Category Archives: Washington Newsline

Gemini Shippers joins coalition seeking suspension of detention and demurrage charges

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Gemini News, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Gemini Shippers Group joined almost 50 associations in a letter to the Federal Maritime Commission seeking relief from Demurrage and Detention changes in the wake on continuous operational challenges in Americas largest ports. A copy of the complete letter can be downloaded here: Coalition Letter to FMC 11.16

November 16, 2020

Chairman Michael Khouri & Commissioners
Federal Maritime Commission
800 North Capitol Street, N.W
Washington, D.C. 20573


Honorable Commissioners:

On behalf of the undersigned trade associations representing importers, exporters,
and their supply-chain partners, we respectfully ask you to explore all available
powers and authority to immediately suspend detention and demurrage charges,
which are being unfairly and unreasonably assessed in the Ports of Los Angeles and
Long Beach, as well as the Port of New York & New Jersey by ocean carriers and
marine terminals. Collectively, our members have paid well over $150 million in
unreasonable detention and demurrage charges this year in the twin Southern
California ports and the port of New York & New Jersey due to the massive
congestion created by record setting volumes, coupled with a shortage of both
skilled labor and available chassis. We believe the assessment of detention and
demurrage in this situation goes against the heart of the Interpretive Rule on
Demurrage and Detention which the Commission issued last year.
In Southern California, the “Pool of Pools” chassis agreement has been massively
oversubscribed, leading to the biggest chassis shortage in the history of the San
Pedro Bay port complex. Despite efforts by the shipping and trucking industry to
promote more dual-transactions to allow chassis to be recycled during the pick-up
and drop-off of containers, the ocean carriers have refused to provide advanced
notification of empty receiving locations to allow truckers and marine terminals to
partner on increasing dual-transactions throughout the port complex. In a letter
sent to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, dated August 25, 2020, a similar
coalition of 40 organizations requested ocean carriers to provide at least 48 hours
advanced notice of empty receiving locations and for marine terminals to guarantee
those appointments. Thus far, no ocean carrier has been willing to provide truckers
and shippers with the data necessary to mitigate the challenges in the San Pedro
Bay. Subsequent one on one meetings between coalition members and ocean
carriers yielded no tangible results and a refusal to help solve these issues.
Chassis shortages have also reached critical mass at the Port of NY/NJ, where dwell
times have nearly tripled in recent weeks. Restrictions on empty returns imposed by
ocean carrier alliances further exacerbate the problem, with containers redirected
at the whim of steamship lines, resulting in additional truck trips for motor carriers
as they are forced to reposition equipment to locations other than the point of
origin, for no additional compensation, but rather, at their own expense of time and
In addition, due to the shortage of skilled ILWU labor, ocean carriers have fallen
woefully short of their obligation to evacuate empty containers from marine
terminals to create more space on their docks. Meanwhile, they have continued to
unload loaded import containers creating congestion at the terminals. This has
resulted in restrictions by marine terminals further thwarting the ability to
terminate empty containers or pickup imports during the allotted free time. Also,
ocean carriers are canceling export bookings leading to further trade deficits and
creating hardships for American exporters.
The trucking community servicing the San Pedro Bay ports are working diligently to
maintain cargo fluidity, however through no fault of the truckers or their customers,
the hurdles to do so have become insurmountable and there looks to be no
consideration or reprieve from the detention and demurrage charges that shippers
and truckers cannot avoid. The restrictions on empty container returns, created by
empty-in appointments and ocean carriers exceeding their empty allocations on
terminal, have created an increase in demurrage due to the inability to free up
chassis via an empty container termination or dual transaction impeding the ability
to perform single import container pickups.
In the short term, we again ask for a suspension of these unreasonable detention
and demurrage charges in the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York & New
Jersey due to current conditions and the lack of adoption of the FMC interpretive
rule guidelines, which would have helped mitigate these issues. We would further
ask that the Commission review and disallow carriers from filing or collecting any
surcharges for congestion, trucking or equipment for moving in and through these
ports until they have made a constructive action to remedy the problems.
In the long-term, we ask the FMC to use the interpretive rule on detention and
demurrage as a template for rulemaking. The lack of participation by the ocean
carriers is glaring, and the commercial and operational benefits they were afforded
through the shipping alliances have created commercial and operational hardships
for the rest of the supply-chain.
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has created disruption throughout the
supply chain. However, as the U.S. economy and companies continue to recover,
they should not have to be worried about congestion and additional costs that will
further impact their businesses and recovery efforts. We must work collectively to
address these systemic issues, which the FMC is well aware of through previous
investigations. The FMC must take action to support the interests of U.S. companies
and consumers to ensure that the carriers are not imposing unfair costs on
American exporters, importers or consumers.


