________________________________________________________

Jason Carl is vice president of 4PL Solutions at BridgeNet, a BDP International company, where he oversees the development, performance and operations of the 4PL product and global control tower teams. He has more than 15 years’ experience helping customers improve and optimize complex supply chains through technology and process optimization. Carl holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and an MBA in Strategy from Temple University’s Fox School of Business. He can be reached at jcarl@bridgenetsolutions.com

baton rouge

PROJECTING GOOD THINGS FOR THE PORT OF GREATER BATON ROUGE

Despite a worldwide pandemic, three successful projects were completed at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in 2020: a major expansion of shipping container storage capacity; delivery of a custom-made, deep-reach stacker for transloading containers into and out of barges; and the opening of a $22 million railcar chambering yard.

Last year, more than 16,000 containers moved through the Louisiana port, more than double the volume of 2017 when the service began. In the process, SEACOR AMH LLC transports empty containers from Memphis to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge via barge to be loaded with resin from area plants, and then moves the loaded barges downriver to the Port of New Orleans for international transport. 

This rapid increase in container volumes prompted the Port of Greater Baton Rouge to increase the size of its container storage facility. The $5 million expansion created nearly 4 acres of additional paved container storage capacity and gave the port the ability to store about 2,000 containers.

A 20% efficiency gain in its container operations was just one positive outcome of the port’s new, deep-reach container stacker known as The Big Red Beast. With its telescopic boom for stacking four containers high, shorter loading and unloading times have helped meet the increasing demand for container shipping services for area customers in the petrochemical industry sector, says Port Executive Director Jay Hardman. Financed almost 100% by a Maritime Administration grant, the one-of-a-kind Beast was designed and manufactured specifically for the port by Taylor Machine Works of Louisville, Mississippi.

The railcar chambering yard was completed in 2020 on port property south of the Intracoastal Waterway. The yard facilitates the storage of railcars and expedites the arrival and departure of unit trains of 80 or more railcars into and out of the port. The chambering yard currently facilitates delivery by rail of wood pellets to tenant Drax Biomass for export overseas. Grön Fuels, which recently announced plans to build a $9.2 billion renewable fuels complex at the site, is also planning the utilization of the rail chambering yard.

The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the head of deepwater navigation on the Mississippi River; a 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. The port’s deepwater terminal on the Mississippi is currently capable of docking three deep-draft vessels simultaneously. 

 

Port leadership recently applied to the Louisiana Department of Transportation Port Construction and Development Priority Program (PCDPP) for a $15 million rehabilitation/expansion of its “Northern Berth” on the Mississippi River that would allow for the Port of Greater Baton Rouge to have a fourth deep draft vessel berth at its northernmost point.

port of baltimore

VERY EXCITING TIMES FOR THE PORT OF BALTIMORE

The Port of Baltimore continues expansion efforts following the completion of successful dredging operations for a second 50-foot-deep container berth at its Seagirt Marine Terminal on April 20. 

This project—supported by a partnership between the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) and Ports America Chesapeake—started in January and will allow the simultaneous handling of two ultra-large ships. 

The 50-foot berth paired with the Howard Street Terminal expansion project will not only increase business opportunities but also grow the region’s workforce, adding more value to the $122.1 million investment. Of this amount, $105 million is from Ports America, $10.5 million from the state, and $6.6 million in federal funding.

The second, deep-container berth project was spearheaded and completed by Corman Kokosing of Annapolis Junction with the help of two dredges—Koko V and Koko VI. Additionally, more than 465,000 cubic yards of sediment were successfully removed by the company’s SN3 unloader barge for reuse in land restoration and more. With this new addition, the port announced the addition of four neo-Panamax cranes to arrive and be operational later this year at Seagirt.

“The Port of Baltimore and its skilled workforce have always played a key role in supporting Maryland’s economy and keeping the state’s supply chain open and reliable,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “Now, together with our public and private partners, we’re seeing the future of the port take shape. Additional berth capacity and the ability to move cargo on double-stacked rail cars with the Howard Street Tunnel expansion will attract new and expanded business to the port, boost revenue, grow jobs and lead the way in Maryland’s economic recovery.”

