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Disruptors, Problem-Solvers, & Up-and-Comers: What to Expect at RILA/LINK 2020

RILA

Disruptors, Problem-Solvers, & Up-and-Comers: What to Expect at RILA/LINK 2020

Known as The Retail Supply Chain Conference, the 2020 Retail Industry Leaders Association’s (RILA) LINK show gathers leading retail players for an event that goes far beyond networking. The annual RILA/LINK conference will be held from Feb. 23-26, 2020, at the Gaylord Texan Resort, one of the premier conference centers in Dallas. 

The conference boasts a global and domestic attendee presence consisting of exclusive RILA members, executive keynote speakers and supply chain professionals in search of the latest and greatest innovations, resources and partners. More than 1,800 attendees are expected so far.

Participants can anticipate more than 300 solutions providers, 155-plus leading retailers, dozens of breakout sessions and more keynote speakers than one can count on their hands. Among the speakers currently lined up include Levi Strauss & Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh as a keynote speaker and seminar leader, educator and business guru Dr. Dale Henry as a general session speaker. 

Innovation, industry disruptors, retail up-and-comers, economic growth, environmental sustainability and competition are among the RILA focus areas and are part of the topics anticipated for the conference to address.

Hundreds of exhibitors from around the globe will showcase the latest innovation, retail and supply chain solutions and expertise at the show. Among the big names to look out for include: Descartes Systems USA, Amber Road, APL Logistics, Approved Freight Forwarders, Bastian Solutions, BluJay Solutions, CN, FedEx Corp., Georgia Ports Authority, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay, Port of Baltimore, Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and many more. DHL serves as the Title Sponsor for the 2020 conference, following suit from last year’s event in Kissimmee, Florida. 

LINK 2019 put a spotlight on many of the issues retail and supply chain players are still learning to navigate to this very day. Of these issues, trade tariffs, customer relations and innovation remain high on the list of significant disruptors showing no signs of going away. The retail ecosystem is continuously evolving without warning. The customers of yesterday are greeted with new and competitive offerings to gain their loyalty and without the knowledge of experts and peers, it seems nearly impossible to keep up.

Jennifer Safavian, RILA executive vice president of Government Affairs, issued a firm statement in a recent press release from the association, commenting on the current situation in the trade war and how it continues impacting industry players and customers by taking actions one step further. The following announcement is being attributed for ultimately delaying the imposition of President Trump’s proposed tariffs for another month:

“The damaged caused by the trade war is escalating. Economic indicators continue to signal a slow-down in growth. Investors are skittish, markets are volatile and uncertainty over tariffs is stalling business investments and job creation. Consumer confidence is the one pillar of strength in the U.S. economy, and the president’s tariff strategy is threatening that as higher prices will be imposed on consumer goods with increased tariffs.”

As the retail sector changes, RILA and its 200+ members of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers are ready and prepared for the next step in ensuring success and establishing a competitive edge. Furthermore, the executive team at RILA is ready to stand up on behalf of global retailers. If your company is involved in supply chain logistics or retail in any way, RILA’s 2020 LINK Conference is a no-brainer. Registration is now open, secure your spot today! 

China market

Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:

Healthcare

Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government. 

south american

Embracing the South American Ecommerce Marketplace

Ecommerce is on the rise in South America. Double-digit growth is expected for 2019 with sales of $71.34 billion (USD), tying it with the Middle East and Africa as the world’s second-fastest-growing retail ecommerce market. 

That’s great news for shippers looking to expand their online retail presence in South America.

A diamond in the rough

Online retailers in South America have been struggling for years to overcome several obstacles to success, including extensive customs delays, poor transportation infrastructure, and the lack of end-to-end supply chain visibility. Progress has been made on all three of these “challenges,” but more work is necessary to ensure the region’s continued double-digit growth. 

Within each challenge lies opportunity

While these obstacles may keep a few shippers from expanding into South America, others are viewing the area as a “diamond in the rough” and working diligently to reap the rewards of this truly untapped region. 

Having the right information is the first step to wading through the muck and mire of this complicated ecommerce marketplace:

South America customs vary by country

Red tape and bureaucracy pose the biggest obstacles for importing products into South American countries. In addition to customs taxes, tariffs, and fees, it can take 30+ days for some goods to be cleared through customs, especially in Brazil and Argentina. As a result, inventory builds up, costs rise, and customers wait longer for their products to arrive. In comparison, however, Chilean customs are very similar to the U.S. and allow products to flow through relatively quickly.

As you can tell, customs procedures can differ significantly, making it difficult for shippers to ensure compliance with each region’s unique customs. For a more seamless process, it’s essential shippers work with a customs broker or third party logistics provider (3PL) with local offices in the area. They’ll know the customs standards and understand the paperwork necessary to ensure products are approved for import.

Free trade agreements 

The United States-Chile trade agreement allows all U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to enter Chile duty free. While still in the works, the United States-Brazil free trade agreement can help facilitate trade and boost investment between the two countries, especially in infrastructure. The United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement eliminates tariffs on 80% of U.S. consumer and industrial imports into Colombia. 

South America infrastructure at port and inland

South America is hobbled by its inadequate infrastructure, and it’s probably not going to change anytime soon. Roads remain the primary means of transportation, but 60% are unpaved, hampering the speed of delivery by truck to inland locations. Improvements are slowly occurring, thanks to increased government funding (but corruption hampers many efforts). It’s worth mentioning that China, the largest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, and Peru, invests heavily in the region, providing more than $140 billion (USD) in loans for infrastructure improvements in the past decade, according to The Business Year.  

While surface transportation remains stagnant, ocean freight shows promise. According to icontainers.com, routes going to and from South America represent 15% of the total number of trade services.

The largest container port in South America is in the city of Santos in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state. Its location provides easy access to the hinterlands via the Serra do Mar mountain range. More than 40% of Brazil’s containers are handled by the Port of Santos as well as nearly 33% of its trade, and 60 % of Brazil’s GDP, according to JOC.com

In 2018, Brazil’s busiest container cargo port handled 4.3 million TEUs, compared with 3.85 million TEUs in 2017. 

For Argentina, Zarate serves as the critical port for roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) and breakbulk cargo, while Buenos Aires and Rosario serve as the top container ports. Only two countries in South America are landlocked, Paraguay and Bolivia. 

Shippers and ocean carriers using the Port of Santos have been complaining about congestion and labor disputes at the port, and about politicization and time-consuming bureaucracy. That’s why it’s essential that shippers must have the latest information on traffic through these South American ports. Global freight forwarding companies in the area will have the newest information available to help you choose the right port of entry for your freight.

End-to-end supply chain visibility

Most online retailers and carriers understand that the sale is not complete until the product is delivered to the consumer. If merchandise is damaged during transport or arrives much later than promised, it reflects poorly on both parties and undermines consumer trust in ecommerce purchases. 

Lack of adequate infrastructure has forced many online retailers to put logistics on the back burner, focusing on the user experience through purchase. That’s why many products take weeks to arrive at the customer’s door, setting a bad precedent that must change. 

The South America trucking industry is highly fragmented, with providers ranging from owner-operators (about one-third of the industry) to sizable fleet operators and experienced freight forwarders who may not own any trucks at all, according to Tire Business newspaper. 

Final mile, LTL services paramount in South America

Once your product reaches port in South America and makes it through customs, how it gets delivered to the customer’s door can add extensive costs to your supply chain. Less than truckload (LTL) and final mile services are paramount to successfully operating in the region. Especially those carriers that can provide GPS freight tracking capabilities, such as C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere® technology

Final thoughts

Yes, there are obstacles to operating a supply chain in South American countries. Knowing the ins and outs of each country’s unique customs procedure, understanding which South American ports are best for your freight, and being able to track your shipments end-to-end will ensure your success in the region. Shippers who realize the potential of this “diamond in the rough” marketplace should work with a freight forwarder who will be extra focused and diligent in ensuring their freight moves quickly from customs fiscal warehouses to the final destinations. 