Harbor Trucking Association
California Trucking Association
American Trucking Association
Intermodal Carriers Conference
Agriculture Transportation Coalition
National Retail Federation
Gemini Shippers Group
American Cotton Shippers Association
Association Food Industries
Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers
Autocare Association
California League of Food Producers
California Retailers Association
Coalition of New England Companies for Trade
Columbia River Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association
Customs Brokers & International Freight Forwarders Association of Washington State
Customs Brokers and Forwarders of Northern California
Dairy Farmers of America
Fashion Accessories Shippers Association
Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America
International Association of Movers
International Housewares Shippers Association, Inc.
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Leather & Hide Council of America
Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association
Meat Import Council of America
National Hay Association
National Industrial Transportation League
National Onion Association
NCBFAA Shippers Association, Inc.
New Jersey Motor Truck Association
North American Meat Institute
NY/NJ Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association
Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Associations. Inc.
Pacific Northwest Asia Shippers Association
Retail Industry Leaders Association
San Diego Customs Brokers Association
Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance
Tea Association of the U.S.A., Inc.
Toy Shippers Association, Inc.
Transportation Intermediaries Association
Travel Goods Association
U.S. Forage Export Council
United Fresh Produce Association
USSA Global
Wine and Spirits Shippers Association Inc.

Members of Congress
Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles
Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach
Gene Seroka, Port of Los Angeles
Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach
Sam Rouda, Port of New York, New Jersey

Americans for Free Trade coalition urges USTR to extend exclusions for products covered by the Section 301 China tariffs before they expire

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Gemini Shippers Group joined almost 200 Trade Associations  to urge the Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) to move expeditiously to extend exclusions for products covered
by the Section 301 China tariffs before they expire on December 31, 2020.

A copy of the letter is noted below.


November 5, 2020

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

On behalf of the Americans for Free Trade coalition, we write to urge the Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) to move expeditiously to extend exclusions for products covered
by the Section 301 China tariffs before they expire on December 31, 2020. Doing so would
provide certainty for American businesses already struggling with the economic fallout from
COVID-19 and avoid doing additional harm to the U.S. economy.

Our coalition represents every part of the U.S. economy including manufacturers, farmers and
agribusinesses, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies,
powersports manufacturers, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders.
Collectively, we support tens of millions of American jobs through our vast supply chains.
While we continue to advocate for the full elimination of the Section 301 tariffs, we recognize
the important role that the product exclusion process has played in alleviating the burden of
additional tariffs for some American businesses. So long as Section 301 tariffs remain in place,
having a predictable, fair, and transparent product exclusion process is vital to creating a
modicum of certainty for American businesses. That certainty, however, is in jeopardy as all
remaining product exclusions are set to expire at the end of this year. As American businesses
continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they should not have to face the uncertainty
of tax increases on January 1 because of a reimposition of tariffs on previously excluded
products. It remains unclear whether USTR intends to offer additional product exclusion
extension opportunities for the remaining exclusions. We believe it is crucial for USTR to do so.

