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U.S. Regulators Focus on Compliance Efforts in Enforcement Decisions Involving International Companies

compliance

U.S. Regulators Focus on Compliance Efforts in Enforcement Decisions Involving International Companies

Over the past few years, U.S. regulators have made it clear that having comprehensive and effective compliance policies covering trade is a must, regardless of the company size, location or industry. The government’s move to formalize the importance of compliance programs is a clear signal of what it expects and a harbinger of what is to come.

Why Is Trade Compliance Important Regardless of the Company’s Location?

Trade compliance should be the goal of every global company, in particular as a risk mitigation measure and a positive value proposition. A compliance program serves as a security blanket for large financial institutions accustomed to dealing with regulations, small startups with a cloud-based platform, and even companies with no physical presence in the United States. A trade compliance program lays the groundwork for international companies on how to conduct business in or with the United States.

With changing industry regulations, it is critical to keep up to date and have a compliance program that is effective. Failure to have a strong compliance program could result in increased legal exposure, potentially leading to fines and penalties as well as negative publicity associated with an enforcement action. Maintaining an effective trade compliance program could help companies mitigate penalties for potential violations, and is ultimately cost-effective. For example, last year, the U.S. government imposed $1.3 billion in penalties on cargo firms, penalties that could have been mitigated with robust compliance programs.

 Avoiding U.S. Sanctions

Engaging in the complex global supply chain may be a financial win, but it requires formalized diligence procedures to ensure your company does not run afoul of the law. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has released guidance encouraging organizations to employ a risk-based approach to sanctions compliance and focus on five essential components: senior management commitment, risk assessments, internal controls, testing and auditing, and training. To incentivize companies to engage in international transactions, OFAC also provides that in the case of a violation, it will give favorable consideration to companies with effective sanctions compliance programs and that the existence of such a program may mitigate a civil monetary penalty.

OFAC is not just issuing guidance, it is increasing its enforcement efforts involving both U.S. and foreign entities. It continues to designate more non-U.S. entities that have helped evade U.S. sanctions. For example, several Chinese shipping companies were found to have violated North Korean sanctions, and as a result, were blocked from doing business in the U.S. or with U.S. parties. In January 2020, Eagle Shipping, a Marshall Islands ship management company with headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, agreed to pay $1,125,000 to settle its potential civil liability for 36 apparent violations of the Burmese Sanctions Regulations. The violations involved Eagle Shipping’s affiliate in Singapore entering into a chartering agreement with Myawaddy—an entity identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Eagle filed an application with OFAC requesting a license authorizing it to carry sand cargoes purchased from Myawaddy but continued its dealings while the OFAC application was pending. OFAC ultimately denied the license, but Eagle resumed its dealings with Myawaddy, carrying cargo from Burma to Singapore.

Among the aggravating factors, OFAC considered Eagle’s status as a sophisticated shipping company, which should have had expertise in international trade and global shipping transactions. Among the mitigating factors, OFAC considered Eagle’s efforts to develop and implement a formal sanctions compliance program with specific policies and procedures for compliance screening, transaction checklists, and red-flag identification tools.

Compliance Under Commercial Export Laws

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which administers U.S. commercial export control regulations, also has published comprehensive guidance for companies working to develop or shore up compliance materials. In its guidance, BIS identified the following elements as foundational in creating an effective Export Compliance Program (ECP): management commitment, completing regular risk assessments, obtaining proper export authorization, record-keeping, training, compliance audits, addressing export violations and taking corrective actions, and maintaining your ECP. Like OFAC, BIS emphasizes the importance of tailoring your ECP to your organization and business based on size, volume of exports, geographic location, and other relevant factors. Companies that fail to comply with regulations that govern export controls have experienced significant penalties.

The U.S. export control laws govern not only U.S. companies, but also certain export activities of foreign companies dealing with the export of certain products, technology, or services from the United States to a foreign country. For example, most recently, BIS imposed substantial export and reexport restrictions on Huawei, a Chinese company, and its 68 non-U.S. affiliates in connection with Huawei’s violations of U.S. export laws specific to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. As part of that action, BIS restricted any export, re-export, or transfer of U.S.-origin technology, commodity, or software to Huawei and its entities without an export license.

This enforcement action ultimately impacted both the U.S. and non-U.S. businesses, including big and small tech companies, suppliers, importers, shippers, and financial institutions. Separately, in 2017, the U.S. government imposed a $1.2 billion criminal fine against ZTE, a Chinese telecom equipment company, for shipping U.S.-origin telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. These two cases have affected how U.S. and foreign companies view their compliance programs; they also have incentivized the development and implementation of more robust compliance programs, including vetting procedures and sanctions checks that ensure adherence to the U.S. export control regulations.

Recommended Steps for Ensuring Compliance and Mitigating Risk

-The benefits of having a compliance program in place when a mistake happens are significant. When creating your tailored trade compliance policies and procedures, remember the following:

-Compliance programs should include a comprehensive, independent, and objective testing or audit function to ensure that your business is aware of how its programs are performing.

-Programs should be updated regularly in light of constantly changing regulatory and business environments.

-Ensure that your compliance program has comprehensive coverage to track all parties involved in import and export transactions.