Enlist the aid of a global freight forwarding provider, like C.H. Robinson, who offers a global suite of services and has offices in the region that can help navigate any disruption in your supply chain.

Start the discussion with an expert in South America to accelerate your ecommerce trade. 

european market

European Market for Citrus Fruit Jams and Purees – France Benefits from the Highest Export Price ($4,292 per tonne)

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Citrus Fruit Jams, Marmalades, Jellies, Purees Or Pastes – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The market revenue for citrus fruit preserves (jams, marmalades, jellies, purees, and pastes) in the European Union amounted to $319M in 2018, growing by 8% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). In general, citrus fruit preserves consumption, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 with an increase of 22% against the previous year. The level of citrus fruit preserves consumption peaked at $331M in 2008; however, from 2009 to 2018, consumption failed to regain its momentum.

Consumption By Country in the EU

The countries with the highest volumes of citrus fruit preserves consumption in 2018 were the UK (26K tonnes), Italy (24K tonnes) and Spain (18K tonnes), with a combined 56% share of total consumption. France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Ireland, Poland and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 33%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of citrus fruit preserves consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Poland, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the UK ($83M), Italy ($60M) and France ($42M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2018, with a combined 58% share of the total market. These countries were followed by Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Romania, Germany, Hungary and Poland, which together accounted for a further 32%.

The countries with the highest levels of citrus fruit preserves per capita consumption in 2018 were Ireland (591 kg per 1000 persons), Italy (412 kg per 1000 persons) and Belgium (410 kg per 1000 persons).

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of citrus fruit preserves per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Poland, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Production in the EU

In 2018, approx. 125K tonnes of citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes were produced in the European Union; rising by 13% against the previous year. Overall, citrus fruit preserves production, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 when production volume increased by 29% y-o-y. The volume of citrus fruit preserves production peaked at 138K tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, production stood at a somewhat lower figure.

In value terms, citrus fruit preserves production amounted to $313M in 2018 estimated in export prices. The total output value increased at an average annual rate of +1.1% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 when production volume increased by 22% against the previous year. In that year, citrus fruit preserves production attained its peak level of $338M. From 2009 to 2018, citrus fruit preserves production growth remained at a lower figure.

Production By Country in the EU

The countries with the highest volumes of citrus fruit preserves production in 2018 were the UK (26K tonnes), Spain (24K tonnes) and Italy (24K tonnes), with a combined 59% share of total production. France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, Hungary and Poland lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 32%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of citrus fruit preserves production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Belgium, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, approx. 36K tonnes of citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes were exported in the European Union; surging by 7.5% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.7% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 with an increase of 14% y-o-y. Over the period under review, citrus fruit preserves exports attained their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the near future.

In value terms, citrus fruit preserves exports stood at $87M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total export value increased at an average annual rate of +1.9% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 when exports increased by 15% y-o-y. Over the period under review, citrus fruit preserves exports reached their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

Exports by Country

The exports of the eight major exporters of citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes, namely Spain, the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Belgium and Ireland, represented more than two-thirds of total export.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Spain, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, France ($19M), the UK ($15M) and Spain ($15M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2018, with a combined 55% share of total exports.

In terms of the main exporting countries, Spain recorded the highest growth rate of exports, over the last eleven years, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The citrus fruit preserves export price in the European Union stood at $2,436 per tonne in 2018, increasing by 2.5% against the previous year. Overall, the citrus fruit preserves export price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2013 when the export price increased by 15% y-o-y. In that year, the export prices for citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes reached their peak level of $3,042 per tonne. From 2014 to 2018, the growth in terms of the export prices for citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was France ($4,292 per tonne), while Denmark ($1,750 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by France, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports in the EU

In 2018, the amount of citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes imported in the European Union amounted to 32K tonnes, going up by 11% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2017 with an increase of 36% against the previous year. The volume of imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, citrus fruit preserves imports stood at $69M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +1.3% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 when imports increased by 28% year-to-year. Over the period under review, citrus fruit preserves imports reached their maximum in 2018 and are likely to see steady growth in the immediate term.

Imports by Country

France (7,472 tonnes) and the UK (6,570 tonnes) represented roughly 43% of total imports of citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes in 2018. Germany (3,454 tonnes) ranks next in terms of the total imports with a 11% share, followed by Italy (9.5%), Ireland (9.1%) and Portugal (6%). Poland (1,196 tonnes), Sweden (1,188 tonnes), Spain (1,175 tonnes), the Netherlands (759 tonnes) and Belgium (565 tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Portugal, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the UK ($14M), France ($13M) and Germany ($10M) were the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, with a combined 54% share of total imports. Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 37%.

Portugal recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to imports, in terms of the main importing countries over the last eleven-year period, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The citrus fruit preserves import price in the European Union stood at $2,121 per tonne in 2018, approximately mirroring the previous year. Overall, the citrus fruit preserves import price continues to indicate a mild slump. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 an increase of 7% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the import prices for citrus fruit jams, marmalades, jellies, purees or pastes attained their maximum at $2,824 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices failed to regain their momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Belgium ($4,655 per tonne), while Ireland ($1,386 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Belgium, while the other leaders experienced mixed trends in the import price figures.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

USMCA

THESE COMPANIES KEEP CROSS-BORDER CARGO MOVING, EVEN WITH USMCA UP IN THE AIR

Our trilateral trade bloc is in a sort of limbo, stuck between the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994, and the floundering United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which the countries’ leaders signed on Nov. 30, 2018, but has only been ratified in Mexico.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has pushed for more ease of free trade among the three nations for years, about $1.7 billion worth of goods and services flow between the U.S. and Mexico borders every day. That’s about 2 percent of the GDP in America, where, according to the United Nations’ International Trade Center, Mexico and Canada are the two largest trading partners for U.S. manufacturers and shippers after China.

Despite these uncertain times, there are North American cross-border traders that continue to thrive. Consider the collection that follows. 

AVERITT EXPRESS

One of the nation’s leading freight transportation and supply chain management providers, Averitt is celebrating 50 years of service. The company cites customized, cross-border transportation solutions among its many, many specialties. Five years ago, Averitt slashed less-than-truckload (LTL) service times from the U.S. Midwest to Ontario, Canada, in recognition of the province’s rise as a manufacturing hub. Averitt’s strategically placed border service centers in Laredo, El Paso, Harlingen and Del Rio provide easy access to all points throughout Mexico, by rail, truck or expedited air. 

BNSF RAILWAY

One of North America’s leading freight transportation companies, BNSF boasts a.32,500 route-mile network covering 28 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. The railway utilizes multiple strategies to make international shipments easier for customers. These include market experience, customs clearance know-how and participation in special North American rail service alliances. The BNSF network also includes five U.S.-Mexico gateways (San Diego, El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo and Brownsville) and operations in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico. Service options include carload, transload and intermodal (Mexi-Modal) that allow for shipments of all major commodities into and out of Mexico.  

CG RAILWAY

Picture in your head a railroad line extending from the American South to southern Mexico. You can imagine the track snaking along the contour of the Gulf of Mexico, extending west from Alabama through Mississippi and Louisiana before reaching Texas and turning due south through the border and beyond. What you did not picture was a shift from rail at Alabama’s Port of Mobile to an ocean ferry making a direct route over water to Puerto Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz, Mexico. That’s what CG Railway (CGR) has been doing since 2000: providing a faster, more cost-effective route between the eastern U.S. and Canada to central and southern Mexico. CGR offers C-TPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) certification, bilingual customer support, proactive port security, reduced mileage and wear and tear on equipment and direct interchanges with the CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Kansas City Southern railroads, the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway and Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks and their Mexican counterparts. 

CN NORTH AMERICA

Canadian National is based in Montreal, Quebec, and the Class I freight railway’s network is the largest in that country by physical size and revenue. Established in 1919 and formerly government-owned, Canada’s only transcontinental railway spans from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia, across about 20,400 route miles of track. But you’d be mistaken to think CN, as it has more commonly known since 1960, is strictly a Great White North concern. The railway also serves the U.S. South and Midwest and, having gone private in 1995, it now counts as its single largest shareholder Bill Gates. Through the ’90s and 2000s, CN North America has acquired multiple lines passing through several U.S. states.

