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News August 2016

G6 Alliance Fuses Asia – North America West Coast Services
Container carriers within the G6 Alliance are reshuffling their Asia–North America West Coast loops to adjust to market demand.As the G6 Alliance continues to review its product profiles, the Central China 1 (CC1) and CC2 will be merged into a combined service until further notice.

TTIP: European Commission attempts to resurrect deal as countries go cold on plan
Jean-Claude Junker calls for all 28 member states to reconfirm their commitment to controversial agreement
The European Commission is attempting to rebuild support for its controversial TTIP trade deal with America – amid concern countries across the continent are going cold on the plan.

Brexit Vote Clouds EU-U.S. Trade Deal
European diplomats say U.K.’s decision adds to hurdles to far-reaching accord
BRUSSELS—Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has cast into further doubt the future of a far-reaching trade deal between the EU and the U.S.The world’s two biggest economic blocs have been negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, since 2013, and still say they hope to conclude negotiations before the end of the Obama administration in January. But with the loss of one of the bloc’s strongest trade advocates that has often been a counterweight to more-protectionist EU countries, EU diplomats say the deal’s prospects are now more uncertain than ever.

Will the US use a quick trade deal with Brexit Britain as an EU TTIP Trojan horse?
American officials may be looking to sign a quick and easy trade deal with the UK following last month’s Brexit vote in an attempt to breathe life into the stalled TTIP agreement between the US and EU.

First U.S. LNG shipment to cross expanded Panama Canal next week
The United States will ship its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo through an expanded Panama Canal next week. The waterway shaves distances between export plants dotted along the Gulf of Mexico and Asia to 9,000 miles from 16,000, allowing U.S. producers to better compete in one of the world’s biggest gas consuming markets.

Containership damaged transiting expanded Panama Canal
The 8,530-TEU CSCL container vessel Xin Fei Zhou scraped its side against the wall of one of the recently inaugurated locks of the important Central American waterway, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said Friday the incident was under investigation but that it had not caused any interruptions or delays in canal operations.
It is the first such incident to take place since the June opening of the canal’s widened third lane, but some analysts have warned that it could be a recurring issue.

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News June 2016

container failurePLEASE NOTE:

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.

Fore more information click below:

OCEMA (Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association)

WSC (World Shipping Council)

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News May 2016

CEvergreenontainer carriers unveil plans for new “OCEAN Alliance”

Ocean carriers CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen Line and OOCL revealed they will form a new alliance next April.

Ocean carriers CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new carrier agreement they are calling the “OCEAN Alliance.”
The carriers said the alliance will enable each of them “to offer competitive products and comprehensive service networks covering the Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle East, Trans-Pacific, Asia-North America East Coast and Trans-Atlantic trades.”
“This new partnership will allow each of its members to bring significantly improved services to its respective customers,” member carriers said in similar statement. “Shippers will have an attractive selection of frequent departures and direct calls to meet their supply chain needs, including access to a vast network with the largest number of sailings and port rotations connecting markets in Asia, Europe and the United States.”
“The Alliance will also bring service reliability and the most efficient integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of over 350 containerships. Initially the deployment will cover more than 40 services globally mostly connected with Asia, including about 20 services each in the U.S. and Europe related trades.”
Subject to regulatory approvals of competent authorities, the new Alliance said it plans to begin operations in April 2017 and that the initial period of the agreement would be five years.
U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner William P. Doyle made the following announcement: “I appreciate CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen and OOCL officials visiting the Federal Maritime Commission yesterday to discuss their future plans of an alignment. I look forward to reviewing and studying their formal filing of a vessel sharing alliance once it is is filed with the Commission.”
COSCO, which recently merged operations with rival China Shipping said, “Today is a great day for COSCO Container Lines. OCEAN Alliance is a better match for our globalization strategy. We will provide customers with more selections and improved service world-wide.”
CMA CGM is also in the process of acquiring APL.
The combined carriers would be a strong rival to the 2M alliance between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co., the two largest container carriers.
According to figures on Alphaliner’s Top 100 carrier website, the OCEAN Alliance carriers (including APL) currently own and charter 1,113 ships (444 owned, 669 chartered), which combined, have 5,381,333 TEUs of capacity. In addition, the carriers have 102 ships on order with a combined capacity of 1,305,682 TEUs. Of course, only a portion of those fleets will be involved in the new Alliance, with some ships deployed in trades not covered by the deal, and carriers may change their fleets as a result of the restructuring.
In contrast, 2M Alliance members, Maersk and MSC, have 1,085 ships (457 owned, 628 chartered), which combined, have 5,707,535 TEUs of capacity. In addition, Maersk and MSC have 67 ships on order with a combined capacity of 908,000 TEUs. American Shipper 4/20/16

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Why Cargo Insurance?