-Even products that seem harmless can be used in ways that companies do not intend. As an organization, you are responsible for knowing how your products will be used and for avoiding government-prohibited end uses.

-Watch for red flags on BIS’s published list.

-Watch for “deemed” exports, which are released in the United States of technology or source code to a foreign person. Such a release is deemed to be an export to the foreign person’s most recent country of citizenship or permanent residency, which may require a license or even be prohibited.

Now more than ever, government offices and agencies are providing the industry with guidance on how best to comply with trade regulations. However, this also means that companies can no longer claim ignorance of trade regulations. Today, companies participating in the global marketplace must take proactive preventive measures to ensure compliance, mitigate risk, and minimize potential penalties.

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 Doreen Edelman and Zarema Jaramillo are attorneys at Lowenstein Sandler.

AI

9 Spend Duplicates Only AI Can Catch

What prevention methods does your company have in place to prevent duplicate spend? Most modern invoice automation systems can look out for two invoices with the same invoice number, or the same amount, and stop a payment that appears to be a duplicate. But this doesn’t find typos in invoice numbers, duplicates across expense and AP systems, or a number of other scenarios you may not even be considered.

AI can help. When it comes to duplicate spend, AI takes an expansive view, looking across all back-office systems, identifying duplicate spend across multiple payments, and more.

By taking advantage of the structured data in your spend systems as well as the unstructured data in your invoices and receipts, you can identify duplicates with ease.

Below are nine types of duplicates that only AI can catch.

1. Manual keying errors

Invoice processes often rely on manual data entry, which is error-prone. An employee might mistype the letter “O” as the number “0”, or “SEPT” as “SEP.” These types of duplicates are preventable and common, but wouldn’t be caught by a traditional invoice system. AI can find manual entry errors in invoice numbers or dates that typically fly under the radar in invoice automation systems and flag them for review.

2. Different supplier divisions

Your company might do business with multiple supplier divisions. These names may be listed separately in your supplier master list, so if you receive the same invoice from these entities, your AP automation system may not detect it. AI can flag duplicate invoices for the same deliverables sent from a supplier’s headquarters and international divisions.

3. Different company divisions

Similar to the example above, your own company’s internal divisions can create confusion. Each division within your company may have its own AP organization and approvals process, and wouldn’t know if an invoice was already received and paid by a separate department. AI can flag duplicate invoices for the same deliverables that are sent to different divisions.

4. Overlapping or cumulative

A supplier may send several invoices and then a quarter-end cumulative invoice, for example, three separate invoices at different amounts (one for $8,500, one for $4,000, and one for $13,200) and then a quarter-end invoice for $25,700. Traditional invoice systems may not catch this, but AI will flag these invoices for review.

5. Line-level

AP automation systems may not extract line details from an invoice. AI will check for duplicates at the line level and discover that, for example, the same services were included in two separate invoices.

6. Different AP systems

Maybe you have several back-office systems because of company mergers. When duplicate invoices hit different systems, your company may never know it. AI integrates with multiple invoice automation systems and flags duplicates regardless of which system they’re in.

7. Duplicate crossover spend

Your company likely doesn’t have visibility across its invoice automation and expense systems, causing you to pay twice for the same service if it’s submitted via T&E reimbursement and again via accounts payable. AI flags this so payments aren’t sent twice.

8. Duplicate expense claim submitted by two different employees

Maybe this is a mistake, or maybe the employees know that expense reports aren’t cross-referenced (especially if they have two different managers, or are in two different departments). Whatever the reason, AI can cross-reference expense reports from any department and flag when the same receipt is found on two different reports.

9. Duplicate expense claim in the same report

After a long business trip, all the receipts may begin to look the same, and an employee might accidentally submit the same expense twice in the same expense report. AI looks at individual line items and flags any duplicates.

How AI can help

Duplicates can take many different forms and can be difficult to find in a manual review process. To gain visibility into their business spend, many companies have embraced AI to achieve 100% visibility into expenses and invoices. Companies that automate their audit process are able to find errors, fraud, and non-compliant spend before payment.

To learn more about how 100% visibility into business spend means to you and gain additional insights on auditing business spend with AI, download our latest research report, The State of Business Spend. The findings focus on the impact of auditing with AI, the risk hiding in expenses and invoices, risky spend, and more.

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Josephine McCann is a Senior Marketing Associate at AppZen, the world’s leading solution for automated expense report audits that leverages artificial intelligence to audit 100% of expense reports, invoices and contacts in seconds.

coronavirus

Coronavirus and Global Trade

Global trade is affected by myriad factors. The latest event to affect the international supply chain is the recent coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This novel virus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700.1 More cases are expected as the virus moves beyond its point of origin in China’s Hubei province to the rest of the world.

Resulting labor deficits and quarantine procedures could have major effects on production and shipping worldwide. Events like this one reinforce the need for companies to have detailed logistical plans in place to compensate for the shortages and delays that are likely to result.

Serious impacts expected

Worldwide health crises and other disasters have had significant effects on the global supply chain in the past. The comparatively minor outbreak of sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) identified in 2003, also originating in China, cost the global economy about $40 billion dollars.2

In the wake of such catastrophes as SARS; the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Hurricane Katrina in 2005; and the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011, it is reasonable to expect that the coronavirus could have similarly long-reaching effects. Several factors are likely to exacerbate its impacts on global supply chain economics.