CROWLEY

The private, Jacksonville, Florida-based corporation is the largest operator of tugboats and barges in the world. Crowley American Transport provides ocean liner cargo services between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. Its American Marine Transport unit delivers local, over-the-road, and commercial trucking services in the continental U.S. Crowley Marine Services provides worldwide contract and specialized marine transportation services, including petroleum product transportation and sales, tanker escort and ship assist, contract barge transportation and ocean towing, logistics and support services, marine salvage and emergency response services, spill-response services on the West Coast and all-terrain transportation services.

CSX TRANSPORTATION

The subsidiary of CSX Corp., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX Transportation is a Class I freight railroad operating in the eastern United States and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The railroad operates around 21,000 route miles of track. While its lines blanket the east coasts of Canada and the U.S., you don’t have to be located on railroad track for CSX to help you, as it has access to 70 ports and nationwide transloading and warehousing services.

DB SCHENKER 

The global logistics and supply chain management giant has 93 branches in every U.S. state, Mexico and Canada. Schenker of Canada Ltd. provides logistics services, airfreight, custom brokerage, custom consulting, sports events, land transport and courier services. DB Schenker Mexico celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, having begun down there with a single location and 40 associates and now boasting of 500 employees in its corporate office in Mexico City as well as in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Queretaro, Puebla, Cancun, Ciudad Juarez and various other branches. DB Schenker Mexico offers air freight, ocean freight, land freight, customs brokerage, over-dimensioned projects, warehousing and contract logistics.

KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN

The KCS North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA railway system linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. “KCS is just one interchange away from every major market in North America,” boasts the railroad. KC Southern de Mexico offers unique rail access to the Port of Lazaro Cardenas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, which is an ideal spot to avoid congestion in U.S. West Coast ports. KCS also has access to Gulf of Mexico ports, including Altamira, Tampico and Veracruz in Mexico and Brownsville, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Houston, Gulfport, Lake Charles, Mobile and Port Arthur in the U.S. 

LIVINGSTON INTERNATIONAL

Billed as North America’s No. 1 company focused on customs brokerage and compliance, Livingston International also offers international trade consulting and freight forwarding across the continent and around the globe. Headquartered in Chicago, Livingston operates along the U.S.-Canada border, with regional air/sea hubs in Los Angeles, New York and Norfolk. Livingston employs more than 3,200 employees at more than 125 key border points, seaports, airports and other strategic locations in North America, Europe and the Far East. Livingston is a customs brokerage leader in Canada, and the company also promises to move goods seamlessly into Mexico.

LOGISTICS PLUS

Whether it is working as a 3PL or 4PL partner, the Erie, Pennsylvania-based company specializes in total logistics management, LTL and truckload transportation, rail and intermodal services, project cargo and project management, import/export services, air and ocean freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution, global trade compliance services and logistics and technology solutions. Logistics Plus serves small and large businesses throughout the Greater Toronto Area, with an office in the zone that has access to the Port of Toronto and expertise in shipping in and out of Canada though the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Bilingual logistics experts help customers with intra-Mexico, cross-border, or international shipping using air, ocean, ground or rail transportation. 

LYNDEN

Seattle-based Lynden not only delivers to, from and within Canada, the company does business there. Its long-established Canadian presence allows it to provide complete coverage for any transportation need. They can help with warehousing and distribution or 3PL in Canada, where Lynden boasts of knowing “the ins and outs of customs brokerage, duties and taxes, imports and exports.” From its offices in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Lynden offers scheduled less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) service to points in Alaska and the Lower 48.

LYNNCO

The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company optimizes customers’ supply chains coast-to-coast in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. LynnCo manages businesses and determines how and when ground, international air/ocean, spot/capacity, procurement and expedited services are the best options. For instance, LynnCo helped a U.S. manufacturer determine if shifting units to Mexico was profitable. The answer was no after factoring in the risks of moving, poor facilities, added shipping costs and product quality. 

POLARIS TRANSPORTATION GROUP

Billing itself as “an American company headquartered in Toronto,” Polaris has a quarter century of experience in scheduled LTL service between the U.S. and Canada. The company knows both countries’ customs rules and participates in every border security program, including C-TPAT, PIP (Partners in Protection), CSA (Customs Self- Assessment) and FAST (Free and Secure Trade). The company’s scheduled service connects Ontario and Quebec markets with the U.S. through a combination of its fleet and facilities along with those of its long-established partner carriers.

PUROLATOR INTERNATIONAL

The U.S. subsidiary of Canada’s leading provider of integrated freight and parcel delivery services, Jericho, New York-based Purolator International seamlessly transports shipments between the U.S. and Canada and manages the respective countries’ customs processes with aplomb. They pick up/drop off at every point in the U.S. and boast of a distribution network that extends to every Canadian province and territory. What truly takes Purolator International over the top is a commitment to continue improving, as evidenced by a recent $1 billion growth investment that includes two new hubs that will allow for faster fulfillment for both courier and e-commerce shipments from the U.S. throughout Canada, where consumers also will be seeing more access points, including upgraded retail pickup locations.

R+L GLOBAL

“Shipping to Mexico is facil,” according to Ocala, Florida-based R+L Global Logistics. Its qualified network of premium carriers in Mexico provide secure door-to-door Less than Truckload (LTL) and Full Truckload (FTL) services. They cover the entire Mexican territory and move cargo across all major U.S./Mexico border gateways. They also move intra-Mexico shipments. 

SCHNEIDER

The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based giant specializes in regional trucking, long-haul, bulk, intermodal, supply chain management, brokerage, warehousing, port logistics and transloading. Decades of cross-border freight experience means customer cargo moves without question or delay. Once goods move across the border, Schneider has the assets and personnel in place to deliver it safely and securely. “Here’s the simple fact: No one makes shipping to Canada and Mexico easier or more efficient than Schneider,” the company boasts. “By road or by rail, your freight is in the best hands possible.”

SENKO 

The Japanese logistics giant has offices in the U.S., where their own trucks and warehouses work with a network of vendors. The 3PL/4PL supply chain solutions provider uses its own IT technology developed in Japan to help arrange liquid tank transportation, flatbed, drayage, refrigerated, dry, expedited shipping and freight broker services. Senko Logistics Mexico is the company unit south of the border.

SUNSET TRANSPORTATION

The St. Louis-based company has offices and agents across the country, and customers whose shipments are moved around the globe. Sunset arranges freight for a wide range of industries, from wholesale food distribution to specialized construction equipment. “Cross-border solutions” include customs clearance for land, rail, air and ocean, LTL, TL, intermodal, rail, air, expedited and specialized freight, contracted lane and spot market, C-TPAT compliance, multimodal programs, a Laredo, Texas, warehouse and distribution facility and 24/7 bilingual, bicultural support.

SURGERE 

Headquartered in North Canton, Ohio, Surgere is a leader in linking OEMs, tier suppliers and logistics providers through an automotive data system that provides visibility on returnable containers at every stage of their movement between supplier and vehicle maker. The supply chain innovators, whose clients include Nissan and CEVA Logistics, recently opened Technologias Avanzadas Surgere de Mexico in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which has more than 1,300 suppliers and automotive plants within 200 kilometers of the location. “Central Mexico is the automotive hub for Latin America—making it a natural progression—and a welcomed challenge for us,” explained David Hampton, Surgere’s vice president for International Operations, in announcing the move. Surgere hopes to have the Mexico office fully staffed before the end of this year.

TQL

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Total Quality Logistics (TQL) was founded in 1997 and is now the second-largest freight brokerage firm in the nation, with more than 5,500 employees in 57 offices across the county. Known for combining industry-leading technology and unmatched customer service, TQL boasts of providing competitive pricing, continuous communication and “a commitment to do it right every time.” They move more than 1.6 million loads across the U.S., Canada and Mexico annually through a broad portfolio of logistics services and a network of more than 75,000 carriers.

