The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Wednesday approved a proposed liner carrier consortium of five ocean carriers for their planned services to and from the United States.
The FMC’s decision, which was made in a closed session during the agency’s final meeting of 2016, allows THE Alliance to become effective Dec. 19.
THE Alliance, announced in May, is composed of Hapag-Lloyd of Germany; Taiwan’s Yang Ming; and “K” Line, MOL and NYK of Japan. Also included in initial plans for THE Alliance was Hanjin Shipping before the South Korean carrier filed for insolvency in August.
Just last month, the three Japanese members of THE Alliance said they would combine their liner carrier divisions under a single entity.
Through the new alliance, the carriers said last month they plan to call over 75 ports in the Far East, North Europe, the Mediterranean, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.
“I am very cognizant of the concerns industry stakeholders had regarding provisions in this agreement, particularly those related to information sharing and joint procurement,” FMC Chairman Mario Cordero said in a statement. “This office will continue to carefully focus on the impacts of the carrier alliance restructuring that is taking place in the shipping industry. Considerable review and analysis goes into assessing a final agreement before it is allowed to go into force.”
THE Alliance formed in the aftermath of a musical chairs of realignment in carrier alliances and consolidation that has only continued in the second half of 2016. The grouping was nicknamed by some analysts as the “orphan alliance” since it was made up of carriers left on the sidelines by the formation of the Ocean Alliance, which brought together carriers from three previous alliances (the Ocean 3, G6, and CKYHE). Eric Johnson – American Shipper
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Wednesday approved a proposed liner carrier consortium of five ocean carriers for their planned services to and from the United States.
TPP: What is it and why does it matter?
US President-elect Donald Trump has promised to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as soon as he takes office.
The TPP, signed by 12 countries in February, covers 40% of the world’s economy. But all 12 nations need to ratify it, and Mr. Trumps comments suggest that simply won’t happen. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32498715
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Speaks Up for Trade Pact Opposed by Trump
U.S. president-elect has pledged to pull out of 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership deal
BERLIN—German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday expressed concern about the dim prospects for a sweeping trade pact between the U.S. and Asia, which President-elect Donald Trump opposes, and argued that Europe should keep pushing for trade liberalization. http://www.wsj.com/articles/german-chancellor-angela-merkel-speaks-up-for-trade-pact-opposed-by-trump-1479904540
Why U.K. Is Struggling to Find the Path to ‘Brexit’
LONDON — A recently leaked memo from a consultancy firm has highlighted cabinet divisions over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, while suggesting that the government may need six additional months to settle on a plan and to recruit tens of thousands of extra civil servants. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/world/europe/uk-brexit.html?rref=collection/timestopic/International%20Trade%20and%20World%20Market&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=collection&_r=0
CMA CGM suffers heavy loss in third quarter
CMA CGM has reported a US$268m loss in the third quarter of 2016, compared to a US$51m profit recorded in the same period last year. http://container-mag.com/2016/11/21/cma-cgm-suffers-heavy-loss-third-quarter/
Report: Hyundai Heavy’s Union Considering Strike
The labor union of South Korea’s shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) said that it would launch an industrial action as a response to the company’s plans to split its businesses, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The union claims that the latest development in HHI’s plans to reorganize its businesses into six separate companies next year would lead to a sell-off. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/207224/report-hyundai-heavys-union-considering-strike/
|German trade bodies back Angela Merkel’s tough stance over Brexit
Two of largest business associations say letting UK opt out of aspects of free movement could endanger EU. Two of the largest German trade associations have come out in support of Angela Merkel taking a firm stance during negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU, even if it comes at a short-term cost.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/13/german-trade-bodies-back-angela-merkels-tough-stance-over-brexitInfographic: Asian Maritime Crimes Down 65 Pct
The number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia from January to September 2016 decreased by 65%, compared to the same period in 2015, according to The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).A total of 59 incidents were reported during the period, including 3 piracy and 56 armed robbery incidents, ReCAAP said.
Infographic: World’s Container Shipping Alliances
The infographic below, published by Oslo-based benchmarking and market intelligence platform for containerized ocean freight Xeneta, shows current shipping alliances as well as upcoming alliance reorganizations.
