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Shap Talk

Featured Headlines:

Our Seafood Pool is Shrinking!

A Cosmetics Regimen for Cosmetics Registration

Think ISF for the EU!

IPI Running Dry

Contractor Chaos on the Regulatory Highway

Frosty FTL Freight Market

Alliance Defiance?

Gemini’s European Twins

Export Enforcement Escalation

European Import Expansion

Our Seafood Pool is Shrinking!

  • On December 22, 2023, a new Executive Order was issued expanding on the one issued on March 11th.
  • This order prohibits all seafood product imports processed in third countries that contain seafood harvested in Russian waters or caught by Russian flag vessels.
  • A list of the affected HTS can be found here.
  • All entries that include the affected commodities will require a self-certification statement to be uploaded to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Document Image System (DIS)
  • Specific filing instructions are required for all entries, including Foreign Trade Zone entries, can be found here.

A Cosmetics Regimen for Cosmetics Registration

  • The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced the implementation of tools to assist stakeholders in registering a cosmetics facility. (We don’t “make up” this stuff!)
  • The new application tools are Cosmetic Direct, a Structured Product labeling (SPL) along with submissions through the Electronic Submission Gateway. Both are now available.
  • FDA announced that it will not reinforce the cosmetics registration and product listing requirements until July 1, 2024, so the industry has time to comply with the new registration requirements.

Think ISF for the EU!

  • On June 3, 2024, the European Union Import Control System 2 goes into effect. This means that goods destined to the EU, by sea, inland waterways, road, and rail will have to submit a complete Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) dataset to ICS2.
  • The data filing can be provided in one complete ENS filing if all necessary data is available to the party that files. Alternatively, it can be done with multiple filings, where more than one partial ENS filing is submitted by different actors in the supply chain.
  • This includes:
    • The HS commodity code (6 digits) of the goods,
    • The EORI of the consignee established in the EU, the information about Seller and Buyer,
    • Adequate descriptions of goods in a plain language and precise enough for the customs authorities to be able to identify the goods, is imperative.
  • Customs can decide to impose administrative sanctions for non-compliance with ENS data requirements.

IPI Running Dry

  • Last year’s IPI volumes dipped on the dance floor, dropping 11.2% due to an overall decrease in containerized imports and shippers jitterbugging away from West Coast ports, thanks to the high tempo longshore labor limbo “back West.”
  • As shippers danced away from the West to the East and Gulf coasts last year, IPI volumes dropped. But hey, labor threats in the East might just make IPI the belle of the ball again!
  • Experts expect an uptick in international intermodal shipments in 2024, potentially hitting 8.1 million containers – provided the West Coast can charm its way back into shippers’ hearts.
  • Out of the ’24 gates, the dancehall greats point to current rates to set us straight (and put us in dire straits). Today, Chicago rates are lower than USEC port rates from Asia!  This should have the Midwest dancing in the streets and pushing their volumes over Vancouver!
  • Gang, for the first time in forever, it is cheaper to ship from Shanghai to Chicago compared to Ningbo to New York! This is almost unheard of!
  • Another big wave in IPI will start at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. A boost in Asian imports there could signal a surge in rail movements, putting the spotlight on dray folks, railroads, and chassis providers to keep up with the rockin’ pace.

Contractor Chaos on the Regulatory Highway

  • The US Labor Department dropped a regulatory bombshell, revising guidelines to distinguish between independent contractors and employees, causing trucking companies to hit the brakes on their current staffing practices.
  • This rulemaking reignites the long-standing tussle over the gig economy, particularly in California and in drayage circles, where the Teamsters and others are revving up the political pressure to see independent truckers shift gears to employee status.
  • Despite the new rule taking effect on March 11, it’s not the end of the road for this heated debate. Trucking groups are already fueling up for a legal drag race against the Biden administration.
  • The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and other trucking groups are blowing the horn, calling the ruling “un-American” and linking it to a “radical California agenda.” They’re concerned that over 80% of independent drayage drivers might have to swap their contractor plates for employee badges.
  • The Labor Department’s rule, replacing a Trump-era regulation, is steering back to a multifactor analysis that had been the roadmap for decades, focusing on worker dependence and employer control. Not to pick a fight with Comrade Governor Newsom, but the people being “protected” here are powerfully lukewarm on the policy being suggested.
  • Can anything on this lovely planet Earth be “powerfully lukewarm?” We’ll ponder this in a future issue of our award-winning newsletter, dear fans!

