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US Maritime Alliance & ILA Labor Negotiations

Statement by FMCS Director George H. Cohen on United States Maritime Alliance and International Longshoremen’s Association Labor Negotiations

WASHINGTON, D.C.– I am pleased to announce that at the close of today’s productive negotiation session, in which progress was made on several important subjects, the parties have agreed to extend the collective bargaining agreement due to expire on September 30, 2012 for a ninety (90) day period, i.e. through December 29, 2012. In taking this significant step, the parties emphasized that they are doing so “for the good of the country” to avoid any interruption in interstate commerce.

This extension will provide the parties an opportunity to focus on the outstanding core issues in a deliberate manner apart from the pressure of an immediate deadline. The negotiations on the Master Agreement will be conducted during the deadline. The negotiations on the Master Agreement will be conducted during the same time frame as negotiations for local agreements. The negotiations will continue under the auspices of the FMCS. Due to the sensitive nature of these high profile negotiations, we will have no further comment on the schedule for the negotiations, their location, or the substance of what takes place during those negotiations.




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New Seal Standards

Please be advised that effective March 1, 2012, the current International Organization for Standardization (ISO) mechanical seal standard (ISO/PAS 17712) will be replaced with a new ISO standard–ISO 17712:2010.  C-TPAT understands that seals are costly, and companies are not expected to discard seals currently in stock.  However, after companies have exhausted their current stock of high security seals, we recommend that they purchase seals which are compliant with the new ISO 17712:2010 standard.

The new standard compliance requirements:

  • Testing to determine a seal’s classification for physical strength (as a barrier of entry).
  • Process auditing of the manufacturer’s security-related business practices.
  • Testing (pass/fail) of a seals ability to indicate evidence of tampering.
  • A new 18mm minimum width diameter for bolt seals.

Benefits of the new seal standards include:

  • Reduced possibility of cargo theft or tampering.
  • Reduced possibility of unauthorized material being inserted into containers or other instruments of international traffic (IIT).
  • Reducing shipping delays that result when seals are missing or broken.
  • When inspecting seals for signs of tampering, tamper-evident seals should allow personnel, with the appropriate training, to detect compromised seals easier.

When C-TPAT companies transition to the new ISO 17712:2010 compliant seals, they should request documentation (lab reports) to confirm that the purchased seals comply with the new standard.

For more information, please visit the World Customs Organization (WCO) website at

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The implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 took effect August 2010. Cargo handled on passenger flights as of Aug. 1, 2010 is screened at a level of security commensurate with checked baggage.  The law does apply to both inbound and outbound international passenger cargo.        For more information click here.

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Effective October 15, 2010, Ocean Carriers will require the HS Code (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) on all BL instructions to the 6th digit at the individual piece count/weight level in addition to the plain language commodity description****

If parties to the shipment have an EORI number, that information should be added to the BL instruction as well.

The European Union (EU) has promulgated new advance cargo security rules that are scheduled to take effect for all vessel voyages that begin after midnight December 31, 2010. These rules establish for containerized shipments a European “24 Hour Rule” similar to those established in other jurisdictions, e.g., the U.S., Canada and the People’s Republic of China.

The European 24 Hour Rule requires that the ocean carrier file with the relevant national Customs authority in the EU an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) for all shipments that will be carried on a vessel that will call one or more ports in the EU.

The EU rules require that the ENS must be filed no later than 24 hours before commencement of vessel loading in each foreign (i.e., non-EU) port on the vessel schedule.

An ENS is required irrespective of the final destination of each individual shipment on a vessel arriving in the EU. This means that an ENS is required for shipments:

• Imported into the EU
• Discharged in an EU port for transit by rail or truck to a non-EU destination
• Transshipped in an EU port for loading on to another vessel for carriage to a non-EU destination
• Remaining on board the vessel (FROB) during ports of call in the EU with a destination outside the EU.

The EU rules prescribe the data elements that must be included in the ENS. An incomplete ENS will be rejected by the Customs authorities. A shipment for which an ENS has not been filed and accepted by Customs may not be loaded. In other words — the EU 24 Hour Rule applies a “no documentation – no load” requirement. Penalties and delay of the vessel and shipments carried may result in case of breach of this requirement. Independent Container Line, Ltd. (ICL) will apply this “no documentation- no load” requirement.