First, the outbreak occurred during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which took place between Jan. 25 and Feb. 4. Annually, this holiday precipitates what is considered the largest human migration on Earth over a period of about 40 days.3 Between early January and mid-February each year, hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel to visit relatives, much as Americans do during the Christmas holiday.

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, many Lunar New Year celebrations were canceled, and the government issued travel bans4 and instituted a quarantine of millions of people, which prevents laborers from returning to work.5 The quarantine has had major effects on the labor force responsible for producing goods as well as loading and piloting the ships and planes used to transport goods all over the world.

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak might also affect the detente in the trade war between the United States and China signified by the signing of the “phase one” trade deal on Jan. 15. The new deal orchestrated by the administration of President Donald Trump promises $200 billion in sales to China.6 The coronavirus outbreak has the potential to impede these sales by creating a drag on the supply chain.

Identifying alternatives

Companies increasingly have attempted to anticipate the consequences of unexpected events on their suppliers and shippers. Disaster recovery plans have become an essential defense against the ramifications of these events.

While the production of these plans has become an industry in and of itself, all plans are not created equal. Some do not factor in delays in production and transport. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan needs to account for both. Merely hoping that problems will not rear their heads is no longer an adequate strategy.

In the case of the coronavirus outbreak, if a vendor relies on goods produced in China, it needs to have an alternative source of production. With a labor supply held up by quarantine procedures, it might be a while before production capabilities reach normal levels. The trade war has opened competitive production markets in Mexico, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia, among other places. Thus, there is little if any excuse not to have identified other production centers that can make up the shortfall in the event of a disaster.

Furthermore, it is imperative to assess whether transport services will have the capacity to ship existing inventory in the case of a crisis. If there is a backlog and a resulting lack of transport space, shipping costs might increase substantially. Delays in the wake of the Chinese Lunar New Year take place every year regardless, and in a time of crisis, delays will be even more marked. Establishing a plan with shipping partners for such events might not totally offset the cost increase. However, it can create space in the budget for it. Additionally, locating alternative routes and carriers ahead of time can allow companies to circumvent delays entirely.

While certainly expensive and complicated at the outset, disaster planning can pay dividends in the inevitable case of a major global crisis. Even if anticipated delays never manifest, planning for them might open new routes of production and shipping that ultimately can be used to increase efficiency during times of normal business operation.

Thinking ahead

Ample precedent exists for the alternative of no plan, which leads to an inability to meet demand and the financial consequences that result. Investors take note of such deficiencies and allocate funds accordingly. Developing an agile approach to anticipated problems will increase in importance as the global economy becomes more complex.

While the coronavirus outbreak continues, another disaster is already looming. The implementation of Brexit over the next year will have massive consequences in terms of customs and duty, taxation, and supply chain strategy. Getting ahead of this incipient crisis by anticipating its effects on the production and movement of goods can increase your company’s resilience.

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 Learn more

Pete Mento, Managing Director at Crowe LLP

+1 202 779 9907 or pete.mento@crowe.com

Endnotes

1. Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, and Veronica Rocha, “February 25 Coronavirus News,” CNN, Feb. 25, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-25-20-hnk-intl/index.html

2. World Health Organization, “SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome),” https://www.who.int/ith/diseases/sars/en/; William Feuer, “Coronavirus: The Hit to the Global Economy Will Be Worse Than SARS,” cnbc.com, Feb. 6, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/06/coronavirus-the-hit-to-the-global-economy-will-be-worse-than-sars.html

3. Karla Cripps and Serenitie Wang, “World’s Largest Annual Human Migration Now Underway in China,” CNN, Jan. 23, 2019 https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lunar-new-year-travel-rush-2019/index.html

4. “China Coronavirus Spread Is Accelerating, Xi Jinping Warns,” Jan. 26, 2020, BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51249208

5. Emily Feng, “45 Million Chinese Now Under Quarantine as Officials Try to Halt Coronavirus Spread,” NPR, Jan. 27, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/01/27/800158025/45-million-chinese-now-under-quarantine-as-officials-try-to-halt-coronavirus-spr

6. James Palmer, “The ‘Phase One’ Trade Deal Is Still Hypothetical,” Foreign Policy, Jan. 15, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/15/phase-one-us-china-trade-deal-hypothetical-trump-liu-he/

discover

Convey’s Discover Provides Proactive Options for Retailers

Delivery management and visibility in delivery delays is taken to a whole new level thanks to a new solutions platform launched just in time for the holidays by Delivery Experience Management platform company, Convey.

Thanks to its predictive insights and precise delivery performance reporting, Convey’s Discover transportation analytics and insights software solution enables retailers to think ahead for the holiday season. Information released by Convey confirmed that Discover revealed unreported delays for 17 percent of retailer shipments.

“The ability to seek out and get ahead of delays for our customers is critical,” says Anthony Curreri, Senior Logistics Manager at Boll and Branch. “We were already using Convey to communicate and in some cases upgrade shipment service levels to keep the promises we’ve made to our customers. We’re excited to see the impact having early visibility into these delays will have for both our own operations and our customers’ experience. Our goal is to increase consumer confidence to buy and committing to meet delivery expectations is just one example of that.”

