Important Information for All Importers

Ocean Importers – Please Read

The International Longshoremen’s Association’s labor contract covering labor on the East and Gulf coasts is due to expire at midnight on February 6, 2013. Negotiations continue between the ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance but there is a real possibility of work stoppage covering all Gulf and East Coast ports beginning on February 7.

In preparation for the eventuality of a labor strike, we encourage all importers with containers currently at the terminals in the areas concerned to make every effort to have those loads picked up before February 6. We would also urge that you expedite the return of empty containers and chassis before that date.

We will keep you posted with the latest news as the expiration deadline approaches.

Air Importers – Please Read

We have been experiencing problems with USDA due to incorrect and/or incomplete freight descriptions transmitted through the Automated Manifest System (AMS) by airlines at the point of origin. These inaccurate descriptions trigger cargo exams by USDA, causing unnecessary delays to cargo release. These problems are especially affecting our seafood imports.

Please instruct your shippers, when tendering (seafood) freight to the airline at the Port of Origin, to emphasize that the cargo description transmitted through AMS by the airline must be complete and accurate. The AMS description must indicate the general commodity that is being shipped and what state it is in – i.e. Frozen Fish, Fresh Fish, or Fresh or Frozen Seafood. Please keep in mind that there are a limited number of characters allowed for the AMS transmission and USDA needs to see “fresh” or “frozen” and “fish” or “seafood”. Failure to indicate fresh or frozen or a failure to indicate the commodity could lead to the shipment being pulled by USDA for exam in the U.S.

Since it is the airlines themselves that input the descriptions and transmit the Automated Manifests, the shipper MUST emphasize the importance of the accurate description at the time they deliver the cargo for shipping. A few minutes that the shipper spends verifying this AMS information with the airline at the time of export may save you hours and dollars at the time of import.