“Why do I need cargo insurance?”
The short answer is:
“Because you’re a shipper.”

If that isn’t enough for you, keep reading…

Cargo insuranse reduces shippers’ exposure to financial loss. Yet, so many shippers choose to risk importing and exporting goods without getting cargo insurance. Unfortunately, many shippers have suffered great loss for taking this risk. Below are six reasons shippers should get cargo insurance. Some of the reasons are dangers that can cause loss or damage to cargo, but the list actually goes well beyond that.

Cargo theft, especially through identity theft and fictitious pickups, is on the rise. We’re not even counting piracy, which is a major risk of cargo theft and loss in modern international shipping.

Every year, containers are lost to sea. With the trend to megaships, carrying huge stacks of shipping containers across the oceans, cargo containers overboard have actually increased.
The World Shipping Council conducts surveys to find out approximately how many shipping containers are lost to sea in a year. Their 2014 update reveals a very significant rise in cargo containers lost to sea from their 2011 survey. The survey of the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 estimates that there were approximately 733 containers lost at sea on average for each of these three years, not counting catastrophic events. That number of approximately 733 shipping containers lost at sea during the 2011-2013 period is more than double the number of containers lost at sea for the previous period of 2008-2010.

Storms, shipwrecks, explosions, pirate attacks… which have caused the loss of many shipping containers. In one event, an entire shipload or more of cargo containers can be lost.
The World Shipping Council defines a catastrophic loss “as a loss overboard of 50 or more containers in a single incident.”
When one includes catastrophic losses (as defined above) during these years, the average annual loss for [the years 2011, 2012 and 2013] was approximately 2,683 containers.
Catastrophic events like the Tianjin explosions in China’s port city or container ships taken by pirates wouldn’t even likely be included in the totals above because, while very large numbers of shipping containers of goods are lost, the cargo containers are not necessarily lost overboard to sea.

As common as cargo theft or loss has become, even more common is cargo damage. Bad stowage and shore error are the largest contributors to damaged cargo.

You may be required to post a bond and/or cash deposit in order to obtain release of your cargo following a general average – even though there was no loss or damage to your goods.
By purchasing insurance, your insurance company assumes the responsibility and expedites the release of your cargo in these instances. General Average is an internationally accepted principle where if certain types of accidents occur to the vessel, all parties share in the loss equally. You definitely do not want to find yourself in a General Average situation without insurance.

Carriers, by law, are not responsible for many common causes of loss that occur in transit (for example, acts of God, General Average, etc.).
Even when carriers are liable, carriers’ liability in the event of a loss is limited – either by contract in the bill of lading or by law. In most cases, shippers will only recover cents on the dollar from the carrier. Shippers should never count on the carrier that is shipping their goods to cover losses or damage that may occur over the course of a container ship voyage.



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News Flash April 2016

container failureShippers petition U.S. for relief from container weight rule

House lawmakers brushed aside calls at a hearing to slow implementation of the Verified Gross Mass rule, while other shippers said compliance should be straightforward.
Groups representing U.S. agricultural exporters and large freight consolidators at a congressional hearing Thursday insisted on federal intervention if ocean carriers refuse to compromise in implementing a pending international requirement for shippers to declare the weight of tendered containers before they are loaded on the ship, and attest to their accuracy, to prevent maritime accidents.But lawmakers indicated that they were not inclined to take any action.
“I don’t think this is a congressional issue. There’s not going to be legislation,” Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure subcommittee on Coast Guard and maritime transportation, said. “ I think this is a deal that needs to be worked out between the shippers and the cargo owners.”American Shipper 4/15

NYK rep reiterates no VGM, no load

NYK’s Bill Ferguson told the Critical Commodities Conference this week that carriers must refuse loading to a container without Verified Gross Mass data submitted or risk insurance issues.
A representative of the ocean carrier NYK Line this week told a conference in New Orleans that if the verified gross mass data is not submitted for a container, the carrier will not load that container when it arrives at a U.S. port.
Bill Ferguson, vice president, security services and environmental affairs for NYK Line (North America) reiterated a stance made by carriers in recent weeks as enforcement of the International Maritime Organization’s Verified Gross Mass (VGM) guidelines become clearer.
Speaking at the Critical Commodities Conference in New Orleans, Ferguson said it was likely that carriers would establish a so-called VGM cutoff one hour before existing cargo cutoff times. The VGM cutoff time would be related to shippers (who are responsible for calculating the verified weight) at the time of booking confirmation.
Ferguson did, however, say that the VGM cutoffs wouldn’t be absolute. Just as carrier work with shippers when containers don’t meet cutoffs to ensure a box is loaded, the same spirit is likely to occur with the VGM data sub

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News April 2016

heavy FCLSOLAS container weight rule to be discussed at Congressional hearing
The House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hear testimony on April 14 about the International Maritime Organization’s controversial verified gross mass requirement, which goes into effect July 1.