 Accessing real-time data and historical reporting that measures the consumer experience is a major plus provided by the software platform. Additionally, SLA performance, data quality, and benchmarking reports are provided by Discover through a combination of machine learning and out-of-box suite reporting capabilities. Retailers are now enabled to analyze a delay and determine the best route for optimization based on these reports, further enhancing the consumer experience involving all supply chain players.

“Our customers tell us what’s most important to them is really one thing — to make delivery promises that they can keep,” says Michael Miller, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Convey. “Discover is just one critical component to ensuring retailers are able to guarantee a perfect delivery. This holiday season has already proven what can happen when network congestion and weather combine to wreak havoc on the supply chain that serves e-commerce. Convey’s ability to give retailers the extra time and tools necessary to keep delivery promises is unprecedented in the industry today.”

St. Lawrence Seaway

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY CHAO COMMEMORATES ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao marked the 60th anniversary of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the U.S.-Canadian waterway, at a Sept. 24 ceremony at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, New York. 

“For 60 years, the St. Lawrence Seaway has been a safe and reliable gateway for global commerce, further demonstrating our nation’s strong and strategic partnership with Canada,” Chao said.

She was joined by Transport Canada Director General of Marine Policy Marc-Yves Bertin, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-New York), U.S. Seaway Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrook, Canadian Seaway President and CEO Terence Bowles and U.S. and Canadian government and transportation officials.

 Chao and Representative Stefanik also used the event to announce $6 million in funding for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. to construct a new Visitors’ Center at the U.S. Eisenhower Lock. This new center will welcome the tens of thousands of people from around the world who come to watch ships transit the lock each year, and serve as a cornerstone for tourism in the North Country region of New York.

The bi-national waterway was officially opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It has been proclaimed as one of the 10 most outstanding engineering achievements of the past 100 years. Since its inception, nearly 3 billion tons of cargo, valued at over $450 billion, have been transported via the Seaway

Qatar Trade Summit

Qatar Trade Summit: Innovation and Disruption Revolutionising the Logistics Industry in Qatar.

Valuable insights into the future of Qatar’s Trade and investments sector aligned with logistics and supply chain in the region will be showcased at the exclusive Qatar Trade Summit scheduled to take place from 25th to 27th November 2019 in Doha, Qatar, The summit is Qatar’s only event focusing on the nation’s economic diversification plans and progress with strategic plans on becoming the regions logistics hub. 

The summit will strive to examine the nation’s potential on becoming the region’s economic powerhouse via 3 days of deliberations on sea ports development, Shipping and Air Cargo industry, future of logistics and supply chain as well as a final day dedicated to engage in interactive sessions on Qatar’s trade and investment prospects. Attending delegates and partners will get a first-hand knowledge of Qatar’s logistics and supply chain industry, the planned development of sea ports to support regional growth, the influence of shipping air cargo and the free zones in opening up opportunities for regional and foreign companies to invest and do business in Qatar” stated Allan Martin, Communications Director, Qatar Trade Summit. 

All aspects of the shipping industry, port development, air cargo, supply chain and logistics and trade and investments will be discussed at this summit. The event will engage the entire ecosystem of the logistics business in Qatar focusing on procurement, forwarding, planning, new business, infrastructure and investments. The theme of the summit is to explore the scale of innovation and disruption which is revolutionizing the logistics industry in Qatar and the nation’s keen intent on diversifying into a thriving economy prior to the prestigious FIFA 2022 football world cup taking place in Qatar. Qatar Trade Summit will directly impact a comprehensive range of sectors in the region and will cover solutions and products to uplift these sectors. The areas covered will be Ship building, Port management, Port Infrastructure development, Air Cargo expansion, Logistics and supply chain solutions and the investments and business opportunities in Qatar. 

The summit’s profile includes key dignitaries such as H.E. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways, Capt. Abdulla Al-Khanji, CEO, Mwani Qatar, Qatar, Mr. Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, President & CEO, MILAHA, Qatar, Mr. Lim Meng Hui, CEO, Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Mr. James Baker, Editor, Lloyd’s List Containers, UK, Mr. Glyn Hughes, Global Head of IATA Cargo, Switzerland, Mr. Turhan Özen, Chief Cargo Officer, Turkish Airlines, Mr. Amadou Diallo, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding, Middle East & Africa, Mr. Bertrand Maltaverne, Solutions Consultant, Ivalua, Austria, Mr. Fikret Ersoy, MD, BDP International, Middle East, Turkey & Africa from Qatar and across the globe who will be presenting at the conference and the summit will also host some of the world’s best solution providers and also invite attendees from leading government and private entities from Qatar. 

The Qatar Trade Summit will also feature one of the most exhaustive and inclusive knowledge sessions seen at a national summit. The conference will include 19 topics spread across 4 sessions, and two key workshops all scheduled over 3 days of high level networking and interaction. Qatar Trade Summit will assist in realising Qatar’s ambitions to become the logistics and trade leader in the Middle East. 

