Wednesday, December 5, 2012

International Longshoremen's Association ILA - Labor Update

In light of the recent issues in California, I wanted to write to provide an update on the current situations regarding the current labor situation in America’s ports.
Negotiators reached a tentative agreement to end the crippling strike at La/Long Beach ports late Tuesday, less than 2 hours after Federal Mediators arrived from Washington DC. The strike began November 27 when about 400 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s local clerical workers walked off their jobs. The walkout quickly closed 10 of the 14 Ports Terminals, when members of the clerks sister unions refused to cross picket lines.
No terms of the deal were released, but the workers union released a statement that it had received new protections preventing jobs from Being outsourced.
This settlement does not include the pending actions in the nations East and Gulf Ports. The Master Contract covering the workers in these port areas is set to expire on December 31, 2012, and no agreement has been made. This threatens a similar strike in the East Coast and Gulf ports. In a discussion I had with a Port Official, I was advised that he did not have a prediction on if a similar tact of a brief strike would be attempted in these ports to force a settlement. To date a strike authorization vote has not been taken, but this official that asked not to be named, advised that Union workers are scheduled to meet next week to consider this possibility.
As this action would involve the entire East Coast and Gulf Ports, diversion of cargo will be difficult, as the smaller Canadian ports will be overwhelmed with cargo if this action takes place. We will look at options as the situation develops.
As information develops and more information is available, I will share it with you.
Please advise any questions you may have on this or any other subject.
Bill Marston CEO
Service Shipping Inc.
1550 E Higgins Road, Suite 108
Elk Grove Village IL 60007
Office: 847-427-1775
Fax: 847-427-1790

Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Import Heavy Machinery

Need to import heavy machinery? Any piece of heavy equipment will most likely need to be shipped with special requirements. Depending on the size of the machine it may need to be partially disassembled or shipped internationally using a larger container. Shipping oversized freight can become complicated if not done correctly.

Documents Required for Importing Heavy Machinery
  1. Bill of Lading
  2. Commercial Invoice (supplied by shipper)
  3. Packing List
What type of duty or other taxes will I have to pay when I import heavy machinery? The amount of duty that will be owed to the government when you import heavy machinery will vary from case to case. The type of engine that the machine has, what the machinery is used for and how much it weighs are all factors that go in to how much duty will be assessed. Duty is required to be paid before a customs clearance is issued to the importer.

It is vital to have a customs broker classify and clear heavy machinery equipment through customs to ensure the easiest experience possible. A customs broker acts as an attorney on behalf of the importer and will file a customs clearance on your behalf. They are also experts on classifying heavy machinery or expensive equipment which ensures importers will pay the least amount of duty legally allowed. This could potentially save the importer thousands of dollars.

The role of a customs broker is important when importing heavy machinery especially if it is a sensitive shipment with special needs. Often times the equipment must be shipped in pieces or in larger containers. Shipping oversized freight requires vast attention to detail and close oversight of the shipment from start to finish. Door to door delivery of heavy machinery consists of getting several transportation companies working together to get your freight to its final destination. Since your heavy machinery freight cargo is a special needs shipment, it is important to work with a company that has experience shipping heavy machinery.

Most customs brokers also act as freight forwarders. This is an advantage for the importer because if a customs broker handles the shipment from origin to destination, they act as the middle man who will communicate with each transportation company from start to finish. It is much easier for the importer to track their shipment by making a phone call to one person, rather than several trying to figure out where their freight is. Using a customs broker when importing heavy machinery is highly recommended.

For more information on shipping heavy machinery overseas please visit