Commentary

Two recent court cases should prompt all companies, and especially small and medium-sized importers and exporters, to review their business practices with an eye toward reducing potential liability. One dealt with the outcome when one company purchases the assets of another, and the second dealt with determining when U.S. Customs and Border Protection is permitted to seek personal liability from corporate officers in a penalty setting.
An auditor questions a carrier’s billing of a shipper when Incoterm notations indicate otherwise. So how should Incoterms and a bill of lading interact?
Minnesota has the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Washington has the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland), and Iowa-Illinois have the Quad Cities (Moline and Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa). To many, this information is probably worth a hill of beans.
To the credit of those who support the Jones Act, the U.S. law requiring vessels operating in the domestic trade to be built, owned and crewed by Americans, they take little for granted. An unapologetically protectionist law in a world of free trade agreements, the Jones Act is the citadel of the U.S. maritime industry, ferociously guarded by a coalition of shipyards, maritime unions and domestic carriers.
The recent partial shutdown of the federal government and debt ceiling scare suggests that for shippers and transportation providers, the failure of Washington, D.C., isn’t any longer about Democrats vs. Republicans. Instead, it’s increasingly about those who want to provide some economic certainty versus those willing to endanger a modest economic recovery to pursue specific ideological and political goals.
Why is it “tradition” for motor carrier shippers not to buy their own cargo insurance, but “tradition” for rail and ocean shippers to do so?
A November 2011 report from the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center predicts counterfeiting will be a potential $1.7 trillion issue by 2015, growing despite many efforts. No industry escapes its grasp.
Q: As a motor carrier broker, I’m troubled that, while so many new laws and regulations adversely impact us, the government actually has done away with regulations regarding cargo insurance by truckers.
There’s a lot of innovation occurring in the Golden State, in particular at a place called Port Tech LA, a think tank/incubator for entrepreneurs developing port-centric and environmentally friendly technology.
At a time when our nation’s “reset” with Russia has fallen victim to an increasingly frosty relationship between presidents Obama and Putin, it’s easy to wax nostalgic about better days. During the 1985 Geneva summit between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev, Reagan remarked that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the U.S. and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion.
A motor carrier official laments the FMCSA’s “increasingly intrusive” regulations that soon may require carriers to monitor drivers for sleep apnea. When is enough enough, he asks.
Leggett & Platt, the sprawling manufacturing and consumer products company, had little idea of what it was getting into when it hired Maik Breckwoldt out of the automotive industry in 2005 as its vice president for logistics.
Capt. Richard Phillips knew the risks. A merchant seaman for 30 years and ship captain for nearly 20, the man at the helm of the Maersk Alabama has been forthright about the dangers his ship faced in sailing the pirate-infested waters off Somalia half a decade ago.
A recent report about September’s South Carolina International Trade Conference, where shippers expressed concern that bigger container ships and larger carrier alliances will leave them with fewer options, sparked some quick thoughts, my first being, “You got what you asked for.”

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