As of 18 July 2016, the world’s shipping alliances include the 2M alliance (Maersk and MSC), the Ocean Three alliance (CMA CGM, UASC, COSCO Shipping), the G6 alliance (NYK Line, OOCL, APL, MOL, Hapag-Lloyd* and HMM) and the CKYHE alliance (K Line, COSCO, HANJIN, Evergreen, Yang Ming).
Drewry: Gradual Recovery Expected in Container Shipping
EU-Canada free trade deal at risk after Belgian regional parliament vote
U.K. Economy Plugs Along 100 Days Post-Brexit
|Hanjin Shipping secures $45 million, more may take ‘considerable time’
The chairman of Hanjin Group transferred 40 billion won ($36 million) to Hanjin Shipping on Tuesday to help unload cargo stranded on the troubled shipper’s vessels, a spokesman said, but regulators warned securing further funds could take “considerable time.”
South Korea says tough luck to Hanjin as shipping line sinks
The South Korean government, long a bastion of support for the country’s big conglomerates, is sticking to its hard-line stance on Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd (117930.KS), whose collapse is roiling global supply chains. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hanjin-shipping-debt-southkorea-idUSKCN11J0MO?il=0APM Terminals’ Los Angeles Pier Gets Ready for Mega-Ships
The first of ten ship-to-shore (STS) cranes at the APM Terminals Los Angeles Pier 400 facility was raised 33 feet, making it the tallest port crane in North America, ahead of regular Ultra-Large Container Vessel (ULCV) calls in the trans-Pacific trade lanes, according to the terminal operator.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a freshly negotiated EU-Canada treaty. Once applied, it will offer EU firms more and better business opportunities in Canada and support jobs in Europe.
TTIP has failed – but no one is admitting it, says German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel
Germany’s Vice-Chancellor said in 14 rounds of talks neither side had agreed on a single common chapter out of the 27 being deliberated.
The free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but “nobody is really admitting it”, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said.
Our new and improved Track and Trace system is in place.
We now offer Real Time Visibility
Please contact your Westar representative for personal log in information.
- Take control of your supply chain to achieve greater efficiencies with Westar’s extensive array of interactive track-and-trace functions via our SCOPE-Web-Tracking interface.
- The system, completely web-based, allows you to stay on top of your supply chain and, unlike many tracking systems that require the shipper to know the carrier’s B/L or AWB number, Scope allows queries by a variety of customer reference numbers such as the purchase order.
- Real-time status updates of your shipments, including ETD, ETA information, commercial invoice, customs clearance status and delivery timelines.
- Access to reporting and historical shipment data.
Commercial invoice and commercial document retrieval, order visibility, management and status.
Representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing met with the director general of China’s Inspection and Quarantine Ministry to gain more information about how shippers can comply with China’s requirement that shipments from the nation be mosquito-free.
BY CHRIS DUPIN |THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2016|American Shipper Magazine
U.S. officials have received more information about how U.S. shippers can comply with China’s requirement that shipments from the nation be mosquito-free.
The requirements, which have been in place for months for many other countries, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were extended earlier this month to apply to shipments from the 50 U.S. states by China’s Inspection and Quarantine Ministry in an attempt to prevent the Zika virus from spreading to China.
Both the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopicus, and the so-called yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, are vectors for the virus and are found in many parts of the U.S. Fourteen cases of mosquito-borne transmission of Zika have been identified in Florida and over 7,800 cases in Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A memorandum obtained by American Shipper from Mayra Caldera of the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that “following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) determination that the United States is a Zika-infected country, Chinese authorities now require mosquito disinsection for all U.S.-origin shipments to China.”
Disinsection is the process of making sure an aircraft or area is free of insects, and is a term not to be confused with disinfection.
In this case, Caldera said it means “killing live mosquitoes, their larva and eggs. Fumigation is one type of disinsection, but spraying appears to be the primary method of disinsection. While food and feed shipments appear to be exempted, the new requirement may still impose additional costs on U.S. agricultural exporters and potentially disrupt trade.”
Caldera said the FAS is “actively engaging with relevant Chinese ministries, U.S. government counterparts, and industry stakeholders to clarify the scope of the new requirements and minimize any potential trade disruptions.”