USA TRUCK

The Van Buren, Arkansas-based company provides customized truckload, dedicated contract carriage, intermodal and third-party logistics freight management services throughout North America. USA Truck has nearly two decades of experience servicing Mexico, which has allowed the company to expand its presence south of the border and partner with many Mexican carriers. USA Truck’s Capacity Solutions coordinates transportation into and out of Mexico with a vast carrier network, and they service most major Mexican markets and consistently maintain C-TPAT certification. USA Truck also has a select fleet of third-party carriers providing service into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

UTXL

Launched in 1997 by four founders with more than 100 years of combined asset-based trucking experience, UTXL started with this goal: to be the safest, most reliable and cost effective niche capacity resource to customers in support of their core carrier programs. UTXL has served thousands of shippers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including some of the largest shippers in the world. One of their mottos is: “Any point in the U.S., Canada or Mexico … any length of haul.”

WERNER ENTERPRISES

“We keep America moving” is the motto of this Omaha, Nebraska-based company that has one of the largest transportation services to and from Mexico and is a premiere long-haul carrier to and from Canada and throughout North America. Werner has offices in Mexico and Canada as well as experienced and knowledgeable staff engineer solutions. PAR documentation allows for quicker access through customs into Canada, and their network of alliance carriers can manage entire supply chains within Canada and Mexico regardless of equipment needs.

WW SOLUTIONS

The unit of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics participates in Mexico’s automotive industry not only as a carrier and logistics provider. WW Solutions specializes in processing solutions at ports and at OEM plants, providing services that include pre-delivery inspections, accessory fittings, repairs, storage, washing, vehicle preparation, quality control, inventory management and the procurement of technical services.

YRC FREIGHT

Yellow Transportation (founded in 1924 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) merged with Roadway (founded in 1930 in Akron, Ohio) to create YRC Freight, which is the largest subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc. based in Overland Park, Kansas. A leading transporter of industrial, commercial and retail goods, YRC Freight offers solutions for businesses across North America and is the only carrier with on-site, bilingual representatives at border crossing points in Mexico to expedite customs clearance.

C-TPAT

C-TPAT DRIVES SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY AND TRADE COMPLIANCE

In today’s ever-chaining business environment, organizations are faced with ongoing security challenges. It’s crucial for shippers to understand any potential risks to their supply chains and establish security plans to avoid disruption. One significant way for shippers to proactively protect their operations is by becoming a member of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

Established in 2001, as a direct result of the September 11 terror attacks, the C-TPAT program is part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) multi-layered cargo enforcement strategy. Through this voluntary program, the CBP works with the importers, shippers, carriers, brokers and logistics providers to implement best practices for ensuring a safe, secure and expeditious supply chain. Today, there are more than 11,400 certified C-TPAT partners in the program, and these companies account for more than 52 percent of the products imported into the U.S.

C-TPAT Member Benefits

In addition to promoting supply chain security, participating in the C-TPAT program can yield significant benefits for shippers and transportation providers, including:

Fewer customs inspections – C-TPAT certification offers companies the opportunity to decrease customs inspections and documentation reviews. According to the CBP, C-TPAT members are 3.5 times less likely to incur a security or compliance examination. 

Faster border crossings – Members have access to special Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at border crossings, and can move to the front of the line during inspections. This can significantly expedite border crossings at many Canada/Mexico land border ports.

Quick response time – Following a national emergency, companies participating in the C-TPAT program are eligible to resume business first. 

Enhanced reputation – Participating in a national security program reflects a company’s ongoing commitment to safety. Some companies will only do business with importers that are C-TPAT certified–giving members a competitive edge. 

Cost avoidance – By decreasing potential supply chain disruptions, C-TPAT members can avoid costs associated with delayed shipments. Additionally, organizations penalized in any way is eligible to receive up to a 50 percent reduction on the imposed fine. 

Joining C-TPAT

While almost every organization that is involved in the import and export business can enroll in the C-TPAT program, eligibility requirements vary by business type. But to achieve certification, all companies are required to:

-Conduct a risk assessment

-Implement a supply chain security management system that complies with C-TPAT requirements

-Submit a detailed application

 -Meet with CBP representatives to verify security measures

In addition to obtaining their own certification, organizations can support the C-TPAT program by working with third-party logistics (3PL) providers that are also C-TPAT certified. C-TPAT-certified 3PLs act as an additional layer of protection against supply chain attacks, because they operate as an extension of the company’s established security procedures, essentially building a stronger company brand. 

A 3PL with active participation in the Mexican and Canadian markets also brings a portfolio of carriers and companies that are approved by C-TPAT, or that comply with minimum requirements for C-TPAT partners, essentially giving shippers a competitive advantage. 

Addressing Evolving Supply Chain Risks


As supply chain risk continues to evolve, so too do the C-TPAT requirements. In May, the CBP announced that it has added Minimum-Security Criteria (MSC) requirements to the C-TPAT guidelines to help further mitigate risks. Some of the areas that were incorporated and updated in the program’s new criteria included:

-Issues related to cyber security

-Protection of the supply chain from agricultural contaminants and pests

-Prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing

-The proper use and management of security technology, such as intrusion alarms and security camera systems

-Members are expected to implement the new criteria throughout the remainder of 2019, and validation of the new MSC will begin in early 2020.

Support Supply Chain Safety

With security risks threatening supply chains around the globe, it is important for companies to support initiatives that aim to tackle and prevent supply chain risks. By obtaining C-the certification, businesses have the unique opportunity to take an active role in supporting national security while improving their own supply chain operations. 

While there are no costs associated with joining the C-TPAT program, companies often have to invest in improving their practices to meet the minimum-security requirements and effectively maintain a compliant program. However, this investment goes a long way in helping companies mitigate risk, avoid supply chain disruptions and drive greater efficiencies for cross-border transport.  

______________________________________________________________

Linda Bravo is the Corporate Customs Broker at Transplace, where Sergio Flores is the Safety and Security Coordinator. Transplace is a 3PL provider offering logistics technology and transportation management services to manufacturers, retailers, chemical and consumer packaged goods companies. Learn more at Transplace.com.

Shipping

Five Important Ways to Negotiate Better Shipping Terms

The final price of your product or service depends on a wide range of factors. Shrewd people in business know there is more to making profits than keeping your buying price low and selling price high. Additional business expenses can reduce your final margin. These include shipping, marketing, storage, and a range of legal expenses.

Negotiating a low price from your manufacturers is just the beginning. Supply chain negotiation training seminars can teach you several ways to gain value before your products reach your customers.

The shipping industry can offer you notable savings opportunities. To identify these, you have to have a keen eye. In this article, we look at five ways you can apply negotiation training skills to obtain better shipping rates.

Understand the Shipping Terms

Global trade has thrived on the back of shipping and logistics companies for hundreds of years. As a result, the shipping industry has developed a unique culture and language. Whether you are dealing with local or multinational shipping companies, there is a range of terms that you should know.

Terms such as CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) and FOB (Free on Board) are used freely in the shipping industry. If you are new to the business, you can learn shipping terms by attending a seminar on the essentials. If you don’t understand the industry’s regular terms, you risk making a deal that can be negative for your business. 

Negotiation training seminars can teach you how to prepare before sitting down to make a deal. You can improve your position by researching the industry before meeting companies. Also, you can carry out mock discussions with shipping company agents. This can give you a feel of the language and questions that may come up during a real negotiation.

Research Possible Hidden Costs

One of the things that can diminish your profits is hidden logistics costs. The final price for your products should factor in all the costs you expect to incur before delivery. Talking to the different authorities that can come into contact with your products in transit can clarify your overall costs. Knowing the factors affecting your shipping rates can help you negotiate to reduce hidden costs.

By working closely with your shipping company, you can identify smart ways to cut down your costs. Many companies have different shipping rates based on weight as well as box dimensions. If you use the standard boxes the shipping company provides, you can save a few dollars on each load.