The expansion of the region’s Howard Street Terminal aims to improve capacity along the East Coast’s rail lines from Baltimore, pending the final approval by the National Environmental Policy Act. Construction at the 126-year-old terminal is projected to begin at the end of 2021 and is supported by public-private investments between the federal government, Maryland, CSX and others. These developments continue supporting the region’s workforce while increasing state tax revenue and funds for the Transportation Trust Fund.

“We’re moving forward in the Port of Baltimore,” said MDOT MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle. “We appreciate the on-time and on-budget dredging work completed by Maryland-based Corman Kokosing, a great U.S.-flag dredging and marine construction operator. This summer, we’ll welcome four new neo-Panamax cranes and later this year, we’ll break ground on the Howard Street Tunnel project, giving the port and CSX double-stack capability north, south and all the way out to Chicago. These are very exciting times for the Port of Baltimore.”

nansha

PORT OF NANSHA’S LATEST INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS PROPEL LOGISTICS SERVICES ACROSS THE GLOBE

Port of Nansha, which is part of the Guangzhou Port Group, is now the fifth-largest port globally and the fastest-growing port in South China. Encompassing the Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, and Jiangmen regions, the Port of Nansha continues increasing its international presence through strategic infrastructure projects. 

The latest development, which was deemed the International Logistics Center, serves as a mega-warehouse complex accommodating dry and cold warehouses with new on-dock rail connections for incoming manufacturers and vendors.

As part of the overall goal driving the International Logistics Center, Shenzhen Warehousing is officially at max capacity, further reiterating the importance of port diversification to promote a balanced and agile supply chain. The cold chain warehouse will accommodate a total storage capacity of 460,000 tons upon completion–the largest cold chain facility in South China. 

“Port of Nansha Cold Logistics Warehouse, with rail access to/from the Hinterlands and Europe, will undoubtfully be a game-changer in our industry,” says TKTKTK, an International Logistics Center executive.

The port’s developing dry warehouse will support intermodal logistics and general-purpose warehousing services with 1.8 million square feet of total coverage. Nansha’s on-dock railway station will cover 1.05 million square feet of that area as well. Long-term goals for this development will support expansions in consumer goods, distribution, 3PL and e-commerce services.

“We were attracted to Nansha because of its strategic location and business-friendly approach to helping companies like ours to grow,” stated TKTKTK, a 3PL anchor tenant. “The opening of this new dry warehouse will drastically save on warehousing cost, origin dray, and reduce lead times for our  e-commerce customers.”

Nansha’s $231 million railway project spans from the Guangzhou Nansha Port in the east, connecting the Beijing Guangzhou Railway via the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Railway to the north and the Guizhou-Guangzhou, Nanning-Guangzhou and Liuzhou-Zhao Qing railway to the west. This massive project is known as the only on-dock rail in South China and serves as a gateway into the Belt & Road Initiative.

Meeting unprecedented demand brought on by the pandemic inspired the latest addition of a fourth new terminal offering fully automated capabilities starting this year. The construction of the new terminal will support the addition of 5 million TEUs to Nansha’s container throughput capacity and increasing the total ship-to-shore crane count from 65 to 78.

Port of Nansha America CEO and Founder John L. Painter confirmed they will continue to capitalize on additional growth opportunities, particularly to and from the North American market, which is requesting more ocean services. In 2020, Nansha saw a 55.4 percent increase in TEU movement to/from North America compared to 2019 reports, bringing the total number of TEUs moved globally to more than 17.5 million of the 23.51 million TEUs Guangzhou Port Group moved globally in 2020.

truckers

DESPITE MANY CHALLENGES, TRUCKERS ARE KEEPING THE SUPPLY CHAIN MOVING. HERE IS HOW.

Of all the lessons learned from the pandemic, the critical role of supply chain workers remains among the most significant. Simply put, without the people keeping things moving, the supply chain suffers. Truckers are among supply chain workers who represent industry resilience, ensuring deliveries and shipments are fulfilled before, during and after COVID-19. 

However, protecting truck drivers has become less of a thought and more of a formality in the new normal. We looked to Avi Geller, CEO and founder of Maven Machines, to give us an idea of exactly how truck drivers are handling the new logistics climate and what companies can do to further protect, support and retain their workers. 

“The pandemic has had a substantial impact on the trucking industry, requiring fleets to accelerate digital transformation efforts like the widespread adoption of data and AI-based technologies,” Geller said. “Increased demand since 2020, coupled with an ongoing driver shortage, has forced fleets to reevaluate processes, plans and current levels of efficiency. Route optimization and planning technology can automatically provide managers with the best possible plans by considering variables such as traffic, road quality and weather. As route optimization tech becomes more advanced, driver preferences and proficiencies can also be taken into account as variables in machine learning algorithms.”

