As the trade heads into peak season, the nation’s trucking industry is experiencing a critical shortage of over-the-road drivers, and shippers may be paying for it. According to an article in the Journal of Commerce, the scarcity of drivers is so acute that Swift Transportation, the largest US truckload carrier, announced that it will dramatically increase driver salaries — and competitors are expected to follow suit. Shipping rates are predicted to rise accordingly, by as much as 4-5% as estimated by Swift.
According to Mike Regan, who serves as advocacy chair for the shipper group NASSTRAC, “‘[t]here’s no question, rates are going to rise…. The challenge for trucking companies is creating a compensation structure that allows them to retain drivers drivers but still get the rates they need from shippers to basically justify higher wages.'”
Increase containerized import volume at US ports — driving up demand for truck transport — is also a factor in the predicted rate increase.
The full Journal of Commerce article is available here (site registration required).
As the European Union and Japan have taken steps to eliminate their “first sale” rules for imports int0 their jurisdictions, US Customs is proposing changes that may make it more difficult for US importers to avail themselves of the rule.
The first sale rule has been popular among importers since it allows them to value their imported goods — and calculate duties owed — at the price paid at the “first sale” of those goods in the transaction chain, rather than the actual price paid to the exporting entity, if certain conditions are satisfied.
To determine whether the requirements for first sale are satisfied, CBP has proposed, in a draft Informed Compliance Publication, a checklist of documents that Customs may request in an audit. As pointed out by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, the checklist now “includes many financial-related documents that in the past have not been consistently requested by CBP.” These documents would allow CBP to request “exhaustive financial detail for all parties to the transaction, which would likely prove to be a laborious and intrusive process for related-party first sale scenarios.”
To address the myriad of problems plaguing the New York-New Jersey Seaport Complex, the Port Authority of NY and NJ commissioned a task force of nearly 50 shippers, carriers, terminal operators, trucking companies, logistics services providers, and associations to drive recommendations that would make the port run more efficiently. The task force has recently issued a lengthy report with nearly two dozen suggestions.
American Shipper will moderate a discussion — via webinar — with key panelists to discuss the report’s findings. The webinar, which will be broadcast live on July 22, is free and open to the public. Register here.
Although their labor contract expired yesterday, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union has agreed to continue negotiating with the Pacific Maritime Association, averting a West Coast port strike for the time being. See the parties’ joint press release for more information.
Nevertheless, in case there is a trade disruption, CBP is prepared with a contingency plan covering the following scenarios:
Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port and Discharged
Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port and Not Discharged
Vessel Diverted to Another West Coast Port and Discharged
Vessel Diverted to Another West Coast Port and Not Discharged
Vessel Diverted from Intended West Coast Port to Gulf or East Coast for Discharge