More specifically, we urge USTR to automatically extend existing product exclusions for at least
six months. This move would be welcome news to the American businesses, workers,
consumers, and farmers who have paid nearly $60 billion in taxes to the federal government in
the form of tariffs since the trade war with China began. It would also provide certainty for
American businesses trying to recover from the economic harm caused by the COVID-19
pandemic. Alternatively, we urge USTR to issue a Federal Register Notice announcing a new
public comment period to extend expiring exclusions as soon as possible. This should also
include an opportunity to submit comments for products covered by exclusions that were not
extended by USTR earlier this year.

Extending product exclusions is a straightforward and efficient way for the administration to
provide certainty and relief to American businesses during this difficult economic time. Until the
Section 301 tariffs are fully eliminated, we urge USTR to maintain a robust, predictable, and
transparent product exclusion process.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Accessories Council
ACT | The App Association
Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC)
ALMA, International (Association of
Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics)
American Apparel & Footwear Association
American Association of Exporters and
Importers (AAEI)
American Association of Port Authorities
American Bakers Association
American Bridal & Prom Industry Association
American Chemistry Council
American Coatings Association, Inc. (ACA)
American Down and Feather Council
American Fly Fishing Trade Association
American Home Furnishings Alliance
American Lighting Association
American Petroleum Institute
American Pyrotechnics Association
American Rental Association
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association
American Wind Energy Association
Arizona Technology Council
Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants
Association For Creative Industries
Association for PRINT Technologies
Association of American Publishers
Association of Equipment Manufacturers
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
Auto Care Association
Beer Institute
BSA | The Software Alliance
California Retailers Association
Can Manufacturers Institute
Carolina Loggers Association
Chemical Industry Council of Delaware (CICD)
Coalition of New England Companies for Trade
Coalition of Services Industries (CSI)
Colorado Retail Council
Columbia River Customs Brokers and Forwarders Assn.
Computer & Communications Industry
Association (CCIA)
Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)
Consumer Brands Association
Consumer Technology Association
Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
CropLife America
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Assn.
of Washington State
Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders of
Northern California
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
Electronic Transactions Association
Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA)
Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Trade Association
Flexible Packaging Association
Florida Ports Council
Florida Retail Federation
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
Fragrance Creators Association
Game Manufacturers Association
Gemini Shippers Association
Georgia Retailers
Global Chamber®
Global Cold Chain Alliance
Greeting Card Association
Halloween Industry Association
Home Fashion Products Association
Home Furnishings Association
Household and Commercial Products
Idaho Retailers Association
Illinois Retail Merchants Association
Independent Office Products & Furniture
Dealers Association (IOPFDA)
Indiana Retail Council
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
International Association of Amusement Parks
and Attractions (IAAPA)
International Bottled Water Association
International Foodservice Distributors
International Housewares Association
International Warehouse and Logistics
International Wood Products Association
ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry
Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee
Juice Products Association (JPA)
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
Leather and Hide Council of America
Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association
Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight
Forwarders Assn.
Louisiana Retailers Association
Maine Grocers & Food Producers Association
Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association
Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River
and Bay
Maryland Retailers Association
Methanol Institute
Michigan Chemistry Council
Michigan Retailers Association
Minnesota Retailers Association
Missouri Retailers Association
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink
National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD)
National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ)
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Music Merchants
National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM)
National Confectioners Association
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Customs Brokers and Freight
Forwarders Association of America
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
National Fisheries Institute
National Foreign Trade Council
National Grocers Association
National Lumber and Building Material Dealers
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association
National Sporting Goods Association
Natural Products Association
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers
and Distributors (NAUMD)
North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Outdoor Industry Association
Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight
Forwarders Assns. Inc.
Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association
Personal Care Products Council
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Petroleum Equipment & Services Association
Plumbing Manufacturers International
Power Tool Institute (PTI)
Promotional Products Association International
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Retail Association of Maine
Retail Council of New York State
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Retailers Association of Massachusetts
RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound
San Diego Customs Brokers and Forwarders
Snowsports Industries America
Society of Chemical Manufacturers &
Software & Information Industry Association
South Dakota Retailers Association
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
Sports & Fitness Industry Association
Telecommunications Industry Association
Texas Retailers Association
Texas Water Infrastructure Network
The Airforwarders Association
The Fertilizer Institute
The Hardwood Federation
The Toy Association
The Vinyl Institute
Travel Goods Association
Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA)
United States Council for International Business
United States Fashion Industry Association
US Global Value Chain Coalition
US-China Business Council
Virginia Retail Merchants Association
Virginia-DC District Export Council (VA-DC DEC)
Washington Retail Association
Window and Door Manufacturers Association
World Pet Association, Inc. (WPA)