Develop Your Negotiation Strategy

Once you have understood the market and options available, negotiation training can help you plan your strategy. Writing down your strategy and goals can give you an overview of the entire process. The points listed below are some of the elements taught in negotiations seminars that can help to strengthen your strategy.

Budget

Based on your business model, you should have a price you are not willing to go above. Your strategy should include the ideal and maximum price you are willing to offer for the shipping service.

BATNA

A BATNA is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. It refers to a set of alternative options you can take if you cannot reach a viable deal in your negotiations. A well-planned BATNA can help you to recognize a bad deal and give you the confidence to walk away.

Timelines

Time constraints can have a significant impact on your negotiations strategy. The earlier you start discussions with shipping companies, the less pressure you will have to close a deal. Beginning your negotiations early can give you more time to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

The Urgency of Delivery

Your strategy should state how fast you need the products to be delivered once ordered. Same day deliveries often cost more than two or three days of delivery. The delivery time constraints depend on the nature of your products and promises made to your customers.

Payment Terms

Although one-off payment offers come with attractive discounts, they can also be quite risky. Making payments in installments is safer and keeps the shipping company committed until the final payment. Offer well-balanced payment terms that enable your shipping company to deliver your products on time while limiting your financial risk.

Concessions

Well-trained negotiators plan the concessions they are willing to give before discussions begin. In your research, find concessions that can create value for the shipping company and present them in your meeting. The negotiation process can become very challenging if you are too rigid.

Use Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)

According to the World Shipping Council, the intermodal shipping network plays a significant role in the cost and rate of service delivery. An intermodal network is made up of ships, airplanes, trucks, and trains. The connection points where cargo is transferred between modes of transport are also part of the network. Many companies depend on intermodal networks for the inland dispersal of cargo from harbors and airports.

Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL) provide a useful service by shipping your cargo via their own intermodal networks. A trusted 3PL provider can save you time and money while allowing you to focus on your core business.

3PLs allow you to negotiate with one service provider who can manage all the regulatory and intermodal networking issues you may face. Further, your 3PL can help you connect and share shipping costs with other dealers in your vicinity.

Negotiate with Other Shipping Companies

Before signing off on a deal, make sure you have exhausted your other options. If you only deal with one shipping company, you may miss a better option. In a comprehensive negotiation seminar, you can learn how to leverage competitive bids to secure better deals.

Additionally, training to negotiate with multiple companies feeds into your research. It teaches you more about the existing challenges in the shipping industry. The knowledge you acquire can help you create value as you deal with the shipping companies.

Round-Up

The shipping industry presents smart people in business with a wide array of chances to negotiate better deals. The techniques in this article are not exhaustive. However, they can set you on the right track and feed into your strategy.

Negotiation training seminars are designed to maximize your potential and spur you into action. However, there is no strict rule book that is applicable in every case. As you grow in business, you can develop your own strategies based on your training and personal preferences.

global

GLOBAL FORWARDING: BIGGEST, FASTEST SAVINGS FOR GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS

Increasingly complex omnichannel business models are resulting
in correspondingly complicated global supply chains. Maximizing
efficiencies for time and cost in moving freight around the world
is mission critical. This paper takes a high-level look at three
opportunities for optimization: cargo consolidation, cargo risk
management, and customs management.

The multichannel retail business model, along with increasing levels of global sourcing, have created staggering opportunities for importers and exporters around the world, whether huge multinationals or small companies shipping globally for the first time.

Global supply chains are becoming longer and more fragmented,
presenting significant new issues for logistics professionals. In one
survey, 104 global supply chain executives reported that visibility
(21.1%), fluctuating consumer demand (19.1%), and inventory
management (13.2%) were their biggest challenges (1).

Many factors add complexity to global supply chains, including longer lead times and lead-time variability and an increasing number of suppliers, partners, carriers, customers, countries, and logistics channels. Contrary to what you might think, global freight forwarding can offer relief for these concerns and when people, processes, and technology are leveraged, can even offer competitive advantages.

10 Approaches to Savings in the Global
Forwarding Supply Chain

EASY

1. Align shipping activities to leverage benefits of consolidation
services.

2. Minimize financial impact of cargo loss and damage by
purchasing marine cargo insurance.

3. Take advantage of transportation providers’ TMS to create
visibility and take control of the supply chain.

MODERATE

4. Develop strategies to match service modes with inventory
planning and sales forecasting.

5. Create a risk management strategy—identify and understand
risk types, probabilities, and potential costs.

6. Integrate with a single transportation provider’s TMS and
connect with suppliers and carriers globally.

DIFFICULT

7. Effectively use Incoterms® when negotiating with suppliers to
impact unit price, cash flow, inventory levels, and logistics costs.8. Actively engage with a customs professional to deploy best
practices in customs management.

9. Leverage transportation provider’s business intelligence
reporting and analytics to improve supply chain performance.

10. Utilize PO management to control the purchase order lifecycle;
go upstream to supplier order fulfillment logistics activities.

CARGO CONSOLIDATION

What it is
Few companies can fill an entire ocean or air container with their
own freight. Both ocean and air carriers require shippers to work
with freight consolidation services to accommodate small volume
shipping needs. These freight consolidators accept complementary
freight from multiple shippers, and consolidate freight all kinds
(FAK) containers for ocean shipping or unit load devices (ULD) for
air. This results in better freight rates and cargo security measures.

Why it’s important
One of the biggest areas for savings in a global supply chain is
taking advantage of space. Companies of any size can use freight
consolidation services, but it’s particularly useful if you have a lean
supply chain or operate in a just in time environment. Using logistics
efficiencies from freight forwarders, consolidators, and third party
logistics providers (3PLs), you can choose to move smaller quantities
of material more frequently. In doing so, you make a strategic
decision to spend more on consolidation shipping services and less
on inventory, storage, returns, and other costs.

Ocean versus air
Whether air or ocean consolidation is the right choice for you
depends on the required service level and transit time. Globally,
ocean is the less expensive transportation method. That cost
advantage must be carefully weighed against longer transit times, as
well as potential delays caused by adverse weather conditions, port
strikes, or other issues.

In addition, there are faster and slower ocean options. Some ocean
freight goes directly to the port of call. Other shipments can stop at
multiple ports of call, which is less expensive, but takes longer and
is more prone to unexpected disruption. Working with a reputable
freight forwarder can help reduce unexpected supply chain failures
and delays, and provide options if disruptions occur.

Air freight consolidation service is a faster, more expensive option
than ocean, but here, too, there are faster and slower options that
determine the cost. For example, if you don’t need direct service
(next flight out), choose a slower transit time at more favorable
pricing.

Best Practices for Cargo Consolidation

Choose a forwarder with:

-Sufficient freight volumes to effectively consolidate without delays and to aggressively negotiate rates with ocean and air carriers.

-Dedicated space allocations for capabilities when they are needed.

– Work in major markets with high flight capacity.

Generally, in any type of transportation, the more time there is between pickup and delivery, the less you pay. In air, for instance, use providers with gateways (vs. a hub and spoke approach)
to get cost-efficient options that meet your deadlines. Use consolidation schedules if you can for more savings.

CARGO RISK MANAGEMENT

What it is
Global shipments are exposed to risk from a wide range of human
and natural forces. Yet, global shipments are subject to a unique set
of international laws and/or treaties that limit the liability of carriers. Whether you import or export, you should understand the various types of risks that cargo could face and how you can help protect the value of the goods shipped globally.

Why it’s important
Even with proper packing, stowage, and securing of containers on
a container ship, severe weather and rough seas can cause rare but
catastrophic events like ship groundings, structural failures, even
collisions, any of which can result in loss of cargo. On average, the
World Shipping Council estimates that there were 1,582 containers
lost at sea per year between 2008 and 2016; 1,012 of these
containers (64 percent) were lost due to a catastrophic event.2 Theft, counterfeiting, hurricanes, floods, political unrest, labor disputes, documentation errors, or mechanical problems can also delay or ruin delivery of the most perfectly planned global shipment. Protecting the value of products while they are in transit across the globe can have a significant impact in protecting the bottom line.