The memorandum highlighted these key points:
• USDA has confirmed the U.S. is on the WHO’s list of countries reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission;
• Since March 2016, China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has required all countries on its Zika-infected list comply with disinsection requirements;
• On Aug. 5, China’s AQSIQ added the U.S. to its list of countries infected by the Zika virus and announced that U.S. exporters are required to ensure all inbound containers/cargo to China are subjected to anti-mosquito treatment at the place of origin in order to avoid delay at Chinese ports of entry;
• The U.S. is still confirming the exact nature of the requirements and the scope of products that fall under AQSIQ’s measure;
• The USDA understands chilled/refrigerated products – containers chilled to 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) or colder – are not subject to the disinsection requirements unless live mosquito eggs are detected during inspection;
• USDA also understand that bulk feed and food products are not subject to the disinsection requirements unless live mosquitos are detected during inspection;
• USDA is reviewing WHO guidance and other relevant international agreements to determine the appropriate response to China’s measure;
• And the FAS Beijing is leading an inter-agency effort with U.S. Embassy representatives to collect more information about the requirements.
“We are pleased to see progress being made to gain clarity and find reasonable solutions towards disinsection of our members’ U.S. agriculture and forest products exports to China,” the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) said.
“Some solutions are apparent, and we continue to push for improvements, such as exemptions for cargo originating in areas of the United States where Zika is not present,” AgTC said, adding that it understands China will consider a regional approach for the U.S., but for now, everyone in the US must comply – including transshipments through another country if cargo originates in the U.S.
Summaries of the meeting were being circulated today, and AgTC said, “This new information addresses issues we’ve been raising with Chinese and U.S. authorities directly and indirectly.”
A source said they expect more extensive information to be available from the U.S. government in the coming days, but from what it has seen to date, AgTC said it believes notable takeaways are:
• Disinsection does not require fumigation and can be carried out by physical or chemical means. Physical means could include trapping, air curtains or other integrated pest management techniques; and chemical means could include surface spraying, space spraying or fumigation.
• No requirement for an official government stamp is needed on a certificate.
• Disinsection applies to the container/vessel and not the goods being shipped. If a vessel can provide certification that it is free of mosquitoes, then no additional inspection is required.
A document prepared by the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service said the regulation will apply to all shipments that departed from the U.S. on Aug. 5 or later.
The document also said if fumigation took place at the Chinese port of entry, the cost was estimated at $30 for a 20-foot container and $60 for a 40-foot container. However, it remains unclear how the many thousands of containers coming off ships could be accommodated, and also whether empty containers would have to be treated.
Even shipping lines seem to be unclear on how China is going accomplish its objective.
A letter from the U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese carrier MOL dated July 18 said it is “attempting to ascertain information regarding how and where the requirement will be enforced.”
However, the Department of Homeland Security waived the 100 percent scanning law for the third time, which was originally scheduled to be implemented four years ago in reaction to 9/11.
By Eric Kulisch |Thursday, August 18, 2016| American Shipper
International shippers and freight transportation providers can be forgiven for assuming that the 2007 U.S. congressional mandate to scan every inbound ocean container at a foreign port before loading on a ship had quietly died.
The Department of Homeland Security this spring used its right to waive the requirement for the third time and extend the inspection deadline another two years. Officials have consistently maintained that the law cannot be implemented because of logistical, technological, diplomatic, environmental, funding and other challenges associated with convincing foreign terminals and border authorities to set up non-intrusive imaging equipment and drive-through radiation detection machines in overseas ports to check every cargo box. Besides costing billions of dollars, such a security regime would dramatically slow cargo processing, increase costs, and disrupt trade, experts say.
The 100 percent scanning law, originally scheduled to be implemented four years ago, was passed in reaction to 9/11 and concerns that terrorists would use containers to smuggle nuclear weapons, radiological materials, explosives, or fighters themselves into the United States for an attack. The threat of smuggled radiological materials, or nuclear weapons, falling into the hands of terrorists is growing as ungoverned spaces and entrenched corruption in many regions of the world create terrorist safe havens, massive migration from parts of the Middle East overwhelms governments and their border controls, and Russia’s decision to halt most nuclear security cooperation with the United States leads to concerns about ongoing security of materials in that country, according to the National Nuclear Security Administration.
In the years following enactment of the scan-all law, many lawmakers softened their stance and appeared to accept the DHS position that implementing across-the-board container inspections was unrealistic given the millions of containers moving through U.S. ports each year.
But it’s an issue that won’t go away, to the chagrin of many in the business community.