Geller goes on to explain that in 2021, the stakes are higher than ever before. Companies no longer have room for error when it comes to compliance and transport conditions. And with the surge of demand in pharmaceutical transportation for the COVID vaccine, the transportation sector is under even more pressure to quickly deliver vaccines at accurate temperatures while keeping employees safe. Utilizing technology solutions to keep up with demand and meet shipment requirements will be a significant game-changer for many. 

“Companies must ensure that their drivers adhere to compliance mandates and delivery timelines,” Geller observes. “For instance, COVID-19 vaccines require super cold storage temperatures. Drivers carrying vaccines must follow the appropriate shipping protocols and reach their destinations on time to prevent costly disruptions to the super cold supply chain. More than ever, drivers are relying on fleet management software to increase productivity and using route optimization and workflow technologies to their advantage.”

If retaining drivers was not already an issue, recruiting qualified drivers continues to be a pain point for the trucking industry. And with COVID-19 now in the mix, fleet managers are seeing more of their drivers leaving and a shortage of talent to quickly replace them.

“The trucking industry’s largest challenge today is the shortage of qualified drivers,” Geller says. “We cannot afford to lose drivers, but more are leaving the field than we are able to replace. We need to continue to find ways to revitalize the driver workforce and encourage people to join the profession. The pandemic has only highlighted our dependency on these employees, who are some of the economy’s most essential workers.”

Geller reiterates the importance of providing drivers with an experience that stands out from competing sectors, including providing accommodative tech solutions to minimize redundancies and maintain driver safety as a priority instead of an afterthought.  

“To stop the driver attrition and attract more drivers, fleets must prioritize the driver experience—and the right technology can help them do so,” he says. “Route optimization, ELD, and fleet workflow software foster a safer, more productive work environment by providing drivers with the fastest routes, automating the most tedious tasks, ensuring compliance, and presenting stop-based forms and step-by-step workflows that help them progress smoothly through their assigned trips and ETAs. By better positioning drivers for success, fleets can improve driver satisfaction and give drivers opportunities to be rewarded with pay increases and safety bonuses, which could lead to increased driver recruitment and retainment.

Streamlining operations and communications in the new normal is simply not an option for companies that want to last. The phases of adaptation are behind us.”

Those companies that are left standing in 2021 must continue to advocate for workers while providing a competitive edge for customers through the effective use of technology and automation. Geller’s company, Maven Machines, puts drivers first with their specialized and tailored solutions that optimize operations starting at dispatch all the way through.

“Maven Machines provides fleets with solutions that increase efficiency and elevate their drivers’ work experiences,” he says. “Our solutions for dispatch, route planning, workflow, ELD and fleet management software facilitate driver and trip management while also meeting each fleet’s unique set of operational needs. By eliminating outdated legacy solutions and processes, we are helping to increase fleet success, including driver performance.”

Among the applications tailored specifically for drivers are large, color-coded buttons, alerts, document imaging tools and other utilities that drivers can rely on for communications. Geller states that this technology provides a safe, reliable way for drivers to focus on driving and still manage communications expectations.

“A streamlined messaging system for drivers to communicate with managers, along with other smart features and intuitive user interfaces, keeps drivers safe, on task and satisfied. The driver experience is important, and we’re proud to support drivers with our software.”

For every company, the customer comes first (after the workers, of course). It is important to ensure your solutions portfolio is flexible, adding to the customer experience instead of further complicating it. Maven Machine’s adaptable solution provides solutions for different customer requirements.

“Different customers require different processes, so our flexible Maven Workflow solution takes that into account and provides drivers with the right workflow for their stops and trips,” Geller says. “It is a game-changer in terms of driver productivity. Our dispatch and route optimization software provide drivers with the fastest and safest routes so that they can make more on-time pickups and deliveries. With Maven ELD, drivers use a simple mobile HOS app that allows for faster log editing, helps them reduce HOS violations, and ensures FMCSA compliance.”

In conclusion, providing a safe, reliable, and pleasant experience for drivers and customers is not a new concept. Some would argue that it has always been a priority while others claim it took the pandemic to bring back the saying that when you take care of the workers, they take care of business. 

