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Transportation/Logistics

2015 Holiday Peak Season Has Ocean Carriers Seeing Red

After a busy 2014 and first quarter of 2015, ocean carriers are having a very unhappy holiday peak season.  Poor bets on future economic growth, new infrastructure, increased vessel capacity, and importer inventory trends have created a shipping environment with excess supply and dwindling demand. How did the shipping industry, which was enjoying record profits […]

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3 Common Causes for Air Cargo Split Shipments

Have you tracked your air shipment and found that only 23 cartons of 100 arrived? Or, maybe you’ve heard this popular message from one of the larger air carriers, “your shipment has been split for more efficient transportation.” More efficient? For whom?  Split Shipments occur when an air carrier transports cargo covered under a single […]

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Dredging the Confusion Surrounding the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF)

Maintaining any form of infrastructure comes at a cost.  Developing and growing that infrastructure is equally costly.  Dredging isn’t free; nor is disposing of dredged materials properly. As importers into the United States, it is simply expected that the bill from your broker will likely arrive with a Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT/HMF) line item.  However, […]

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4 Reasons Lower Bunker Fuel Prices Don’t Mean Lower Shipping Rates

Importers and exporters checking gas pump receipts have been looking around and scratching their heads…  If gasoline is so cheap, why haven’t shipping rates decreased? Since 2008, carriers have cited the rising cost of fuel for increases in shipping rates.  This made sense since fuel surged by a whopping 279% from 2008 through 2014, but […]

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Margie Shapiro’s Annual Outlook 2015

The January 2015 edition of the JOC Annual Review & Outlook contributes an industry barometer and analysis of the challenging year ahead including changes that may be coming in the broader economy, in the marketplace or in the regulatory world that will affect business in 2015 including Air Cargo, Government, Logistics, Maritime, Rail and Intermodal and Trucking sectors. The […]

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Low Sulfur Surcharge: High Confusion and High Costs

The maritime industry has been through quite a lot in the past few years, from carriers leaving the chassis business, to U.S. East and West Coast labor issues, to the introduction of mega-vessels, to atypical peak seasons, and rate fluctuations.  And yet, another surcharge is about to take center stage.  Say hello to the Low […]

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Why Do the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach Look like a Parking Lot? The 5-Minute Guide to Understanding the Congestion

Unless you just started your first logistics job today, you’ve heard about the chaotic situation at the ports of LA/LB.  It’s a lot more likely that you have not only heard about it, but that you have felt its impact to your supply chain, budget, and sanity. After enduring weeks of slow moving freight through […]

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6 Tips to Avoid Demurrage and Per Diem Detention Charges

If you’re like most importers or exporters, you probably shuddered when reading the subject line. Oh, the horror of receiving an unexpected bill showing demurrage, detention, or per diem!  Not only did you not plan for those fees, you may not be completely certain of the cause for such charges. Well, I’m here to set […]

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11 Essential Questions To Ask Before You Consider Self-Filing Your Customs Entries

So there you are, going about your (crazy) business, and out of nowhere, your boss asks, “Hey, what if we started to self-file our Customs entries and did it all in-house?  Wouldn’t that save us a lot of money?”  Your world seems to temporarily collapse and you can’t breathe properly.  How do you even begin […]

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Do’s and Don’ts of Supply Chain International Business Etiquette

For anyone who has attended a meeting with a vendor from China, I’m sure you’ve noticed, and hopefully you’ve reciprocated, that business cards are given and received with some ceremony, using both hands to give and accept.  A card isn’t merely a card in the Chinese culture; it’s a piece of the person to be […]

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5 Indisputable Reasons the Logistics Industry is Awesome!

“Once you get in, you can’t get out.”  That’s what you hear from folks that have been in the logistics industry for years.  Those same people can quickly spot the rookies who aren’t going to make it; the logistics vets are in the corner saying, “That poor kid, he just can’t handle it.”  The international […]

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5 Performance Indicators You Should Consider with Your Long-Term Logistics Provider

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.  Remember your search for “the one?” The courtship, the evaluation process, the long sleepless nights, the bidding wars…  Remember making that call to say, “I pick you!”  I’m talking about choosing a forwarder, of course!   Think back to that time. Now consider, what selection criteria did you use?  […]

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game: How 3 Types of Freight Providers Perform During ILWU Labor Negotiations

The sun is out, the air is warm, and whether you know it or not, you’re going to a baseball game.  Historically, labor disputes have been almost as popular as America’s favorite pastime.  This particular game is between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).  They are only weeks […]

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10 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Supply Chain (and Personal) Productivity

I’d be hard pressed to deny that technology consumes my life today. At this very moment, I am writing this blog while streaming music using Pandora and monitoring my email on the same device that houses all of my documents, pictures, and embarrassing videos. Cisco, one of the world’s largest technology firms, estimates that the […]

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Why Every Importer of Tile and Stone Cannot Afford to Miss the “Crystal Ball Look at Future Transportation Issues” Session at Coverings 2014

Every winter as you prepare your budgets for the upcoming year, I imagine each of you Logistics Managers standing in front of a mirror and saying, “mirror, mirror on the wall, what are my ocean freights going to be next Fall?” While the image may be slightly comical, the thought highlights a very real problem.  […]

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A Straightforward Explanation of How the Chinese New Year Affects your Logistics, No Matter What your Zodiac Sign Is

It snuck up on you, didn’t it?  Much like the dreaded summer bathing suit season – the one you keep saying you’ll start that diet for next week – that time of the year has arrived.  Maybe it was the gestational holiday season when you gained 15 pounds from fruit cake alone, or the collective sigh […]

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Nine Reasons Why Buying Your Imports on CIF Terms Is Too Good to Be True

I understand that the temptation to buy on a Cost, Insurance & Freight (CIF) basis is very hard to resist. After all, isn’t it so much easier? When you don’t have to coordinate with a freight forwarder and don’t have to negotiate freight rates, all you have to do is to wait for the vessel […]

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7 Reasons Your Container Drayage Costs will Rise in 2014

Worried about how container drayage costs will impact your supply chain next year?  You’re not alone. Here are seven reasons the chassis and driver shortage will impact your operations in 2014: Most major ocean carriers have either largely pulled out of the chassis business or intend to do so in 2014. Multi-carrier steamship pools are […]

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Math is Our Friend: A Guide to Cargo Calculations for Logistics Professionals

While she would likely poison my dinner or make a chubby “Rob Doll” for her voodoo pins if she knew I was writing this in a public forum, my wife is lousy at math. I mean lousy. This woman is a great teacher for our children; she is impossible to beat at Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit; she is at least three times smarter than I am… and, she has a panic attack if you mention “square root” or “divisible” or (God forbid) “numerator.”

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