CC: Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Department of Treasury
Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce
Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director Larry Kudlow, National Economic Council of the United States
Members of Congress

Gemini Shippers Group joins assocition in letter to USTR on Vietnam Section 301 tariffs.

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Gemini Shippers Group joined a number of associations in a letter to the USTR’s office regarding possible section 301 tariffs on Veitnam

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer

United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20508

Docket Number: USTR-2020-0037

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and companies below and the millions of American workers we employ, we are writing regarding the initiation of two Section 301 investigations on Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to illegal timber and currency valuation. We agree that our trading partners must abide by global trade rules, and we support the administration’s efforts to address unfair trading practices. However, the administration has tools other than tariffs to address these concerns. The possible imposition of new punitive duties on U.S. imports from Vietnam will only cause further supply chain disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the administration’s goal can be achieved without taxing American consumers and American workers.

Vietnam is the second largest supplier of apparel, footwear, and travel goods to the U.S. market and has experienced dramatic growth since 2016. Vietnam has become even more important as U.S. companies have implemented diversification strategies away from China. Imposing new punitive tariffs on U.S. imports from Vietnam would cause extreme disruption, directly threatening those investments and increasing prices for hard-working American families at the register or costs on the supply chains that directly support millions of American jobs.

We remain concerned about the escalation of tariff wars. We know firsthand from the experience with China over the last several years that additional tariffs will have a significant, negative, and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families, and the U.S. economy. Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change a trading partner’s unfair trade practices. Tariffs are taxes paid directly by American companies, including those listed below, their American workers, and American consumers.

We do not believe this is the time to impose new costs on U.S. supply chains, particularly on American job creators who are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, new punitive tariffs could make it even harder to source the personal protective equipment (PPE) that our communities need to safely regrow the economy.

Therefore, we oppose the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. imports from Vietnam. It is time for the administration to take a different approach to trade policy, one that does not punish American consumers, American workers, and the American communities they support.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.


Gemini Shippers Group

FMC Commissioners Discuss Ocean Carrier Issues, Global Alliances, and Market Developments

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Market trends in trade lanes serving the United States and actions taken by both individual ocean carriers and global alliances in response to COVID-19 and related impacts to the shipping industry were the topics of today’s non-public meeting of the Federal Maritime Commission.


The FMC regularly holds meetings to receive updates on international trade, the container shipping industry, and analysis of carrier agreement monitoring activities. The agency has heightened its scrutiny of markets, individual ocean carriers, and the three global carrier alliances in response to the unusual circumstances and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Today’s meeting focused on those developments.


Specifically, the Commission received detailed reports that addressed trends in spot rates, longer term service contracts, utilization of equipment, blanked sailings, revenue trends, the policies of individual carriers and global alliances for service changes, and what notice must be provided to the FMC when there are blanked, cancelled, or amended voyages.


The FMC is actively monitoring for any potential effect on freight rates and transportation service levels, using a variety of sources and markers, including the exhaustive information that parties to a carrier agreement must file with the agency.


If there is any indication of carrier behavior that might violate the competition standards in section 6(g) of the Shipping Act, the Commission will immediately seek to address these concerns with the carriers.  If necessary, the FMC will go to federal court to seek an injunction to enjoin further operation of the non-compliant alliance agreement.