____________________________________________________________________

Avi Geller is the founder and CEO of Maven Machines. Since 2014, he has led Maven’s growth as an IoT platform that serves the transportation industry through real-time, mobile cloud enterprise software. Avi originally hails from Palo Alto, California, but he started Maven in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, due to the city’s impressive innovation and technology resources. Prior to founding Maven, he held international positions with SAP and contributed to the growth of several successful software companies and startups. Avi has an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Northwestern University.

leadership

TOP 10 WOMEN IN LOGISTICS 2021: MEET THE NATURAL BORN LEADERS WHO ARE REDEFINING THE INDUSTRY

It is hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since our previous annual Women in Logistics spotlight. As the industry continues to break boundaries in resiliency and innovation, what better way to honor the leading ladies behind the companies that not only made it through the pandemic but who continue to grow and redefine greatness in operations, company culture, and transformation? 

Here are our top 10 picks for this year’s Women in Logistics and why they made our special list:

1. Sandra McQuain
Executive Director
England Economic & Industrial Development District 

Topping the list is the first female leader in England Economic & Industrial Development District’s 25-year history. Sandra, who first joined the “England Airpark” in 2018, is also the only female to manage one of the seven commercial airports in the state of Louisiana.

England Airpark is a 3,600-acre economic and industrial development district serving as a home to a Part 139 Commercial Airport (AEX), a staging base for military training and transfer operations, manufacturing, and warehouse facilities, and more. 

Sandra’s primary focus is to provide critical strategic, financial and operational leadership that is driven by more than 25 years of experience working with businesses, government agencies and elected officials. 

Beyond England Airpark, Sandra was appointed by Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards and Secretary of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson to serve as a member of the Resilient Louisiana Commission’s Transportation and Infrastructure Task Force. She also serves on the Transportation Policy Committee and Beltway Committee for the Rapides (Parish) Area Planning Commission and is also a Board Member of Fort Polk Progress. 

Additionally, Sandra works closely with the MORE Initiative of the Association for the Improvement of America’s Infrastructure (AIAI), which recruits women for the transportation and logistics industries.

2. Deidre “Dee” Cusack
Senior Vice President of Global Products and Solutions
Dematic

According to her colleagues, Dee is a prime example of a natural-born leader who challenges her team of more than 1,200 to think differently and push boundaries for greatness. 

Dee currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Products and Solutions at Dematic, a STEM-focused company that has undergone significant growth and transformation thanks to her leadership and strategic commitment to innovation. 

She was appointed top her SVP role mid-pandemic, and yet her company successfully released 18 new products in strategic areas, increased Build with Standards orders by more than $300 million and generated more than 200 new patents.

As if this was not enough, Dee holds recognition for the following awards:

– CEO Award for International Trade, given by Joe Hogan, the former CEO at ABB 

– 7-time winner of the Customer Focus Award, granted by Roger Bailey, President of Power Products at ABB 

– CEO Award for Collaboration, given by Hasan Dandashly, CEO at Dematic 

Speaking of awards, Dee was awarded the largest customer purchase order in history at Ametek Aerospace and five U.S. and international patents.

 

3. Alexi Cashen
Co-Founder and CEO
Elenteny Imports 

Alexi is known for seeking out leadership rather than waiting for it to find her. This approach has served her well throughout her career as an entrepreneur, even amid the 2010 financial crisis. 

It was after Alexi moved to New York City from a small town in Colorado that she partnered with Tim Elenteny and co-founded Elenteny Imports, an alcohol logistics company. Since its launch, Elenteny represents more than 1 million cases annually and works with over 400 global clients while supporting alcohol brands as they navigate the U.S. three-tier system.

It would only make sense that given her history in thriving during a crisis that she would expand her professional horizons in 2020. Elenteny launched their Less than Container Load (LCL) route into Seattle during the global pandemic. 

Furthermore, Alexi started a mentoring-focused podcast just for entrepreneurs in the sparkling spiked beverage industry in 2020 as well.

4. Hima Bindu Challa
Co-founder
limbiq

Hima was born and raised in India, where she completed her Master’s in Computer Applications and began her career. Fast forward to 2009 and she officially pivoted her career focus to the logistics and supply chain industry in the United States, where she would remain for the next 10 years. 

Hima then moved to Germany, where she co-founded limbiq with the sole intention of providing a simple and complete solution to supply chain partners. 