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About Organizer: © Qatar Trade Summit | Allan Martin | Email: info@qatartradesummit.com | allan@qatartradesummit.com | UK Tel: +44 20 3807 8492 | India Mobile: +91 96061 70760 Qatar Contact: Saf | Tel: +974 33834548 | +974 66947607 | saf@apexqatar.com LinkedIn: Qatar Trade Summit | twitter: @tradeqatar 

CarrierGo

Blume CarrierGo Provides Motor Carriers with All-Encompassing Business Solutions

This year’s Intermodal Expo in Long Beach, California featured some of the latest solution offerings disrupting the transportation sector. Among leading industry experts including logistics and supply chain solutions provider, Blume Global unveiling their latest product offering, Blume CarrierGo. Blume Global boasts over 25 years of transportation solution offerings in the cloud enabling international multimodal operations including shipment planning, execution, visibility, invoicing, invoice processing & settlement.

“Blume CarrierGo is a product we created that offers our global network of 7,000-plus carriers more than just execution, adding more value for both the carriers and the drivers,” explains Glenn Jones, GVP Product Strategy at Blume Global. “CarrierGo is localized in 22 languages and utilized by customers around the globe, so it’s not limited to the United States. This solution enables carriers to increase turns per day while reducing empty miles and maximizing efficiencies.” 

The days of manual processes are becoming a thing of the past, particularly in transportation and carrier services as automation continues setting a new and more improved standard of streamlining operations. Blume CarrierGo solution identifies processes such as appointment scheduling for carriers lacking levels of automation needed for optimization. Another example is opportunities with street turns found within the Blume import and export-heavy freight forwarding customers.

“We have insight into what independent freight forwarders might not be able to see, such as import and export maps leading to an opportunity for a street turn recommendation or automatic allocation. Dwell times also provide an opportunity for automation. We may have 20, 30, or even 50 carriers trying to pick up containers out of the same terminal. By leveraging our visibility across multiple freight forwarders we can either make recommendations or we can delay making appointments through the insight we have into marine terminals with delays,” Jones adds. 

And how about invoicing? Blume covers all bases for carriers in terms of accessorials and eliminating the element of surprise when it comes to unpredictable charges backing up processing times. The Blume solutions process requires carriers to gain approval for accessorials before they even happen. 

“If a carrier needs to get to a port and they’re unable to, there might be a demurrage charge or there might be a carrier in a dwell time charge situation unexpectedly. They can gain approval from the buyer for that accessorial and when it appears on the invoice days – or hours later, there’s no surprise and the invoice will be processed faster,” Jones adds. “This is particularly useful for carriers in 3rd world countries, where the carriers tend to be much smaller and require payments quicker than what the freight terms offer,” Jones adds. 

Processes like these are found within the CarrierGo solution, providing maximized efficiencies and reducing costly and time-consuming overhead freight audits and manual payment processes. Carriers are not only paid on time, but have increased opportunity for invoice factoring discussions in international markets. This is a major differentiator found within the Blume solutions structure impacting global scale capabilities across the supply chain, creating seamless flows between all players and competitors in the multimodal sector. 

For more information about how Blume CarrierGo can improve your cargo needs, please visit booth 512 at Intermodal Expo or visit Blume Global on the web. 

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Glenn Jones, GVP Product Strategy, Blume Global

 Glenn has a proven track record of growing businesses by building and leading product management/marketing and R&D organizations to define, develop, position, and sell highly innovative and high value enterprise solutions delivered in the cloud. He was formerly the COO of Sweetbridge and the CTO of Steelwedge Software. He also held leadership positions at several other companies, including Elementum and E2Open.

Shipment Identification Simplified with Amber Road’s Cargo Screening Solution

Global logistics providers seeking a unique solution to overcome challenges related to trade regulations – such as Know Your Customer, and trying to avoid fines and penalties should look no further than Amber Road’s recently launched Carrier Cargo Screening Solution.

The new cargo screening solution – which is equipped with advanced computational linguistics algorithms and translated technical phraseology, was built to assist carriers in quickly navigating through high-volume, multiple provider shipment challenges and accurately identify prohibited, hazardous, or dual-use goods.

“Global trade requires that companies keep up with ever-changing regulations and standards of reasonable care to maintain their trade privileges,” Nathan Pieri, Chief Product Officer at Amber Road said. “However, the market has been devoid of tools to meet these more stringent examinations. With our new Carrier Cargo Screening Solution, we have developed new content libraries and advanced algorithms to offer a robust supply chain risk platform ideally suited for global logistics providers.”

Amber Road’s Carrier Cargo Screening Solution offers advanced risk scoring capabilities that provide carriers alerts to potential issues within shipments. The solution’s unique use of technology further simplifies processes when problems arise, as it is equipped to resolve issues within the platform.

“We are very excited about the impact our new solution will have in the carrier industry,” said Jim Preuninger, CEO, Amber Road.  “We have solved a critical problem by combining our advanced technologies with our vast experience in linking software with content.  We expect our new offering to generate significant interest and meaningful new subscriptions starting this year.” 

Optimization Software Helping Air Cargo Carriers Address Challenges, Improve Performance, and Maximize Growth Opportunities

For air cargo carriers, there are many factors converging to introduce new challenges to their logistical planning and operations. Changing customer expectations, new partnership definitions, and emerging competitors are all conspiring and requiring air cargo carriers to adapt to these new market dynamics. Mastering the so-called “disruptors” will require optimized strategies and processes both of which gain a significant boost from leading-edge optimization solutions. Understanding the disruptors and how best to address them will be the key for today’s air cargo carriers’ continued growth and ability to successfully compete.