Commissioner Dye Completes Work in NY & NJ, Turns Attention to New Orleans

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Gemini News, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Commissioner Dye Completes Work in NY & NJ, Turns Attention to New Orleans
August 4, 2020

Operations and cargo flow at the Port of New York and New Jersey have been minimally impacted by COVID-19 and the leadership at the bi-state organization has prioritized improving the container return process to further increase efficiencies and better serve shippers and truckers.

Those are the two central observations highlighted by Commissioner Rebecca F. Dye in Phase Two of her review under Fact Finding 29, an investigation of COVID-19 impacts on liner shipping supply chains in U.S. trades.

Interviews with users of the port, as well as the findings of Innovation Teams assembled for Phase Two, revealed that despite being situated in an early COVID-19 hotspot, Port Authority leadership responded effectively to challenges that arose. Port users report that as a result of this effort facilities in the two states are working well. Especially helpful was the early and active intervention of port leadership with the local and state governments. Also cited was the effectiveness of stakeholder cooperation under the Council for Port Performance (CPP).

Commissioner Dye began her Phase Two review by assessing which of the four operational challenges identified during the Phase One examination of the Southern California ports were applicable to the situation in New York and New Jersey. The only common challenge was the need to make progress in returning chassis in a manner that facilitates a “double move”. Senior port executives advised that achieving that goal is a high priority and the CPP is working to improve the process.

“During Phase One, our team members raised concerns about specific operations at Los Angeles and Long Beach. They identified container returns, terminal closure notification, blanked sailings, and communication of Earliest Return Date for export containers as areas for improvement. After many interviews and careful review of circumstances, it was clear that operations at the Port of New York and New Jersey were in good shape. However, our team members did encourage greater ocean carrier participation in port performance discussions as a step toward achieving better drayage outcomes,” commented Commissioner Dye.

While Fact Finding 29 will next examine the Port of New Orleans, Commissioner Dye continues to focus on progress made to adopt the operational changes Phase One Innovation teams identified as necessary to improve performance of the Southern California ports and terminals.

“We believe trade volumes are likely to substantially increase going forward and the Southern California ports remain the key gateway for the Nation’s international commerce. The ports, their terminal tenants, and the ocean carriers that use those facilities must embrace changes that improve efficiencies and operations and act now to implement them,” said Commissioner Dye.

Federal Maritime Commision – Covid-19 Supply Chain Investigation Shifts Focus to NY/NJ in Phase Two

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Gemini News, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Gemini Shippers Group will be part of the Federal Maritime Communion discussion of COVID-19 related impacts to the supply chain. You can learn about next phase of fact finding 29 below:


Commissioner Rebecca Dye’s Fact Finding investigation of COVID-19 related impacts to the supply chain (Fact Finding 29) is entering Phase Two with a concentration on issues related to operations at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) and surrounding facilities. She is also announcing plans for an online seminar addressing key topics of interest to the industry.

Three teams consisting of truckers, terminal operators, shippers, intermediaries, and other parties critical to the movement of intermodal ocean cargoes through the PANYNJ facilities will support Phase Two of the investigation. These teams will study what operational adjustments will prepare the bi-state port complex for dealing with increasing cargo volumes in the future. Successes will be captured and analyzed for their applicability at other ports. Additionally, as in Phase One in Southern California, Phase Two Supply Chain Innovation Teams are tasked with identifying any operational challenges to efficient port and supply chain operations and then proposing an industry-driven solution for improving matters.

“I heard from many parties that Fact Finding 29 should take a regional approach in its examination of COVID-19 related impacts to the supply chain. Given its prominence as an East Coast gateway, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the logical focus for Phase Two of my investigation. As with Los Angeles, we will be examining how the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is both adjusting operations in response to the pandemic and laying the groundwork for handling higher cargo volumes in the future,” said Commissioner Dye.