A handful of vocal House Democrats are insisting that DHS follow through with implementing the comprehensive inspection mandate for ocean cargo, saying that department explanations for postponing action ring hollow.
At a July joint committee hearing, Rep. Janice Hahn, who represents the district where the Port of Long Beach is located, said she did not believe administration claims that technology doesn’t exist to efficiently run all inbound containers through X-ray and radiation detection machines.
“I believe there is technology that exists today that will keep us safe, but will not slow commerce down,” she said. “Our ports are some of our most vulnerable entry points in our country. Until we act on what Congress decided, I don’t think we’re going to have the safety and security that we need.”
Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for field operations for Customs and Border Protection, pushed back hard on Hahn’s assertion, stating there was no silver bullet at the moment.
“I have not seen a piece of X-ray technology that has yet to offer automatic anomaly detection. Every piece I’ve seen still requires intervention from an operator to identify where the anomalies are, and that takes time,” he said, adding that conducting mass inspections under the circumstances would increase congestion up and down the supply chain.
CBP only has 10 pieces of non-intrusive imaging equipment for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and couldn’t inspect thousands of containers per day, the former Los Angeles area field director said.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated it would cost $22 billion to outfit foreign ports with the necessary equipment, but that figure doesn’t include what it would cost the government if other nations insisted on reciprocal inspections for containers headed to their shores, Owen said.
“If we had to scan every container leaving the United States… there would be a detrimental impact on the throughput of our ports,” because the process remains so manual, he said.
“I just don’t buy that,” Hahn countered. As long as DHS continues to throw cold water on the concept, technology vendors are unlikely to invest in experimental new technologies that could better protect the homeland, she said.
Hahn introduced legislation two years ago that would allow two ports to receive federal funding for advanced inspection technology to demonstrate that implementation of 100 percent scanning of containers for dangerous material is possible.
Rep. Norma Torres, also of California, endorsed Hahn’s position and said, “It is alarming to me that we have continued to ask for extensions… I understand that there are technological challenges, but at some point we need you to deliver on what Congress asked you to do.” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said DHS’s implementation excuses are “simply unacceptable.”
While many lawmakers agree that inspecting all containers before vessel loading is not achievable, Congress has formally urged DHS and CBP to articulate plans to provide a similar level of security against nuclear weapons and other terrorist-related contraband.
CBP uses a risk-based strategy that depends on advance manifest data and other information from ocean carriers, plus advance importer filings with data about the origin, destination, and transport of the cargo, to make threat assessments about each shipment. The data is funneled through the agency’s Automated Targeting System, a mathematical model that uses weighted rules and algorithms to assign a risk score to shipments, and matched against intelligence databases. Imports handled by companies that belong to the voluntary Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program typically receive low scores because the firms have strong security processes in place that have been approved by CBP.
High-risk shipments are sequestered for non-intrusive exams. Most scans are conducted by CBP officers at U.S. ports, but through the Container Security Initiative some containers are inspected at 60 overseas ports where CBP has agreements to station personnel and collaborate with foreign counterparts to check cargo before it is loaded on a vessel.
According to Owen, CBP currently scans 3.7 percent of the roughly 11 million containers entering the United States each year. About 1 percent of that total, or 104,000 exams, are checked at overseas ports.
All containers pass through passive-detection radiation portal monitors as they are trucked to the exit gates or intermodal yards in a port.
The Government Accountability Office in recent years has faulted CBP for not thoroughly analyzing whether updates to its targeting rules actually improve effectiveness for identifying containers with “red flags,” and for not always examining high-risk shipments, but says that CBP has made policy changes to improve in those areas.
Customs does require 100 percent inspections in two narrow cases where container volumes are very limited, the threat is extremely high, the local government supports the effort to maintain trade with the United States, and there is dedicated space to locate equipment without hindering the flow of cargo.
Under the Secure Freight Initiative, all containerized cargo leaving Port Qasim in Pakistan is scanned by Pakistani Customs and local staff using U.S.-donated X-ray and radiation detection equipment. The images and radiation readings are transmitted to CBP’s National Targeting Center in Northern Virginia to determine if any boxes should be physically examined, and the entire operation is remotely monitored by CBP officers via live video feed to ensure no mistakes are made.
Only 65,000 containers came to the United States through Port Qasim in 2015.