FONASBA: Numerous Countries Unprepared for Container Weighing
There has been no guidance issued on the practical application of the measures regarding the implementation of the amendments to SOLAS VI.2 on container weighing in eighteen countries, a survey from FONASBA, an organization representing the global ship agency and ship broking professions shows.

Global Logistics—March 2016
What Keeps Supply Chain and Risk Managers Up at Night?
Every type of business risk has an impact on the supply chain. And when risk becomes reality, risk managers and supply chain managers work in tandem to keep goods and materials flowing.

West Coast ports soon will prove their mega-ship readiness
By all accounts, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach met the challenge of efficiently handling the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin when the 18,000-TEU ship, the largest ever to serve a U.S. port, came calling. In its initial visit in Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday, the port flipped the mega-ship in 56 hours, handling 11,200 container moves and averaging nearly 30 lifts per crane, per hour. The Benjamin Franklin returned in February, calling at the PCT terminal in Long Beach, with equally positive results.

Report: European airfreight carriers eye U.S. routes
European all-cargo operators Cargologicair and SW Italia have filed applications to launch routes to the United States, according to a report from industry news outlet The Loadstar.

Shipping industry faces risks from cybercrime and mega-ship salvage
Safety and shipping review identifies developments that will be causing sector headaches for years to come.

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Newsflash March 201

Ocean carrier group outlines VGM best practices

The OCEMA working group published recommendations for how and when shippers should submit SOLAS container weight verification data ahead of the July 1 implementation deadline.

A group of 18 ocean carriers on Monday outlined what they consider best practices for shippers to submit container weight verification data to comply with a forthcoming amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.
The SOLAS amendment requires that shippers certify the verified gross mass (VGM) of loaded cargo containers to carriers prior to them arriving at container terminals, and is due to come into force July 1, 2016.
The VGM requirement has been decried by beneficial cargo owners as onerous on U.S. exporters, and shippers and forwarders have also bemoaned a lack of clarity regarding implementation and enforcement of the rule.
The 18 carriers, under the auspices of the long-running Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), have been meeting for five months to provide clarity surrounding how and when the container weight verification data should be submitted.
On Monday, OCEMA released a set of recommendations and a process map to help shippers understand how VGM data should be submitted. Though the suggestions are not binding in and of themselves, OCEMA said in no uncertain terms that carriers would not load cargo without the VGM being submitted in the prescribed timeframe.
“Similar to the concept of ‘no docs/no load’ that is already in place, if the ocean carrier does not receive VGM prior to the VGM cutoff time, the container cannot be loaded aboard the vessel,” OCEMA said. “Instead, it will be sidelined until the next available sailing by which time the shipper must have made arrangements for the provision of VGM. The treatment of any costs or other circumstances arising out of a shipper’s failure to timely provide VGM will be a matter for individual ocean carriers to determine in accordance with their applicable tariffs and service contracts.”
According to the recommendations, the VGM can be submitted either electronically as an electronic interchange data message (an EDI message called VERMAS with a code of 304 has been established for VGM), via electronic ocean freight portals such as INTTRA, GT Nexus, and CargoSmart, or via the carrier’s own electronic portal.
“(For electronic bookings) when the receiving cutoff time is determined to be at the close of the business day, VGM cutoff will be at noon of that day,” OCEMA said. “Regardless of the receiving cutoff time, the carrier will advise the shipper of VGM cutoff at time of booking. For VGM submitted through alternative methods, VGM cutoff will be determined by the ocean carrier, but will typically be earlier than for electronic submissions to allow time for processing.”
OCEMA specified that electronic submission of VGM is “preferred and will expedite transmission of data,” noting that “some carriers may only accept VGM in electronic form.”
As for how export shippers go about verifying the weight of the container, OCEMA sought to bring clarity surrounding one of the two methods the VGM rule allows. The so-called calculation method stipulates that shippers or forwarders total the weight of all cargo and packing materials inside the container and add the tare weight of the container. Export shippers have argued they shouldn’t be held responsible for verifying the weight of equipment they don’t own or maintain.
“It is acceptable for shippers to rely upon the tare weight being made available by the ocean carrier,” OCEMA said. “The shipper would not be certifying the accuracy of the container tare weight printed on the container.”
OCEMA’s recommendations have been eagerly awaited by an industry seeking some sort of direction as to how to proceed with the IMO requirements. The process has been even more fraught in recent weeks as the countdown to the deadline approaches and the U.S. Coast Guard stated it would not police shippers regarding VGM submission. That has left the responsibility to enforce the IMO guidelines in the hands of ocean carriers. The USCG has said it can only regulate U.S. flagged vessels, and that submission of VGM was a commercial matter between shippers and carriers.
“The new rules will require all industry participants to make some changes, but the OCEMA Best Practice is intended to make the process as painless as possible for all stakeholders,” said Robert Cannizzaro, vice president of marine and terminal operations, Hamburg Süd, who chaired OCEMA’s VGM special working group.
The working group OCEMA conferred with industry stakeholders on various technical aspects of the best practice in recent months. Awareness of the rule seemed to intensify in December, when INTTRA released results of study suggesting a significant lack of preparedness for the VGM rule.
Two weeks ago, INTTRA released a new eVGM product aimed at helping shippers and forwarders submit the data to carriers in both parties’ preferred formats. Other technology companies, such as CargoSmart, have suggested they are ready to proceed with an electronic submission product once the variables surrounding the matter have been further clarified by the industry.
“Industry stakeholders have raised questions and asked for clarification of the VGM rules,” said Frank Grossi, chairman of OCEMA and executive vice president of COSCO Container Lines America. “OCEMA aims to address these questions with practical, common sense guidance.”
What is not up for debate, OCEMA asserted in the recommendations, is that VGMs must be submitted for a container to be loaded onto a ship.
“Carriers are faced with a clear legal obligation not to load a container aboard their vessels without the VGM as defined under the IMO rule,” said OCEMA Executive Director Jeff Lawrence.
“That said, OCEMA and its special working group want to do so with as little disruption to existing processes as possible,” he added. “We have 100 days until the rule goes into effect so we need to work together. The Best Practice will help the U.S. export industry and service providers reach the goal of efficient implementation of this important safety initiative.”
OCEMA’s best practices largely relate to how export boxes will be handled at U.S. ports for outbound sailings, but questions still linger about how the VGM rule will be implemented and enforced in foreign nations.
Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation, said “there are still a lot of questions about how the VGM will be implemented and enforced around the globe. U.S. importers are still waiting for information from their carriers on how this will be achieved at foreign ports.
“With less than four months until the July 1 implementation deadline, these questions need to be addressed so importers and their partners can make sure they are able to comply,” said Gold.
OCEMA members include APL, ACL, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, China Shipping, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co., MOL, NYK Line, OOCL, UASC, Yang Ming, and ZIM.