She and her team focused on SMEs as their first target group.  

“We felt that SMEs are the ones with the biggest problems in collaborating with different partners because of their size,” she explains. “We eventually learned that irrespective of size, it’s a problem everywhere.” 

5. Gerri Commodore
Senior Vice President of New Business Implementation
GEODIS Americas

Gerri’s success goes well beyond the numbers and global impact of GEODIS, which ranks among the top supply chain operators in Europe and the world. Her accomplishments have been achieved during more than 20 years in the industry, from operations management, inventory and omnichannel fulfillment strategies to warehouse management systems and supply chain optimization. 

Her current role supports the successful integration of new clients for the company’s North Americans and South American networks–critical to ensuring operations are launched in a timely manner and within budget, according to client goals. 

She is the driving force behind GEODIS’ Women’s Network–focusing on recruiting, retaining and growing female professionals while continuing to improve the industry’s gender balance. Since becoming the network’s chairperson, membership has grown by more than 500 percent—pandemic and all.

Additionally, Gerri was part of the team that was responsible for growing GEODIS’ worldwide female leadership roles from 13% in 2017 to 18% and has pledged to reach 25% by 2023.

6. Darlene Wolf
Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners
Arrive Logistics 

Darlene focuses on utilizing her expertise and experience to support partners from managing network relationships to navigating business challenges with shippers at the top of mind. 

Part of what makes Darlene’s role so impactful is the level of accountability she holds for herself and for her team. Whatever a shipper needs, her team is standing by to deliver successful and smooth operations. 

“I’m so honored to be spotlighted as a distinguished woman in the logistics industry,” Darlene says. “When our industry faces disruptions or challenges, I pride myself on being a leader who consistently promotes innovative solutions.”

7. Cheryl Emery
Director of Field Resources
Penske Logistics 

Cheryl brings more than 30 years of experience to the logistics sector. Prior to her role as an HR director for the company, she took charge as an operator for the business. 

Her time as an operator further supports her current role in talent management, performance, recruiting and retention. 

Cheryl’s skills as an HR business partner goes beyond supporting the growth of Penske’s business as she is now designing policies and procedures focused on operator needs. In doing this, operator needs are clearly outlined so workers know exactly what it takes for policy implementation while meeting the needs of the business. 

8. Yamini Vellore
Chief Information Officer
Blume Global

Yamini’s 30-year career started off strong with Manhattan Associates, where she focused on developing solutions as the VP of Global Research and Development. Fast forward to 2010, and she joined the Hewlett-Packard team in developing and maintaining global IT architecture. 

She did not stop there as she continues breaking barriers for females in the logistics and technology sectors as CIO at Blume Global, where her primary focus is on infrastructure architecture and DevOps.

Yamini strives to ensure Blume’s solutions are available 24x7x365 to a global customer base. Her leadership role redefines standards in diverse hiring practices. 

Blume’s use of Google Cloud Platform services and customer transition heavily rely on expertise that Yamini’s colleagues have cited as “instrumental” to the company’s architecture. 

9. Elise Le
Head of Customer Experience
ClearMetal 

For ClearMetal’s Fortune 1000 customer base, complex supply chains are a given. When it comes to making sure customers have the best experience regardless of their supply chain complexities, ClearMetal calls on Elise.

Known as a distinguished professional in the logistics field, Elisa is cited by colleagues as possessing exceptional skills, high credibility and ongoing persistence in maintaining customer expectations–something that she seems to accomplish with ease.

“Her work distinguishes her in logistics not only as a woman but as an individual,” says one ClearMetal colleague.

The increase in efficiency, growth, and success for ClearMetal is the overarching theme for initiatives spearheaded by Elise and include Repeatable & Scalable Engine, Value Framework, Deployment Efficiency, Upsell Ratio and Revenue, and Employee Development Process. 

10. Elizabeth Kauchak
Chief Operating Officer
Dermody Properties

Elizabeth has been involved in industrial real estate for more than 20 years. During this time, she has worked with countless companies in fulfilling their supply chain and logistics needs. 

Prior to joining Dermody Properties, she was the Market Leader in Northern California for Prologis. 

She has a wealth of knowledge that she has always been happy to share. This goes for both the people she works alongside and especially to her customers. She has fostered a spirit of diversity and inclusion since joining Dermody Properties.