Frosty FTL Freight Market

  • As domestic freight demand cools off and rates snowball downwards, shippers are sliding into 2024’s contract negotiations with a bit of frosty leverage but wary of starting a “Cold War.”
  • Short-term flurries are out, and longer contracts are in, as shippers seek shelter from the blizzard of market uncertainty with shorter agreements.
  • There’s a glimmer of hope on the icy horizon. Shippers and truckers are bundling up for more stability, preferring the warmth of guaranteed capacity over the chill of fluctuating spot rates.
  • The RFP landscape has truckers navigating through a flurry of proposals from big-name shippers, signaling a busy season ahead in the contract market.
  • Recent winter blasts across North America have put a freeze on transportation, icing loads in place and reviving memories of the 2021 rate blizzards. Next month’s forecast might just reveal the full impact of this wintry mix on the freight market.

Alliance Defiance?

  • Bronson Hsieh, the former chairman of Yang Ming with an unpronounceable name, is whispering on the docks that Wan Hai Lines and perhaps Pacific International Lines (PIL) will step up and join the THE Alliance, filling the shoes of the departing Hapag-Lloyd.
  • Does this remind anybody else of Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the definition of the word ‘is’ is”?? The “THE” may be THE perfect comparison?!
  • Not to dampen the gossip, but Hapag-Lloyd controls less than 5% of the Transpacific market! Still, the global consequences are compelling (no, they really are, we swear!).
  • Wan Hai, currently a lone wolf sailing the Transpacific waters and famous for inter-Asia connections, is eyeing a bold move to propel them to the big ocean carrier stage.
  • Also, in a strategic power play, Wan Hai is boosting its muscle with eighteen new 13,000 TEU ships, a fleet expansion plan hatched during the pandemic’s high tide.
  • PIL, also built on inter-Asia and niche markets, sees the huge potential of THE membership!
  • The maritime world is buzzing with the possibility of alliances reshuffling, especially as Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company’s 2M alliance is splitting, leaving room for new allegiances. Wait, this presages our next article… how convenient!

Gemini’s European Twins

  • Move over Golden Globes and The Oscars, the maritime world is rolling out the red carpet for the Gemini Cooperation, a joint venture combining the talents of Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd (though it sounds more like a new Jason Bourne flick).
  • The Gemini is slated to set sail in early 2025 though experts expect the newlyweds to honeymoon on some strategic vessel-sharing agreements (VSAs) quite soon indeed.
  • Displaying early ambition while also providing a hint of future commercial messaging, Maersk and Hapag have already announced their mutual goal of 90% on-time schedule performance. In today’s global shipping realities, this is like announcing a goal of getting three holes-in-one in one golf round, but carriers can dream!
  • With an impressive line-up of 26 mainline services, Gemini will provide robust coverage globally.
  • Together with their French cousin, CMA, the Danish blue giant, and German orange powerhouse are ahead of the pack on carbon reduction and green initiatives; it will not be at all surprising to watch Gemini embrace the mantle of the world’s cleanest alliance in 2025 and beyond.

Export Enforcement Escalation

  • The U.S. is shining a bright light on companies skirting export rules, especially those connected to China, Russia, and Iran, signaling a new era of heightened vigilance and stiffer penalties.
  • Matthew Axelrod, akin to Gotham’s Commissioner Gordon, announced at a recent law event that it’s time for some serious penalties to catch the attention of the corporate underworld.
  • Seagate Technology’s $300 million fine for illicit dealings with Huawei is just the beginning. This “down payment” foreshadows more hefty penalties, making it clear that evading export controls is no riddle the U.S. can’t solve.
  • Echoing Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s call for aggressive enforcement, Axelrod’s team is revving up their engines, turning sanctions into the new bat-gadget against corporate crime.
  • Siemens AG’s brush with the law years ago serves as a bat signal to others. The Disruptive Technology Strike Force, led by Axelrod and Olsen, is prioritizing the safeguarding of advanced technologies from “jokers” like Russia, China, and Iran. With new policies to swiftly resolve minor violations, they’re clearing the streets to focus on the bigger threats, ready to bring justice to those who dare cross the line.

European Import Expansion

  • Our friends across the pond have really grown a sweet tooth for US exports as the five fastest-growing buyers are European, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • Taking the gold medal is Poland, leaping from the 48th to the 33rd-ranked U.S. trade partner. Led by purchases of civilian aircraft, natural gas, and coal, Poland’s imports from the US have soared by 186%.
  • Coming home with the silver is Ireland, now the 24th-ranked trade partner, showcasing a 157% growth in U.S. imports, primarily in pharmaceuticals and high-tech products.
  • Featuring oil and medicines, Spain nabbed the bronze and climbed to the 19th overall spot with a 149% jump in trade with the U.S.
  • Those other two guys standing at the bottom of the podium without anything to show for their efforts are Denmark and the Czech Republic, respectively. The Danes are buying barrels of fine Texas crude while the Czechs are stroking checks for computers and aircraft parts.