Air and Ocean Carrier Liability

When events occur, companies are often dismayed to find that not
all risks or damages are covered by carrier liability.

Air carriers are not liable if damage was caused by:
-An inherent defect, quality, or vice of the cargo
-Defective or insufficient packing of the cargo
-An act of war or armed conflict
-An act of a public authority carried out in connection with the
entry, exit, or transit of the cargo

Even if an air carrier is held legally liable for damages, they pay the
value of the goods or 19 SDRs3 per kilogram, whichever is less.
If a ship experiences an extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure at sea,ship owners may declare general average. The concept of general average hearkens back to the days when a crew tossed cargo overboard to lighten the ship in a storm. During the emergency, there wasn’t time to figure out whose cargo should be jettisoned. After the fact, to avoid quarreling, merchants whose cargo landed safely would be called upon to contribute a share or percentage to the merchants whose goods were tossed overboard to avoid imminent peril. Today, general average declarations still mean that all the merchants with freight on the vessel are required to share in the cost of the expenditure before the goods are released.

General average is a growing risk and concern for many risk
managers and insurance experts. In recent times, there has been a
rise in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events that
have led many vessels to become grounded, causing container loss
and/or vessel damage. In addition, fires on container vessels are
more common now than in the past.

Today, when these events occur and general average is declared:

1. Ship owners have a lien on the ship’s cargo. At the time
the voyage is completed, the level of sacrificial losses will not
normally be known. Ship owners will usually call for security
from cargo interests, against which the assessed contributions
can be enforced. The amount of the claim is usually calculated
by average adjusters, appointed by ship owners. Each cargo
owner’s contribution is calculated on a percentage of the cargo
owner’s interest or commercial invoice value, ranging from
1 to 100 percent.

Ship owners have a lien on the cargo until each cargo owner’s
contribution or security is satisfied. Unless a shipment is secured
with all-risk marine cargo insurance, the cargo owner will be
required to post their contribution or security in cash before
their cargo will be released. As the frequency of general average
declarations has increased, so has the amount of the required
securities—from about 12% a year ago to about 50% today.

2. Ocean carriers are not automatically liable for loss or
damage to your cargo. The U.S. accepted the Hague Rules in
1936 through the passage of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act
(COGSA). The rules expressly remove the ocean carrier’s liability
for loss or damage to cargo that arises from one of the 17 stated
liability exclusions. Legal liability claims are often met with
resistance by carriers.

Even if the ocean carrier is found liable at the end of a legal
process that can take months to settle, their limit of liability
under COGSA is $500 per package or customary shipping
unit, or the actual value of the goods, whichever is less. In other
words, the onus is on you to assess and minimize your
risk exposure.

Best Practices for Cargo Risk Management

-Buy the appropriate amount of marine cargo insurance for ocean or air shipments.

-Ensure the valuation clause for a given shipment defines the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for a loss. Most valuation clauses include the commercial invoice value and any prepaid charges associated with the shipment, such as freight, customs clearance, or duty. This clause can be modified to include other charges or profit margin—if requested and approved by underwriters.

-Choose an insurance intermediary with experience or specific training in international logistics and transportation insurance.

Calculating Costs to Determine Risk Exposure

The risk of lost cargo is real. Yet, without a crisis to motivate
action, most companies place risk management at the bottom of
the priority scale. The most common method used to protect the
value of goods from physical damage, theft, or other calamity is the
purchase of marine cargo insurance.

The first step you can take is to understand your risk exposure
by tying dollar values to varying types of risk. The challenge is
quantifying the potential cost. You can brainstorm to gather that
information, or can work with a logistics provider that has in-house
risk management professionals to help uncover potential liabilities
in the supply chain.

You can apply subjective probability to calculate possible losses. In
other words, you can estimate the chances of a risk event happening
and multiply it by the cost if it did happen (see below). Once the
dollar amount is calculated, the next step is to reduce the expected
loss by reducing the probability of the occurrence, or the cost of the
occurrence.

Armed with subjective probability estimates, you can effectively
buy the appropriate amount of insurance. While insurance is readily
available, it is your responsibility or the consignee’s to ensure the
coverage purchased best fits the unique exposure.

CUSTOMS MANAGEMENT

What it is
Most companies choose their customs broker for the long term.
That’s because the customs broker must truly understand your
company and products. They must also know how to navigate each
country’s compliance requirements with their own specific set of
customs rules, governmental regulations, VAT, duty rate calculations, and payment plans.

Why it’s important
Even simple trade-related mistakes, such as an incorrect spelling on
a declaration, can result in fines, penalties, or even cargo seizure.
Penalties for transgressions can be severe, depending on the
seriousness of the infraction.

For example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) imposes
fines of up to $10,000 per entry for recordkeeping infractions.
Non-financial costs, such a shipment delays, the diversion of staff
resources to correct problems, and in rare instances, the loss of
trade privileges, can be detrimental to an importer’s business.
When you work with Trusted Advisor® experts in customs, you can
learn where the most common mistakes occur and implement best
practices to avoid them. In addition, CBP can conduct a customs
focused assessment—essentially, an audit—with any U.S. importer. A
customs expert can help your company prepare before, during, and
after a focused assessment to minimize risk exposure.

Compliance programs and options that are worth investigating
Not every compliance option will fit or resonate with every business.
Discuss specific issues with an attorney or Trusted Advisor® expert
in customs compliance and learn which elements might be the most
useful. Always seek out an expert opinion.

-Customs bond sufficiency. If you import into the U.S., you must
have a customs bond, generally 10% of the duties and taxes
you expect to pay to CBP for import transactions throughout
the year. CBP can shut down all imports if they discover you
have an insufficient customs bond. Since tariffs (and duties)
are increasing substantially, existing bonds may no longer
be sufficient. Bond insufficiency will lead to additional costs
and delays if not monitored or addressed in a timely manner.

Consider the increased duty amounts well before the bond
renewal period comes up. If the customs bond will need to be
significantly higher, the surety company may require additional
documentation—including financial statements and possibly
letters of credit—before they issue a new customs bond, all of
which will take time to get into place.

-Duty drawback programs. Duty drawback programs refund
99% of certain import duties, taxes, and fees for goods that are
subsequently exported; this supports both U.S. manufacturing
and foreign export sales. Before 2018, duties might only have
been in the 1% to 2% range, and since there is paperwork to file
to get the refund, many companies did not bother with it. Today,
those 1.2% duties have jumped up to 25% in some instances,
making duty drawback programs a potential game-changer for
your business. The downside: duties must be paid up front; your
company may wait for 1 to 2 years to receive the refund under
the current drawback environment, which can become a cash
flow issue for some companies.

-Foreign trade zones (FTZs). Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) are
secure areas located in or near CBP ports of entry, and are under
CBP supervision. Unlike duty drawback programs, companies
don’t have to pay duties when goods enter an FTZ. Instead, FTZs
enable duty deferment; the duties are paid when the goods
enter CBP territory for domestic consumption. At that point, the
importer pays the duties at the rate of either the original foreign
materials or the finished product.

-Exclusion requests. If a company thinks their product should
be excluded from Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs, they can
request an exclusion. When filing an exclusion, make certain that
the classification used is the best classification for the product.
Also, work with a trade attorney; they can help you navigate
the law and apply it to a specific product so the exclusion isn’t
rejected on a technicality.

-Changing sourcing locations. It’s not always easy to change
suppliers, but some companies are looking at it in a new era of
tariffs. Yet, suppliers for some materials are only found in China,
and even if you locate a source in another country, there can be
issues. Can they supply at the necessary level? How long will it
take to test the new supplier against specifications? The more complicated the product, the more challenging a switch will be.
Also, keep in mind that if the cargo ships from Singapore but its
origin is China, U.S. tariffs may still apply.