Challenges and Performance Improvement Goals

There is no question that despite positive growth projections by leading airline industry groups, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air cargo carriers have hurdles to overcome. IATA’s prediction of a rise in cargo in 2018 came true with 62.5 million tons of cargo carried in 2018, a 4.5% increase over figures in 2017 leading to an 8.6% increase in cargo revenues at $59.2 billion. This growth boosts confidence, but air cargo carriers are not celebrating just yet. Still, air cargo carriers are not celebrating just yet. They realize that to achieve growth and profitability, they need to improve their value proposition by optimizing their processes and overall performance. This will require they get ahead of new challenges, while embracing new tools that facilitate better performance.

Among the key challenges air cargo carriers must address are:

-Those relating to the delivery of different cargo in accordance with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for each cargo product, and recording time-stamps required for the audit trail;

-Optimal management of staff and equipment resources on the apron and in the cargo warehouse; and

-Maintaining optimum situational awareness and management by exception even in the most complex and confusing situations.

In addition to helping address these challenges, air cargo carriers also need solutions that will help them improve their performance of various tasks such as:

-Transporting of cargo between the aircraft and cargo center, as well as transports between different locations within the cargo center;

-On-time dolly availability at aircraft stands and holding areas;

-Preparation of dolly and trailer trains at aircraft and at outbound docks;

-Cargo build-up and breakdown in the warehouse;

-Loading/unloading of aircraft; and

-Loading/unloading of road feeder services.

The Disruptors

Competitors

When Amazon announced plans to launch its own delivery service, more than one carrier took note and stock of the implications. While its plans are to start accumulating a fleet of branded trucks, what is to say that the Amazon logo won’t soon appear on its own fleet of air cargo carriers? And, will Alibaba be far behind?

Blockchain

When a group of Japanese businesses operating in global trade announced their pilot program to evaluate the application of blockchain technology to streamline and improve cross-border trade operations, there was interest by air transporters as well as those in other modes of transportation. This group is not alone in exploring ways to leverage this digital database that uses linked blocks secured by cryptography to improve transactions and logistics. UPS, for one, has expressed interest in utilizing blockchain technology in its operations.

Big Data

Big Data is also causing a stir within the air cargo industry. Carriers realize that by harnessing the power of real time data, along with more flexible management of workforce and other resources, they can increase their overall efficiency. This is particularly true when it comes to better determining the number of planes needed for cargo transport during specific periods; efficiently scaling up or down accordingly.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also getting a closer look by air cargo carriers. While some don’t expect AI to immediately impact the industry, there is a generally accepted viewpoint that it will ultimately help the carriers better forecast their facilities’ needs, improve cargo tracking, enhance revenue management, and optimize processes such as load planning, route planning, workforce management, and customer service. Among the top five air cargo carriers, at least two, FedEx and UPS, are known to be researching the implementation of AI.  Consolidation services are also being looked upon by air cargo carriers as a way to mitigate challenges faced by organizations with lean supply chains and/or those that need to provide a Just in Time (JIT) service even for the smaller quantities.

All of these “disruptors” have changed customer expectations; the operative words here are faster, more flexible, more transparent, and lower prices. These expectations lead us to optimization software. It is already helping air cargo carriers optimize their processes so that they can effectively address challenges, best leverage the new technologies like AI and position themselves for the changing marketplace.

Optimization Software Helping Carriers Retain Their Competitive Edge

Regardless of the challenges, air cargo carriers still have a distinct advantage over other modes of transport; specifically, they are faster and more reliable. Cargo IQ data indicates that air cargo shipments, on average, take 140 hours to go from shipper to the consignee. The reliability of air cargo carriers is another notable differentiator. That is, however, not to say that air cargo carriers don’t benefit from improved processes. Optimization software is intended to take their operations to a whole new level and enable them to retain their competitive edge.

There are advanced solutions that optimize a wide range of carrier processes, from ground handling and airport operations to turnaround management and aircraft maintenance. These solutions have demonstrated a direct impact on the carriers’ productivity, costs of operation, performance levels, communications, and resource management. They enable an air cargo carrier to achieve best practices and process transparency which help them perform with the consistent speed and reliability they tout over other modes of transportation. Let us look at how some of the challenges faced by air cargo carriers are being effectively addressed by applying optimization software.

A key operational challenge faced by air cargo carriers is that different cargo products have different Service Level Agreement (SLA) limits relating to when the cargo must be delivered to the aircraft. This requires carriers to establish and allocate the necessary resources (e.g., dolly trains) in an optimized manner and in adherence to the SLA. There also is another requirement for time-stamps to be recorded as proof and for subsequent auditing purposes. Optimization software addresses this challenge by automatically taking SLA limits into consideration when allocating tasks to resources. Additionally, each action is connected to a time-stamp so that a detailed recording of activities performed can be guaranteed.