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News March 2016

Congress Enacts First Major Customs Bill in over 20 Years
International Trade Update
President Obama signed the bipartisan Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTE) on February 24. This is the first major customs legislation enacted since the Customs Modernization Act, Title VI of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182 (1993). The TFTE focuses on facilitating legitimate trade and enforcing existing trade laws, such as those relating to intellectual property and trade remedies. More…

NEWS FLASH: USCG tells shippers not to expect delays to SOLAS container weight regulations
United States Coast Guard officials made it clear at a Federal Maritime Commission hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C. the shipping industry will have to comply with International Maritime Organization verified gross mass requirements on July 1.

Fitch warns weight regulations can raise US ports’ congestion
Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings warned that the new container weighing regulations set to take effect on July 1, 2016 are generating uncertainty at US ports and can raise congestion. More…

Carriers respond to European Commission’s pricing concerns
Fifteen of the biggest shipping lines have offered to reform the way they announce price changes more…

More on ACE…
ACE Mandatory Use Dates (What are the ACE Mandatory Use dates?)
CBP is working to complete and deploy core trade processing capabilities in ACE by December 2016, a timeline supported by the White House Executive Order issued on February 19, 2014. As part of this transition, several mandatory dates have been established requiring trade users to file electronic data to ACE in lieu of legacy systems. More…

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News January 2016

ZIM delays IPO and its CEO resigns
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. has announced that Rafi Danieli is resigning from his role as CEO. The announcement comes three days after an Israeli newspaper claimed that the carrier delayed an initial public offering (IPO) on Wall Street reportedly planned for the first half of 2016. More

Manufacturers Group Backs Trans-Pacific Partnership
The endorsement is a major one for the 12-nation trade pact that must be approved by Congress. More…

CBP Chicago Finds Destructive Medfly in Air Cargo Shipment
CHICAGO—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agriculture Specialists conducting cargo inspections at the O’Hare International Airport recently discovered an infestation of Mediterranean fruit fly larvae (Ceratitis capitata) in three shipments of bell peppers from Spain. More…

Mixed fortunes for top US west coast container ports in 2015
The Port of Los Angeles recorded a 2.1% drop in container throughput last year to just under 8.2m teu, in contrast to neighbouring Long Beach, which handled almost 7.2m teu, a jump of 5.4%. More…

ACE and Automated Systems
CBP automated systems electronically support the facilitation of importing and exporting goods. By the end of 2016, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will become the Single Window – the primary system through which the trade community will report imports and exports and the government will determine admissibility. More…

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Happy Holidays

Westar Xmas 2015

We wish you Peace, Joy and Prosperity throughout the coming year.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership.
We look forward to working with you in the years to come.

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