In July, CBP began a similar inspection regime at the Port of Aqaba, Jordan, using trained and vetted foreign nationals.
One of the biggest drawbacks to 100 percent inspections, Owen noted, is that many major ports handle transshipment traffic (ship-to-ship or rail-to-ship). Cargo would have to be rehandled multiple times to get it on and off vehicles that could go through the inspection stations. And most wharves and railyards don’t have the space for inspection equipment and lines of traffic that would result.
DHS appears sensitive to the congressional mood. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the law is an unfunded mandate, but that he is exploring how to address Congress’ intent. Earlier this year, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office within DHS issued a request for information on how to increase the amount of U.S.-bound maritime cargo scanned overseas. DNDO is evaluating about 30 responses it received, and expects to hold meetings in September with successful respondents about testing those ideas, Acting Director Wayne Brasure said.
The scope of the RFI includes non-containerized maritime cargo too.
Companies engaged in international trade broadly support the DHS extension of the 100 percent scanning mandate, but in a June 20 letter to Johnson, more than 100 trade associations questioned how the RFI dovetails with the department’s risk-based strategy for supply chain security.
“We are concerned that DHS is seeking ‘quick wins’ without identifying what the ‘immediate payoffs’ should be or clarifying that such a recommendation should not impose a greater burden on the larger trade community,” the letter said.
It urged the administration to recommend to Congress that the scan-all law be repealed, so the department can work with industry and U.S. trading partners on a long-term, workable solution for plugging security gaps in ocean supply chains.
Next-Gen Scanner. DNDO is also pilot testing next-generation technologies that could be applied to comprehensive container inspection. One such effort is taking place at the Port of Boston in cooperation with the Massachusetts Port Authority and the United Kingdom’s Home Office.
A Boston-based company called Passport Systems, under a DNDO contract and supported by other grants, is erecting a fully enclosed structure on the Conley Terminal designed to automatically detect fissionable radioactive material in cargo containers, even if it is shielded, as well as explosives and other contraband. Trucks will pull into the scanner and the driver will get out of the vehicle while machine takes a 30- to 40-second scan. If the system detects something suspicious, the sled on which the vehicle rests will back up, another scan will be taken, and Customs inspectors will be notified.
Early next year, DNDO will begin testing the system for about six months and then turn it over to CBP for a one-year demonstration under real-world operating conditions, Steve Korbly, Passport Systems’ vice president of research and development, said in a mid-July presentation to a port industry security seminar outside Washington, D.C.
The Passport machine is different because it builds a 3-D map of the cargo container by both density and atomic number, almost like a computed tomography (CT) scan used at airports to inspect checked baggage. It fuses high resolution imaging (using a top-down X-ray beam instead of the typical side beam), a passive radiation detector, and isotope-identification technology. The system can determine if the fission readouts match commodities on the manifest or radiological material that can be weaponized.
The system can interrogate a particular region of the container to determine the elemental fingerprint of a material. That ability allows inspectors to get more information up front, and minimizes the need to manually strip the container, Korbly said.
As currently configured, the system has a throughput of about 20 containers per hour—similar to existing vehicle inspection systems on the market. At that rate, it would be difficult to use for 100 percent inspections, Korbly said, but using automated guided vehicles for moving containers around, as is being done at the Port of Long Beach’s modernized Long Beach Container Terminal, would eliminate the need for drivers to exit and enter tractors, and allow the process to move four to five times faster. The system would also work faster if it is only searching for fissionable or nuclear material.
“If looking for every type of contraband under the sun, then it’s going to slow everything down,” he said.
During the hearing, Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, said, “I think what DHS will do is try to get the perfect solution, which will take them a decade and take billions of dollars. And they’ll try to find everything from weapons to cocaine and weapons of mass destruction, instead of narrowing it down to WMD, which is what I think they should focus on.”
Chinese authorities have said that containers from certain countries shall be subject to effective anti-mosquito treatment in order to prevent the virus from spreading, which has left many shippers concerned.
By Chris Dupin |American Shipper| American Shiper Magazine|Wednesday, August 10, 2016
U.S. shippers are expressing concern and confusion about a Chinese regulation calling for treatment of containers or fumigation in order to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
Ocean carrier Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) issued a trade advisory to customers Wednesday noting that Chinese authorities have said, “In order to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, containers from all the involved countries shall be subject to effective anti-mosquito treatment.”
