New CBP Tool Will Improve Vessel Manifest Data Confidentiality

Cargo ship with cranes in sea port.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is moving to a modern, online process for submitting Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality requests. This represents a tremendous step forward.

What Is Vessel Manifest Data?

Vessel manifest data includes bill of lading numbers, consignee names and addresses, container numbers, descriptions of goods, estimated arrival dates, foreign ports of lading, manifest quantities and units, names and numbers, notify party names and addresses, piece counts, port of unlading, seal numbers, shipper names and addresses, vessel country codes, and weight. The CBP compiles this information daily. It is available to the public to purchase on CD-ROMs.

Understandably, certain shippers want to keep some of this information confidential. The current process requires shippers to submit a request in writing by mail or email. Once submitted, it typically takes three months to process the request.

Why Should I Care?

If you aren’t committing a crime, why should you care if someone has access to your vessel manifest data? Anyone with access to your vessel manifest data can analyze your entire logistics process. If your competitors have this information, they can use it to gain an advantage. If criminals have this information, they can use it for planning theft and other crimes.

Once the new vessel manifest data confidentiality tool is up and running, CBP hopes to have these requests processed in as little as 24 hours. In addition, the new tool will allow companies to request name changes online. An announcement from CBP said that “This enhancement will enable companies and individuals to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via an online process.” Your confidential information belongs to you. Why take the risk of letting this information fall into the wrong hands? The new CBP tool makes it easier and faster to protect your vessel manifest data, but there are still potential minefields to know of. At Global Shipping Services, we can help you streamline all your shipping operations no matter where you are shipping to or from. Would you like to know more? Contact us through our online form or by phone at (908) 922-4290.

The Consequences of Container Port Automation

Container cargo freight ship in container terminal yard in sea port.

Shippers have always been on the lookout for ways to make shipping more efficient and profitable. This need has driven the development of everything from block and tackle to more accurate clocks.

Sixty years ago, containerized shipping turned the shipping industry upside down. Today, shippers pack cargo into standardized containers that can quickly and easily be loaded and unloaded by crane. Now, container terminal automation is poised to revolutionize the industry again—however, it may have unintended consequences.

1.      Lost Jobs

The most obvious consequence of container port automation is lost jobs. When machines do more of the work, we need fewer people. In June 2019, a Los Angeles Times article on automation at the Port of Los Angeles reported that automation would cause 500 lost jobs.

2.      Reduced Tax Revenue

When people lose jobs, reduced tax revenue is an inevitable result. Federal, state, and local governments in coastal regions already bear a significant burden of responsibility. Asking these agencies to continue to do their jobs while facing a significant reduction in revenue is a recipe for disaster.

3.      Secondary Business Failure

Jobs at the port affect far more than just the port. Other businesses, ranging from restaurants and theaters to medical clinics and construction companies, exist to serve port workers and their families. Automation threatens these businesses.

Clearly, the consequences of automating ports may be significantly negative—but if automation makes ports more efficient, won’t we all enjoy lower costs for imported goods? Perhaps not. When McKinsey & Company investigated container port automation in 2018, they found that it may reduce operating expenses but will probably not deliver the expected productivity gains and cost savings. Global shipping is a complex issue. If you want to see how more efficient shipping can improve your bottom line, you will want to have the right partner in your corner. At Global Shipping Services, we specialize in providing logistics management services at all major ports worldwide. We are a fully licensed NVOCC (Non Vessel Owning Common Carrier) with the experience and industry connections to get your job done right. Contact us online or call us at (908) 922-4290. We’ll show you how efficient global shipping can make your business better.

The Effect of U.S. and China Trade Relations on International Shipping

Shipping containers with United States and Chinese flags imposed over a map background

U.S. and China Trade Relations

The trade war between China and the U.S. has been escalating, and both sides have imposed enormous tariffs as a result. Trade relations between the two largest economies in the world intensified last year after the United States enforced tariffs on $250 billion of imported goods from China. As a result, China retaliated and placed tariffs on $110 billion of U.S. products.

After months of instability, progress in the U.S. and China trade war has recently made news as both sides agreed to a deadline to resolve their differences. Although there is still great uncertainty on the long-term impacts this will have on U.S. exports to China, the shipping and logistics industry has already begun feeling the heat.

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