Air cargo carriers are further challenged by today’s highly competitive industry and the demand for optimal management of staff and equipment. By applying state-of-the-art algorithms to automatically allocate tasks to staff and equipment in accordance with various parameters (e.g., availability, functional requirements, legal considerations, etc.), optimization software helps carriers achieve optimal asset management and remain competitive.

Given the many operational complexities and typical infrastructure limitations air cargo carriers must contend with, maintaining sharp situational awareness, even under the most stressful and/or chaotic conditions, is vital. Built-in optimizers in today’s most advanced software solutions alleviate much of the confusion enabling staff to fully focus on critical tasks, thereby facilitating management-by-exception.

Real Benefits Derived

Optimization software is delivering real benefits to carriers. INFORM’s GroundStar optimization software suite has made a significant difference on behalf of various cargo customers. For example, by applying the software to allocate and manage its employees, one customer is now able to turn around 350,000 express freight shipments, on average, per night. Having to cater to an estimated 65 cargo flights per night within a short window of just four hours, situational awareness and pro-active decision-making is crucial. The GroundStar solution elevates situational awareness to the highest level to facilitate optimum decision-making. On a typical day, approximately 250 loading staff and drivers are allocated in parallel for efficient workforce management. During the peak holiday season, the strength of the implemented solution is especially evident as more than 500,000 parcels must be efficiently handled per night.

INFORM’s GroundStar also is helping air cargo carriers meet the demands posed by the 5% annual increase in the number of express shipments. It is enabling these carriers to effectively manage expansion by supporting them with advanced automation and optimized and focused decision-making which, in turn, is helping them increase productivity without adding staff.

Another example of how INFORM software is benefiting its cargo customers relates to their estimated 20% increase in dolly train utilization. Prior to their application of GroundStar, the carriers’ loading and cargo transport supervisors were not always able to utilize the full capacity of a tug and its dollies to meet SLAs and other timelines. After the implementation of GroundStar, the information regarding a tug’s status (i.e., whether a tug driver has enough time to wait for another unit load device (ULD) to be collected or to leave the stand with only three ULDs instead of four) is a strategic decision automatically handled by the INFORM software.

The Way Forward

The future for air cargo carriers and their continued process optimization will include further leverage of data – small and Big Data – to extract new insights and empower all staff levels from management to technicians. In turn, air cargo carriers will be able to gain even greater clarity to support their optimum decisions on matters ranging from dynamic disruption management and efficient aircraft turnaround, to aircraft maintenance, workforce management, and supply chain management.

Optimization Software Helping Air Cargo Carriers Address Challenges, Improve Performance, and Maximize Growth Opportunities

For air cargo carriers, there are many factors converging to introduce new challenges to their logistical planning and operations. Changing customer expectations, new partnership definitions, and emerging competitors are all conspiring and requiring air cargo carriers to adapt to these new market dynamics. Mastering the so-called “disruptors” will require optimized strategies and processes both of which gain a significant boost from leading-edge optimization solutions. Understanding the disruptors and how best to address them will be the key for today’s air cargo carriers’ continued growth and ability to successfully compete.

Challenges and Performance Improvement Goals

There is no question that despite positive growth projections by leading airline industry groups, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air cargo carriers have hurdles to overcome. IATA’s prediction of a rise in cargo in 2018 came true with 62.5 million tons of cargo carried in 2018, a 4.5% increase over figures in 2017 leading to an 8.6% increase in cargo revenues at $59.2 billion. This growth boosts confidence, but air cargo carriers are not celebrating just yet. IATA’s forecasted rise in cargo carried to 62.5 million tons in 2018, a 4.5% increase over 2017 figures, and projected 8.6% increase in cargo revenues to $59.2 billion are confidence boosters. Still, air cargo carriers are not celebrating just yet. They realize that to achieve growth and profitability, they need to improve their value proposition by optimizing their processes and overall performance. This will require they get ahead of new challenges, while embracing new tools that facilitate better performance.

Among the key challenges air cargo carriers must address are:

-Those relating to the delivery of different cargo in accordance with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for each cargo product, and recording time-stamps required for the audit trail;

-Optimal management of staff and equipment resources on the apron and in the cargo warehouse; and

-Maintaining optimum situational awareness and management by exception even in the most complex and confusing situations.

In addition to helping address these challenges, air cargo carriers also need solutions that will help them improve their performance of various tasks such as:

-Transporting of cargo between the aircraft and cargo center, as well as transports between different locations within the cargo center;

-On-time dolly availability at aircraft stands and holding areas;

-Preparation of dolly and trailer trains at aircraft and at outbound docks;

-Cargo build-up and breakdown in the warehouse;

-Loading/unloading of aircraft; and

-Loading/unloading of road feeder services.

The Disruptors

Competitors

When Amazon announced plans to launch its own delivery service, more than one carrier took note and stock of the implications. While its plans are to start accumulating a fleet of branded trucks, what is to say that the Amazon logo won’t soon appear on its own fleet of air cargo carriers? And, will Alibaba be far behind?

Blockchain

When a group of Japanese businesses operating in global trade announced their pilot program to evaluate the application of blockchain technology to streamline and improve cross-border trade operations, there was interest by air transporters as well as those in other modes of transportation. This group is not alone in exploring ways to leverage this digital database that uses linked blocks secured by cryptography to improve transactions and logistics. UPS, for one, has expressed interest in utilizing blockchain technology in its operations.