-Incoterms®. Incoterms®, or International Commercial Terms,
are published by the International Chamber of Commerce.
They are the rules that define the responsibilities of sellers and
buyers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts, and
they establish where the transfer of risk takes place. However,
they vary from situation to situation. For example, if a container
being moved across the ocean from Shanghai to the United
States falls overboard, who is at risk? The Incoterms® tell the
story. If the U.S. buyer purchased the product FOB (free on
board), the importer took responsibility for the risk as soon as
the freight was loaded on the vessel in Shanghai. If the same
product was purchased DDP (delivered duty paid), the shipper
would be responsible until the product reached the purchaser’s
door in the United States. You can save money if you ensure
your purchasing team understands how Incoterms® rules will be
applied to freight.

Best practices in Customs Management

-Buyers are not transportation and compliance professionals who understand Incoterms®—they choose suppliers based on favorable pricing. You can establish internal structures or education to help buyers understand how Incoterms® impact risk management and pricing.

-Rely on a customs professional to leverage U.S. Customs data. They can combine a company’s unwieldy historical shipping data into usable trade reports to reveal whether an organization is taking proper advantage of free trade agreements around the world.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY CAN TIE IT ALL TOGETHER

As companies large and small continue to expand internationally,
they can no longer afford to single-handedly manage the countless
details and nuances of global freight forwarding. Shortened lead
times, the use of multiple transportation modes and carriers to
deliver product efficiently across continents, and an environment
fraught with risk requires both worldwide and regional management
of cargo flows.

Many companies rely on a transportation management system
(TMS), hoping to keep their fingers on the pulse of their global
supply chain providers. However, TMS products were developed
initially to track domestic or regional truck shipments and to
automate tedious, low-value processes performed by an enterprise’s
transportation staff. Today, few TMSs can enable global visibility to
every shipment, or can interconnect disparate systems on multiple
continents to provide the level of visibility to show where products
are at any given point in time.

A truly global supply chain network has a single TMS architecture
that spans all continents. Global visibility enables your organization
to clearly see the entire supply chain. Utilization reports for multiple
services and modes (air, ocean, rail, and road) on all continents
confers specific strategic advantages:

-Continuous improvement to supply chain logistics in real time

-Access to business intelligence, crossing all freight and spend.categories to strategically understand the impact of decisions

-Access to a centralized network of multiple providers–without
integrating individually with each provider

Work with a logistics provider that offers a full suite of services,
manages service performance, consistently communicates
performance metrics, and offers strategic optimization to gain
distinct advantages in the marketplace.

A case in point: purchase order management

-Purchase order management (POM) within a TMS delivers end to end visibility throughout the purchase order (PO) life cycle. POM enables you or your provider to manage shipment windows, work
with overseas vendors to coordinate bookings, manage exceptions,
collect and distribute documents, and provide reporting at the shipment and PO/line item level.

-POM options include PO tracking and visibility, reporting, online booking, document management, check and verification process, vendor self-service, vendor management, exception management,
and PO and shipment analytics.

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Global Freight Forwarder

IS YOUR TMS TRULY GLOBAL? There should be one system architecture that works across regions and covers all types of transportation.

CAN YOU PROVIDE CAPACITY OPTIONS?
They should ship goods by ocean, air, rail, and truck,
choosing the option that best aligns with the business
need. Ask about their consolidation programs to
optimize spend, routings, and transit time performance.

DO YOU HAVE “BOOTS ON THE GROUND” IN KEY
GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS?
Your global freight forwarder should think globally, act locally.
That is, they should know global transportation, but also
have deep knowledge of the local population, infrastructure,
languages, politics, economy, customs, currencies, tax laws,
and tariffs for each country your shipping routes touch.

CAN YOU HELP ASSESS CARGO RISK?
They must adequately help you assess and mitigate cargo
risk to help protect your bottom line.

DO YOU OFFER CUSTOMS ADVICE?
They should be experts in leveraging customs information
and programs to your company’s advantage.

 

_________________________________________________

1. “What is the biggest challenge you are facing in your supply
chain?” eft Supply Chain & Logistics Business Intelligence,
April 2018. Accessed at https://www.statista.com/
statistics/829634/biggest-challenges-supply-chain/.

2. “Containers Lost at Sea-2017 Update,” World Shipping
Council, 2017.

3. SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, refers to a basket
of currencies designed to iron out currency exchange
fluctuations in International valuations, now used to express
the limitation under the Hague-Visby Rules and the MSA
Limitation Convention.

4. “Global Trade, Trade Statistics,” World Shipping Council,
2018. Accessed at http://www.worldshipping.org/about-theindustry/global-trade.

5. “Containers Lost at Sea-2017 Update,” World Shipping
Council, 2017.

6. Larry Kivett and Mark Pearson, “Understanding risk
management in the supply chain: Using supply chain data
analytics to drive performance,” Deloitte, 2018.

freight invoicing

How to Tackle the Freight Invoice Management Obstacles

A freight invoice is a detailed bill which includes information regarding the transportation of a company’s goods from one place to the other, along with the inclusion of the amount of charges, its weight, due dates, complete goods’ description, contact information, and names of both the receiver and the shipper, etc.

On the other hand, logistics is defined as the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the storage and movement of services and goods from the point of origin to the point of consumption within a supply chain, explains a top provider of Invoice Processing Services. The companies which deal with these processes become a part of the logistics industry and handle a few or all of the functions of supply chains as per the logistic requirements of the client.

Past Examples of Invoice Issues

-In recent times, an IT company was overbilled throughout 14 days by an amount of $935,578 owing to the incorrect weight applied by a parcel carrier.

-Auditing helped a national level entertainment retailer in saving around $35,000 from a wrong monthly invoice charge

-A worldwide renowned LED manufacturer had to pay $93,147 more due to incorrect billing currency, but the amount was recovered after the fault was discovered during the auditing process.

Top Freight Invoice Management Obstacles

Multiple Challenges

Managing invoices is extremely hard as a lot of challenges like reconciling contract terms with Bill Of Lading (BOL), invoices’ rating for correct rate selection, decisions about the acceptance of differences in charges, getting invoices resubmitted after making the carriers do corrections, etc. have to be dealt with extreme care. When these challenges are not addressed properly, they lead to errors, which further lead to overcharging, eventually adding to the overall Invoice Processing complexity.

Tedious Information Processing

The processing of information for the invoices is really tiring and tedious in nature. This is the reason employees who process the information for billing, weight, ledgers, data entry, and more commit multiple mistakes and make the final outcome inaccurate and hard to understand.

Bill Entry Issues

The very first concern which the logistics industry has to deal with during invoice management is the efficient functionality of the billing entry process which is defined below:

-Shortage of non-standardized processes and control due to operations which are not centralized for billing entry

-Multiple systems integration

-Due to missing BOL information, incomplete billable items are captured

-Multiple formats for BOL 

-Lost information regarding a customer or local-specific procedures for billing

Refund Management Issues

There are a lot of instances where the goods and services do not land safely at the doorstep of the receivers. In such cases, goods and services are returned back to the suppliers, which involves going through all the invoice processing steps again, which is extremely time-consuming for the owners of the logistics company.

Best Practices to Tackle Invoice Management Obstacles

Must-Include Invoice Listings

-Consignee and consignor names

-Shipment date

-Packages number

-Freight description

-Volume, weight, and measurement of freight

-Total outstanding charges

-Each carrier name engaging in transportation and movement route

-Shipment’s transfer point

-Issuer’s business address and remittance address

Freight Management Controls

It is important to incorporate internal controls which are powerful into the management structure of the freight. An authorization system, duty separations, and internal audits on a periodical basis are one of the most important tasks for managing risks like favoritism and fraud, which have the potential to bring down the overall profitability. 

The main objective is to make sure none of the employees have any chance for concealing and committing any illegal or unethical activity. For example, an employee who has been given the responsibility of getting the estimates should never be made the in charge of making the final freight invoice payment or selection.

Proficient Auditing System

According to a report by ReconLOgistics.com, wrong freight bills appear in about 5-6% of the entire invoices, which can raise the expenses of transportation to a great extent. With a proficient auditing system in place, along with a thorough recalculation and review can save you from overpaying due to inaccuracies in the freight bills. 

