This article was published on the Adam Smith Project website on April 24, 2017. For the latest investigative analysis of trade policy, compliance, and supply chain technology, visit adamsmithproject.com.


Uncertain times for trade compliance pros call for "what if" planning and accurate data

If one thing has been profoundly clear in the three plus months since America’s 45th president was sworn in, it’s that the world of global trade compliance has become one rife with unanswered questions. I can’t remember a time in my career when I’ve been so glued to media outlets.

I’m constantly reading news stories about the latest possible change to regulatory positions, wondering what this change or that announcement might mean for our clients and our industry on a larger scale. We are regularly hearing the same sorts of questions from those customers too. “No more TPP?” “Renegotiate NAFTA?” “What’s a BAT?” “What exactly does that antidumping executive order mean for me?”

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Integration Point Senior George Weise was recently featured in a Washington Post article focused on the new White House proposed border wall and immigration trends. With more than 44 years of service in both the public and private sectors, Weise is globally recognized for his expertise on customs, trade and supply chain matters. He spent the first 25 years of his career in Government, starting as an Import Specialist in U.S. Customs and ending as the Commissioner of Customs.

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Each year, Inbound Logistics develops a list of the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers. IL editors research capabilities based on submitted questionnaires and other sources, then select 100 technology providers offering solutions designed to meet business logistics managers’ supply chain challenges.

This year’s Top 100 Logistics IT Providers include those serving Fortune 1000 companies, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

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Just when shippers thought global trade management couldn’t get any more complex, a new presidential administration wants to change - and in some cases, do away with altogether - several existing and proposed trade rules and agreements.

And until the dust settles and the verdict is in on those decisions, companies are going to need more support than ever in navigating the continuous and ever shifting flow of global trade.

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In May of 2014, the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved changes to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty to require shippers to verify gross mass of a container carrying cargo. This new requirement goes into effect July 1, 2016, and it is currently sending waves of distress through the carrier, port and trade communities.

There are two main parties affected by this SOLAS update – the responsibility of obtaining and documenting the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a packed container lies with the carrier, however, it is the shipper that must initially supply that information to the carrier. As such, this puts a new spin on the relationship between the shipper and the carrier. Since the information must be provided in advance of vessel loading, the obligation and hence the responsibility, indirectly shifts to the shipper. The issues come down to - how does the shipper weigh the container and what happens if cargo arrives at the terminal with no VGM? Who is responsible then for the VGM?

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Supply chain can be as complex as a Gordian Knot, but none of us has the sword of Alexander the Great to slice it into a simple length of rope. Whether dealing with the ever-changing world of procurement, the volatility of fuel prices, managing the always-present risk (natural or man-made) or any of the myriad issues of supply chain, it takes the best minds to keep products flowing smoothly.

There are two main parties affected by this SOLAS update – the responsibility of obtaining and documenting the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a packed container lies with the carrier, however, it is the shipper that must initially supply that information to the carrier. As such, this puts a new spin on the relationship between the shipper and the carrier. Since the information must be provided in advance of vessel loading, the obligation and hence the responsibility, indirectly shifts to the shipper. The issues come down to - how does the shipper weigh the container and what happens if cargo arrives at the terminal with no VGM? Who is responsible then for the VGM?

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