MSC’s notice continued, “With immediate effect, it means that there is a need to provide a certificate of extermination of mosquito. If no certificate is provided, the buyer must fumigate the cargo at arrival at the port of destination.”
An APL announcement indicated that as far back as March, the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ) was requiring vessels and containers from selected countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Oceania with reported Zika virus transmissions “to present a mosquito eradication certificate (issued prior to departure from affected countries) upon arrival in China ports; otherwise the vessels/containers will be instructed to perform eradication measures under the supervision of the local CIQ.”
The UK Protection and Indemnity Club also has a notice from China posted on its web sites for cargo arriving from other countries that it said took effect March 2 and from South Korea that it says was issued on January 29.
What’s new, apparently is that the 50 states of the United States are now being affected, even though only a small number of mosquito-transmitted cases of Zika have been discovered in one Miami neighborhood.
“This is blowing up the entire export supply chain. First SOLAS VGM, now Zika. Bad for exporters, terminals and carriers. Lots of confusion,” said Peter Friedmann, counsel for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC).
Top executives from several carriers and the World Shipping Council said they were trying to get clarification on what the announcement means.
Obtaining certificates for all containers exported from the U.S. to China, let alone fumigating them would be a monumental task. A report posted on the website of the Maritime Administration, U.S. Waterborne Foreign Container Trade by Trading Partners, indicates that in 2013, over 3 million TEUs of containers were exported from the U.S. to China.
A copy of the notice of the policy being circulated by AgTC that is dated from March was in Chinese, but a “Google Translate” version indicated that under the regulation “vehicles and containers from the countries and regions would be subject to effective anti-mosquito treatment” and that port authorities in China are being told to “adopt effective anti-mosquito measures to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, reducing the mosquito density of the port. Inspection and quarantine authorities shall strengthen port health supervision, to prevent the spread of mosquitoes in the port, Zika virus and other infectious diseases.”
It is not clear what proper treatment of containers would involve or if empty containers would be exempt from the rule.
There are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world; currently 176 species are recognized in the United States, according to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA)
Joe Conlon, a technical advisor for the AMCA, said he was not aware of any “certificate of extermination of mosquito” in the U.S. where abatement is usually done by county governments. He was not aware of any local mosquito control commissions inspecting export shipments in the past, though he could not categorically say it has never been done.
“It’s not necessarily a bad idea to make sure we are not shipping mosquitos from here or that China is shipping mosquitoes here,” he said. The U.S. has several invasive mosquito species including Aedes albopicus, commonly called the Asian tiger mosquito, and Aedes japonicas, Conlon said. They are believed to have arrived in used tire shipments from the Far East.
“There should be a push, if there is not now, to have disinfection stepped up considerably as the world gets smaller with trade and tourism,” he suggested.
Of the many types of mosquitoes present in the U.S., only two species are known to be vectors for the Zika Virus, the above-mentioned Aedes albopicus, along with the Aedes aegypti, the so-called yellow fever mosquito. Both species commonly lay their eggs in tree holes just above the waterline so that when it rains, the eggs are inundated, hatch and larvae emerge. These types of mosquitoes can be attracted to areas with very small amounts of water.
It is not clear if containers from any location in the U.S. would have to be treated, and if treated, if both the inside and outside of the container would have to be fumigated.
While both species of mosquitoes are fairly widespread in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control indicates that to date, only six cases of the Zika Virus are known to have been transmitted by mosquitos in the 50 U.S. states, and all six were in a single neighborhood in Florida. However, there have been 5,460 locally acquired cases in Puerto Rico, dozens in the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa, and over 1,800 travel associated cases.
AgTC said among the questions it wants answered are:
• What will the cost be?
• Who will absorb the cost?
• Will it make US goods uncompetitive?
• What happens to goods that are currently on the water in transit to China?
• Can high volume cargo even fumigate at the scale they operate at?
• Which fumigants are acceptable? Methyl bromide? Phostoxin?
• Which fumigants can work with food-grade products?
• Is it better to fumigate in the US or upon arrival in China?
• Which certification parties are acceptable?
• How much time will it add to the supply chain?
SOLAS/VGM filing is mandatory and effective for all vessels that sail on/after July 1, 2016. If you have questions or concerns on how to file your VGM, please feel free to ask your Westar representative.
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