As part of Fact Finding 29, Commissioner Dye will hold an online seminar where she will provide a briefing on service contracts and related vessel capacity and cargo forecasting issues. Details regarding the specifics of the event will be announced at a later date.

Concurrently, Commissioner Dye continues to engage key industry leaders in Southern California about progress they have made in implementing four approaches that can immediately address critical operational issues at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These objectives were identified by Supply Chain Innovation Teams created for Phase One of Fact Finding 29.

“A key to improving supply chain efficiencies is overcoming the lack of ‘ownership’ for the most serious operational issues. Everyone wants to see meaningful operational changes at our Southern California port gateway, but solutions will require serious engagement between ocean carriers and marine terminal operators. Toward that goal, we have directly involved the most senior U.S.-based executives of ocean carriers belonging to the three alliances and expressed the expectation they work with their terminal partners on the four issues identified by the Phase One Innovation Teams. In particular, priority will be given to allowing truckers to return empty containers to the terminal where they picked up the loaded container. We will continue supporting the progress to improve preparations for increased future volumes and will have continued conversations with the carrier CEOs and marine terminal operators in this regard,” said Commissioner Dye.

A later phase of Fact Finding 29 will focus on the Port of New Orleans.

Gemini works to support temporary federal commercial trade credit insurance

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Gemini Shippers Group joined numerous association asking the administration to support for the establishment of an emergency, temporary federal commercial trade credit insurance backstop that will thwart an emerging credit crisis to enable and sustain the safe restart on which we and our members are working. A copy of the letter can be found here: Multi Association Sign On Letter Credit Crisis

FMC: Commissioner Dye Announces Findings of San Pedro Bay Discussions

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Washington Newsline | No Comments

Commissioner Dye Announces Findings of San Pedro Bay Discussions


Posted June 17, 2020

Following conversations with the port directors in Los Angeles and Long Beach, ocean carrier chief executive officers, Southern California marine terminal operators, longshore labor leaders, and FMC Innovation Teams, Commissioner Rebecca Dye has identified approaches to address the four critical operational challenges at the San Pedro Bay ports identified by Innovation Teams. The Teams also suggested one action the Commission could take to facilitate discussion.

  1. Truckers should be directed to return empty containers to the terminal where they were picked up, allowing them to make dual moves and reduce the number of chassis required.
  2. Notice of terminal gate closures should be given no less than three days, and preferably seven days, before gate closing. At no time should a closure occur mid-shift.
  3. Notice of blank sailings should be given not only to beneficial cargo owners (BCOs), but also posted prominently on a carrier’s website, at least seven days in advance. Notice of bypassed ports should be posted at least 72 hours in advance.
  4. Carriers and terminals should immediately seek to collaborate regarding Export Cargo Receiving Timelines with the goal of better coordinating their interaction.
  5. That the Commission consider an Advisory Board consisting of ports, carriers, and MTOs in the interest of fostering and promoting greater collaboration across those three industry sectors.

Commissioner Dye added “I appreciate the willingness of our senior ocean carrier and marine terminal executives to address the four San Pedro supply chain operational challenges identified by the Innovation Teams. As we move into the third and fourth quarter of 2020, greater collaboration between ocean carriers and marine terminals will be critical to avoid cargo disruption and support a thriving American economy.”

Discussion Summary

Empty Container Returns: BCOs and their drayage trucking agents have expressed frustration with untimely notice when carriers’ empty containers are not being accepted at one terminal and truckers are directed to an alternative terminal. The complexity of the process is increased because carrier alliance members may call at multiple terminals at Los Angeles and Long Beach. Most parties agreed that the ideal approach would be to direct truckers to return empties to the terminal where they had picked up the loaded container, allowing them to make a dual move and reduce the number of chassis required.