The data elements required to be included in the ENS will need to be taken from the ocean carrier’s Bill of Lading. We issue our bills of lading on the basis of information provided at the time of booking and completed by the shipping instructions/master bills of lading as received from each of our shipper customers.

If we do not get these shipping instructions well ahead of the time when we must lodge the ENS, we will be unable to file a complete ENS for the shipment. The latest time that we must receive the shipping instructions so that we may file a complete ENS on time is called the documentation cut-off.

The data elements we will need to receive by the documentation cut-off for inclusion in the ENS are:

§ Consignor (EORI number where available)
§ Consignee (EORI number where available)
§ Notify Party (mandatory for “To Order” B/L)
§ 6 digit HS code
§ Code for the type of packages
§ Number of packages
§ Shipping marks for packaged goods (not necessary for containerized goods)
§ Container number
§ Seal number
§ Gross mass (in kilograms)
§ UN code for dangerous goods
§ Transport charges method of payment code (e.g. payment in cash, payment by credit card, payment by check, electronic credit transfer, account holder with carrier, not pre-paid).

We will not accept a plain language cargo description instead of HS codes. Several EU Member States have stated that they will not accept cargo descriptions in English but will require that cargo descriptions be translated into their national languages, thus imposing an additional reporting burden on ocean carriers and their shipper customers. Use of the HS codes will address this issue. Also, although the EU rules – currently, at least – only require 4 digit HS codes, 4 digit HS codes are rather general and may lead Customs authorities to make enquiries about the nature of the goods, perhaps putting a hold on the shipment pending receipt of more details about the goods which could delay your shipment unnecessarily.

The Customs authorities will use the 24 hour “window” between filing of the ENS and commencement of vessel loading operations to risk assess the shipment. If this risk assessment results in Customs issuing a “Do Not Load” request, we will inform the shipper customer concerned and, in cooperation with the customer, try to address Customs’ concerns so that the container may still be loaded on to the scheduled vessel. However, the individual EU Member States are entitled to establish their own conditions for whether, and on what basis, to lift a “Do Not Load” request, so our shipper customers should expect delays in the loading of containers subject to “Do Not Load” messages.

The most efficient way to reduce the likelihood of European Customs authorities issuing “Do Not Load” requests is to ensure that the shipping instructions are complete and accurate and provided at the latest by our documentation cut-off.


More information about the EU’s new advance cargo security rules can be obtained from the European Commission’s website:

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On January 26th, 2009, the rules governing international commerce will change drastically. On this date the Importer Security Filing (ISF) initiative known as “10 2” will go into effect. This rule was issued to fulfill the SAFE Port Act’s mandate to increase the security of cargo entering The United States by vessel. It allows U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) to assess the risk of all cargo before it enters the territory of The United States. This shift in policy may affect the timely delivery of your ocean cargo.

The new ruling requires that ten (10) data elements and two (2) carrier elements (hence, “10 2”) be filed 24 hours PRIOR TO CARGO BEING LADEN ON A VESSEL DESTINED FOR THE U.S.

The 10 non-carrier data elements are as follows:

1. Manufacturer or supplier’s name and address

2. Seller’s name and address

3. Buyer’s name and address

4. Ship-to-party’s name and address

5. Container Stuffing Location (Name and address of the physical location where the goods were stuffed into the container.)

6. Consolidator (Name and address of the party who stuffed the container or arranged for the stuffing of the container.)

7. Importer of Record Identification Number (IRS, EIN, SSN or other CBP assigned number for the importer of record.)

8. Consignee’s Identification Number (IRS, EIN, SSN or other CBP assigned number for the firm on whose account the merchandise is shipped.)

9. Country of Origin (Country of manufacture, production or growth of the article based upon the import laws of the U.S.)

10. Harmonized Tariff Schedule Number (Specific classification code that identifies the particular commodity being shipped to CBP.

It is important to note that CBP has deemed it the responsibility of the Importer to file this information or designate an agent to do so on their behalf. We at Westar International are dedicated to partnering with our clients to assist in the procedural changes necessary to comply with the new regulations and are prepared to make the required ISF filings on your behalf as a service to you.

We welcome the opportunity to guide you through the upcoming changes and are here to offer our assistance in ensuring that your shipping needs are met and that your valuable freight is secure and delivered on time…every time.

For more information regarding the new Customs & Border Protection security initiative “10 2” please visit or contact Westar International directly at 1-800-577-4910.

We look forward to working with you and as always, thank you for your business!

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