Apart from this, normal dealing procedures for lost shipment or damaged dealing, and timely claims reconciliation are an imperative part of a cost-saving management program for the freight.

Outsourcing Payment and Freight Audit

When it comes to finding the best solutions for streamlining the freight invoice management process, Outsource Invoice Processing remains a top favorite amongst the businesses due to its cost-cutting feature, along with the following benefits provided by it:

-Paper routing, filing, and handling elimination

-Centralized system for entire processing functions of the freight invoice

-Eliminating multiple systems and non-uniform processes

-Real-time insights into the invoices

-Latest technology use like artificial intelligence and automation

-Invoices’ long-term archival in the electronic form

-Carrier queries

-Increase cash flow to the maximum levels with timely invoice payments

-Receive correct and detailed accrual files and cost allocation straight into your system

-Gain visibility into operational metrics, invoice status, and payment information

Invoice Automation

Most of the industries have already incorporated the use of automation in a majority of their work processes, and have reaped great benefits in the following forms:

-Faster processing of invoices

-Elimination of costly human errors

-Invoice costs reduction by 80%

-Preventing payments duplicity and maximizing initial incentives for payments

-Enabling enhanced cash flow control and visibility

-Achieving 100% accuracy for invoice entry

Freight Software

Businesses who are trying to manage their freight invoices by themselves can ease their management workload with some of the top freight software mentioned below:

The Magaya Cargo System

This user-friendly software helps in eliminating duplicity of data entry, streamlining shipment workflows, generating Bill Of Lading, etc., along with a fully-integrated system for Invoice Accounting.

A1 Tracker

This software meets the unique business demands of the present scenario, make the working of the logistics systems smooth, and bring the required value to your business.

Freightos

The online platform for global trade management and freight booking, along with providing logistics owners with digital sales tools.

Excalibur WMS

This is a software which is fully integrated for warehouse management, accounting system, and third-party logistics (3PL) service billing.

CargoWise One

A central software system platform for worldwide providers giving logistics services.

Managing the freight invoices is definitely challenging owing to the various complexities in the form of inaccuracies and irregularities in the data and work processes, respectively. These complexities can be brought down greatly with the use of automation, outsourcing, audit systems, etc., eventually streamlining the process of freight invoice management at large, along with saving time and money at the same time.

_________________________________________________________________

Gia Glad holds the position of Business Content Writer at Cogneesol – an outsourcing firm offering finance and accounting services along with other value-added services to the small and mid-sized businesses globally.

Vietnam

Why Washington Shouldn’t see Vietnam as the Next China

In a recent Senate Finance Committee report, U.S. Trade Czar Robert Lighthizer opined that Vietnam must take action to curb its growing trade surplus with the U.S., including removing barriers to market access for U.S. companies.

While it is true that Vietnam’s trade surplus has grown significantly in 2019, much of it is the result of the trade war between the U.S. and China that has prompted importers to source from Vietnam as an alternative to China.

Rather than attempt to stunt Vietnam’s trade surplus through tariffs or other trade actions, Washington should be establishing alliances with countries in Southeast Asia as part of its quest to ensure balanced trade and market stability.

Lighthizer’scomments were in response to queries from the Committee and echoed previous statements made by White House administration officials who have identified Vietnam as one of several countries to watch with respect to trade activity. And while there hasn’t been a direct threat of imposing tariffs on Vietnamese imports, the recent implementation of a 400% duty on Vietnamese steel imports and the recent rhetoric in Washington regarding transshipment has many businesses nervous that their new safe haven may be the President’s next target for trade action.

Troublesome to United State Trade Representative (USTR) is that the surplus thus far in 2019 is already more than 30% higher than it was at this time last year, making Vietnam the leading nation in terms of percentage increase of import value in 2019.

Hastening trade imbalance

Washington has been at least somewhat complicit in hastening Vietnam’s growing trade surplus. Since the U.S. began imposing tariffs on China-origin goods, many U.S. companies (and some Chinese companies) have been looking to shift production to neighboring markets in Asia. A recent poll of U.S. companies by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in China showed that more than 40% of American companies with production in China were looking to move to a neighboring country if they hadn’t already done so. These include the likes of Dell, HP, Steve Madden, Brooks and others. Even non-U.S. companies, like Japan’s Nintendo and China’s own electronics giant TCL are looking to shift production out of China and into Vietnam.

Vietnam was an obvious choice for many of these manufacturers looking to circumvent Washington’s onerous tariffs. For years, Vietnam has been investing heavily in improving its roadway and port infrastructure, as well as augmenting its pool of high-skilled laborers so that it can attract large hi-tech giants. The advancements were well-timed to coincide with increasing wages and regulatory restrictions in China that were driving up costs and forcing foreign producers to look elsewhere for low-cost manufacturing alternatives. This was taking place well before the current administration in Washington began cracking down on China’s questionable trade practices.

To be fair, Washington does have some cause for complaint. It’s one of Asia’s worst kept secrets that Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand have become convenient transshipment hubs for Chinese companies looking to circumvent quotas and, more recently, tariffs by making minor tweaks in neighboring countries to products almost wholly manufactured in China and sending them along to the U.S. as “Vietnamese” or “Malaysian” exports. In the end, there is little monetary gain for Vietnam and much opportunity for reputational damage. Hanoi’s incentive for playing along is purely political; it wants to placate China, its much larger neighbor and regional hegemon.

Hanoi has already said it will crackdown on Chinese transshipments labeled as being of Vietnamese origin. Nikkei Asian Review is reporting the Vietnamese government is considering new rules that would require 30% of a good’s price to be comprised of Vietnamese manufacturing for it to be considered as being of Vietnamese origin. Whether or not this will pacify the USTR remains to be seen.

Yet while Chinese transshipments may have been a catalyst to Vietnam’s soaring trade surplus, the ongoing U.S-China trade war has unquestionably accelerated the development of a trend that was only in its infancy a few short years ago.

If Washington is looking to penalize Vietnam for a trade surplus born out of Washington’s trade war with Beijing, where will the cycle of tariffs end?

Options for low-cost sourcing plentiful

Let’s assume Washington succeeds in quelling the growth of Vietnam’s trade surplus by imposing tariffs in the same manner it has with China, the EU and other entities. The likely outcome will be that U.S. companies then look to Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh or Cambodia (as many have already) to replace or supplement their production in China.

Let’s assume that Washington then imposes similar tariffs on imports from those countries. The likely outcome will be that U.S. companies then shift their attention to India, Mexico or any other country that offer lower cost labor and limited regulatory burden. And on and on it goes.

Washington wants to see production repatriated back to the United States, but only six percent of American companies moving production out of China are looking at reshoring their manufacturing facilities. One of the key reasons is that the facilities currently in China are intended to support regional exports and reshoring production to the U.S. would result in unnecessary transport costs and time in transit. In other cases, the cost of moving production to the U.S. could be too onerous to allow companies to compete globally.

A battle worth waging – along with friends and allies

This is not to suggest Washington’s war on China’s unsavory trade practices is unjust or futile. On the contrary, China’s history of misappropriating intellectual property through technology transfer, cybersecurity incidents and other trade violations requires America to act. But tariffs only punish American companies that will continue to shift their production as necessary to reduce their landed costs.

Instead of reprimanding and punishing countries like Vietnam with tariffs in response to growing trade surpluses, Washington should be working with them to forge alliances that will ensure China is forced to play by the rules.

If the U.S. truly wants to stave off bad actors such as China from continuing to abuse the global trade’s rule-based system, it will need the support of friends and allies in the eastern and western hemispheres. Acting alone and imposing unilateral restrictions only throws Washington into a battle of wills for which collateral damage is certain, but the outcome remains unknown.

_________________________________________________________________

Cora Di Pietro is vice president of Global Trade Consulting at trade-services firm Livingston International. She is a frequent speaker and lecturer at industry and academic events and is an active member of numerous industry groups and associations. She can be reached at cdipietro@livingstonintl.com.