With limited exceptions, suggestions included: (1) terminals refraining from cutoffs of empty returns mid-shift, (2) terminals adopting a goal of 7 days advance notice, but no less than 24 hours, for empty cutoffs, and (3) terminals allowing appointment-free returns during low use periods (such as night gates). Commissioner Dye noted that some San Pedro Bay terminals have already instituted these, or similar, practices.

Terminal Gate Closure Notification: Under current conditions, terminals may decide that expected cargo volumes may not financially justify maintaining full gate hours. But BCOs and drayage companies need timely notice of any gate closures. Participants have suggested that MTOs adopt a goal of 7 days advance notice, but no less than 3 days.

Commissioner Dye pointed out that BCOs and drayage companies could improve the situation by letting terminals know when they no longer need appointments. “Rapid cancellation of unneeded appointments can help the whole system run more smoothly, and reduce the chassis availability situation, too.”

Blank Sailing and Bypassed Port Notification: Until cargo volumes begin to increase substantially, carriers will respond with blanked sailings to keep vessel supply matched to vessel demand. It is important to both American exporters and importers, especially smaller shippers and their freight brokers, that adequate notification is given. Participants in the Fact Finding discussions have suggested that, at a minimum, shippers and truckers get 7 days notice for blanked sailings, and 72 hours notice for port bypass decisions.

It is vital that ocean carriers communicate their plans in a timely way to all parties who, in turn, coordinate their businesses around cargo availability. Notification should be made available on carrier websites, as well as direct notification to shipper customers, to accommodate truckers and other parties.

Export Cargo Receiving Timeline (ERDs and Cut-offs): With respect to export cargo, changes to ship arrivals (schedule integrity, blanked sailings, port bypass) can affect the cargo’s earliest receiving date (ERD) and cutoff date for loading the container – especially for inland-based rail users. Missed sailings and rolled cargo can have a profound effect on the exporters’ financial arrangements. Participants in the fact finding have suggested a minimum of 7 days notice of changed ERDs– but more notice, especially for inland-based exporters, would be better. In addition, carriers’ and terminals’ information on the exporter’s cargo receiving timeline needs to be closely coordinated to prevent conflicts.

Identifying these approaches is meant to assist stakeholders in addressing the operational challenges in San Pedro Bay, and is not intended to suggest that these approaches are required by the Shipping Act of 1984 or the Commission’s regulations.

FF29 Regional Approach to Continue

Commissioner Dye stated that FF29 will continue a regional approach recommended by the Innovation Teams because freight delivery challenges differ in different ports around the country.  She also noted that the Commission’s recently published guidance on demurrage and detention has been well-received and may already be contributing to better operational environment among affected parties.

Commissioner Dye will continue regional meetings to identify practical port operational goals that can improve the international supply chain.

Dye will soon engage with industry leaders operating through the Port of New York and New Jersey and the Port of New Orleans.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) : Automated online application for submitting electronic vessel manifest confidentiality requests

By | Customs & Trade Updates, Gemini News, Industry News, Public News, Washington Newsline | No Comments


Did you know that your ocean manifest information is available to the public? The Freedom of Information Act requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to make certain manifest data elements available to the public. Your manifest data can be accessed by your competitors, customers, and third party data publishers.

But, there is a way to suppress this data, and it became easier to do as of this morning. 

Importers, exporter and consignee’s can take action to have this information removed from public record. This morning U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deployed an automated online application for submitting electronic vessel manifest confidentiality requests, which removes access to your data by third parties.

This enhancement will enable importers, exporters and consignees utilizing ocean transportation to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via an online application.

Currently, carriers, importers, exporters, or consignees may submit mail or email requests for confidential treatment of their name and address on inward and outward vessel manifests, which typically requires 60-90 days for processing. The new enhancement automates this process via an online application and it become effective almost immediately.

You can find out more information on the program and the rules for manifest confidentiality on the USCBP website here.

You can  access the online form to enter your request here .

If members need help or guidance on this, please contact the association