Big Data

Big Data is also causing a stir within the air cargo industry. Carriers realize that by harnessing the power of real time data, along with more flexible management of workforce and other resources, they can increase their overall efficiency. This is particularly true when it comes to better determining the number of planes needed for cargo transport during specific periods; efficiently scaling up or down accordingly.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also getting a closer look by air cargo carriers. While some don’t expect AI to immediately impact the industry, there is a generally accepted viewpoint that it will ultimately help the carriers better forecast their facilities’ needs, improve cargo tracking, enhance revenue management, and optimize processes such as load planning, route planning, workforce management, and customer service. Among the top five air cargo carriers, at least two, FedEx and UPS, are known to be researching the implementation of AI.  Consolidation services are also being looked upon by air cargo carriers as a way to mitigate challenges faced by organizations with lean supply chains and/or those that need to provide a Just in Time (JIT) service even for the smaller quantities.

All of these “disruptors” have changed customer expectations; the operative words here are faster, more flexible, more transparent, and lower prices. These expectations lead us to optimization software. It is already helping air cargo carriers optimize their processes so that they can effectively address challenges, best leverage the new technologies like AI and position themselves for the changing marketplace.

Optimization Software Helping Carriers Retain Their Competitive Edge

Regardless of the challenges, air cargo carriers still have a distinct advantage over other modes of transport; specifically, they are faster and more reliable. Cargo IQ data indicates that air cargo shipments, on average, take 140 hours to go from shipper to the consignee. The reliability of air cargo carriers is another notable differentiator. That is, however, not to say that air cargo carriers don’t benefit from improved processes. Optimization software is intended to take their operations to a whole new level and enable them to retain their competitive edge.

There are advanced solutions that optimize a wide range of carrier processes, from ground handling and airport operations to turnaround management and aircraft maintenance. These solutions have demonstrated a direct impact on the carriers’ productivity, costs of operation, performance levels, communications, and resource management. They enable an air cargo carrier to achieve best practices and process transparency which help them perform with the consistent speed and reliability they tout over other modes of transportation. Let us look at how some of the challenges faced by air cargo carriers are being effectively addressed by applying optimization software.

A key operational challenge faced by air cargo carriers is that different cargo products have different Service Level Agreement (SLA) limits relating to when the cargo must be delivered to the aircraft. This requires carriers to establish and allocate the necessary resources (e.g., dolly trains) in an optimized manner and in adherence to the SLA. There also is another requirement for time-stamps to be recorded as proof and for subsequent auditing purposes. Optimization software addresses this challenge by automatically taking SLA limits into consideration when allocating tasks to resources. Additionally, each action is connected to a time-stamp so that a detailed recording of activities performed can be guaranteed.

Air cargo carriers are further challenged by today’s highly competitive industry and the demand for optimal management of staff and equipment. By applying state-of-the-art algorithms to automatically allocate tasks to staff and equipment in accordance with various parameters (e.g., availability, functional requirements, legal considerations, etc.), optimization software helps carriers achieve optimal asset management and remain competitive.

Given the many operational complexities and typical infrastructure limitations air cargo carriers must contend with, maintaining sharp situational awareness, even under the most stressful and/or chaotic conditions, is vital. Built-in optimizers in today’s most advanced software solutions alleviate much of the confusion enabling staff to fully focus on critical tasks, thereby facilitating management-by-exception.

Real Benefits Derived

Optimization software is delivering real benefits to carriers. INFORM’s GroundStar optimization software suite has made a significant difference on behalf of various cargo customers. For example, by applying the software to allocate and manage its employees, one customer is now able to turn around 350,000 express freight shipments, on average, per night. Having to cater to an estimated 65 cargo flights per night within a short window of just four hours, situational awareness and pro-active decision-making is crucial. The GroundStar solution elevates situational awareness to the highest level to facilitate optimum decision-making. On a typical day, approximately 250 loading staff and drivers are allocated in parallel for efficient workforce management. During the peak holiday season, the strength of the implemented solution is especially evident as more than 500,000 parcels must be efficiently handled per night.

INFORM’s GroundStar also is helping air cargo carriers meet the demands posed by the 5% annual increase in the number of express shipments. It is enabling these carriers to effectively manage expansion by supporting them with advanced automation and optimized and focused decision-making which, in turn, is helping them increase productivity without adding staff. Another example of how INFORM software is benefiting its cargo customers relates to their estimated 20% increase in dolly train utilization. Prior to their application of GroundStar, the carriers’ loading and cargo transport supervisors were not always able to utilize the full capacity of a tug and its dollies to meet SLAs and other timelines. After the implementation of GroundStar, the information regarding a tug’s status (i.e., whether a tug driver has enough time to wait for another unit load device (ULD) to be collected or to leave the stand with only three ULDs instead of four) is a strategic decision automatically handled by the INFORM software.

The Way Forward

The future for air cargo carriers and their continued process optimization will include further leverage of data – small and Big Data – to extract new insights and empower all staff levels from management to technicians. In turn, air cargo carriers will be able to gain even greater clarity to support their optimum decisions on matters ranging from dynamic disruption management and efficient aircraft turnaround, to aircraft maintenance, workforce management, and supply chain management.