Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Facts: Houston Container Ports

Container Terminals

The Port of Houston handles about 70 percent of all the containerized cargo in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Port of Houston Authority ‘s container handling facilities are among the finest in the nation, providing efficient and cost-effective service.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Facts: Well Positioned for Growth

"The Port Authority is well-positioned for growth.  Houston container cargo trade alone could increase  by 15 % in trhe next few years as a result of the Canal Expansion."  

Co. Leonard D. Watterworth

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Facts: EEOC mandates new rules on background checks

The EEOC’s recent guidance concerning employers’ use of criminal background checks on job applicants comes down to two words: Individual assessment.

The bottom line of the agency’s recently released “enforcement guidance”: Blanket policies that automatically reject job candidates with criminal records are illegal.

The rationale: Such policies have been found to have a disparate impact on minorities, according to the EEOC.
The guidance comes on the heels of a recent settlement between the agency and Pepsi Beverages, which agreed to pay $3.13 million after EEOC investigation found that the criminal background check policy formerly followed by Pepsi discriminated against African Americans in violation of federal anti-bias laws.

Click here for full article

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Retroactive MPF Increase Bills Update

From:  OHL Trade Services

CBP will start to issue Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) rate increase bills shortly.  When you receive your bill(s), CBP strongly recommends that you remit individual checks for each corresponding bill. CBP advised that remitting one check for multiple bills severely complicates their application process. 

The increase applies to all goods entered beginning October 1 st, 2011 through November 5 th, 2011. If you imported goods during this period, you should expect a bill reflecting the rate increase from 0.21% to 0.3464%. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Study: Many midsized firms risk export violations

This was recently shared by Theresa Garcia from Roanoke Trade
Amber Road, formerly Management Dynamics and a provider of global trade management systems, has released a study on U.S.-based mid-market companies' export compliance challenges and found they are increasingly at risk of violating federal regulations.
Of the 150 companies surveyed, 23 percent do not screen for restricted parties prior to engaging overseas customers. For those that did perform this screening, 30 percent make checks manually using spreadsheets or Websites. Only 41 percent of respondents had a comprehensive export compliance program.   
“The good news is U.S. exports are growing, and mid-market companies in particular are increasing revenues by accessing foreign markets,” said Scott Byrnes, vice president of marketing at Amber Road. “Unfortunately, it appears that many mid-market companies aren’t fully aware of the regulatory requirements governing global trade.”
The concern with this lack of knowledge is that criminal and civil penalties for export control violations are often harsh. Companies can face criminal penalties of up to $500,000 per violation for "dual-use" export (items with both commercial and military applications) control violations and an individual faces up to 10 years in jail. Civil fines reach $12,000 per violation and can also include denial of export privileges.
Respondents said a lack of executive sponsorship was a primary reason for their trade compliance deficiencies.
According to a March Bureau of Economic Analysis report, U.S. exports grew 7.7 percent from January 2011 to January 2012. The bulk of the growth was related to small and midsized companies. Companies of this size also accounted for 97.8 percent of all U.S. exporters, according to the most recent report by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Other noteworthy findings from the report include:
  • 20 percent of companies don't have formal export compliance programs.
  • 66 percent use manual processes to classify products.
  • 35 percent have a management team that is somewhat aware of the regulations, but have no involvement in the compliance process.
   A full copy of the report can be found here. — Geoff Whiting

Friday, May 04, 2012

Facts Friday: Container Chassis

Chassis -- everyone has gotten so used to the "Liners" providing the Chassis to the trucking companies to move the containers from the container yard and port the the point of destination or visa versa,  that it's coming as a shock when they're being told that a "Chassis Rental Fee"  is being added to the drayage charges.    Not long ago only one or two companies were charging this fee.  As of TODAY there are over 15 that are charging.  It's a cost that needs to be built in to the landing costs of the containers.