From the Desk of....

SOLAS Verified Gross Mass ~ Effective July 01, 2016

Are you Ready for VGM Implementation? By now most if not all international shippers should have some familiarity with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) ruling concerning the verified gross mass (VGM) amendment going into effect July 1, 2016. Since January 2015, in an effort to make shippers aware of this very important amendment J.W. Allen & Company has periodically sent out newsletters with status updates. For those not yet familiar with the VGM amendment at it's core it instructs the shipper of each international shipment they must affirm and declare in writing the gross…

Read More »

ECCN: What is it? Why and when is one needed? Why is it important?

Posted September 10, 2014
ECCN. In a world of acronyms this is one whose purpose is often misunderstood by the less experienced exporter and even by more experienced exporters hearing the term for the first time. However, it is also a process and procedure if not followed and applied correctly can lead to significant challenges and costs, as well as potentially severe government penalties for the exporter. We often get calls asking, “Do you know what an ECCN is and do I need one?”, or, “I’ve got a truckload of 10, 000 balls of string to send to Thailand and I’m told I can’t…

Read More »

Shippers to Face Higher Intermodal Rail Rates this Fall

Posted September 2, 2014
No secret trucking capacity has been very tight this year. The industry has seen an increase in demand with intermodal tonnages increasing year over year 1.3% in June and 3.6% in July, and with other trucking opportunities more lucrative than handling intermodal traffic being available have all combined to create this capacity issue. Given these conditions industry pricing has already rose at a 4% rate year over year. To exacerbate the situation is the outright loss of trucking capacity. During 1Q2014, 390 trucking companies with approximately 10,600 tractors closed the doors, which followed 335 companies with about 7,750 tractors shutting…

Read More »

West Coast Contract Negotiations Are Underway

Posted May 15, 2014
Is a Labor Disruption on the Horizon? Negotiations are underway between the Intl Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) on a new contract which covers the employment of about 13, 600 west coast longshoremen. With a July 1, 2014 expiration date looming, representatives from both sides are optimistic an agreement can be reached. West coast ports are critical to the well-being of our nation’s economy having a financial impact of over 2 trillion dollars annually. Any impasse in negotiations could cause ripple effects felt throughout the nation. A 2002 ten day union labor lockout resulted…

Read More »

New Driver Hours-of-Service & What It Really Means

Posted August 6, 2013
On July 01, 2013, new federal regulations designed to improve public safety by reducing driver fatigue took effect. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stresses that a common sense, data-driven approach was taken to heart in the regulatory development process with safety the highest priority. Trucking companies were provided 18 months to adopt the new hours-of-service rules for truck drivers. First announced in December 2011 by FMCSA, the rules limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours to ensure that all truck operators have adequate rest. It is projected that only the…

Read More »

Deemed Export / Release of Technology

Posted October 28, 2012
When exporting items that fall under the control of various U.S. regulatory and enforcement agencies such as the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and / or Department of State, most exporters are well aware of the importance of complying with those departments regulations as well as the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and how not doing so can lead to a whole boatload of trouble for the shipper. Exporters are knowledgeable about the necessity to properly classify their item and the need to provide the correct information and documents required to export possibly…

Read More »

Customs & Border Protection ~ Change is on the way!

Posted October 9, 2012
Heading to the office this morning I realized the holidays are almost upon us with 2012 reaching the home stretch.  I always seem to be a little surprised at how fast the year moves and this year is certainly no exception.  My dad told me often that “I had no idea how fast I grew up” and I must say as I write this with two beautiful girls of my own, ages 11 and 12, “Dad, you were right.”  While looking back on 2012, I couldn’t help but recognize that my little girls aren’t the only ones who are growing…

Read More »

Multilingualism: A Necessity in Today’s Business Environment

Posted September 17, 2012
The word polyglot is a Greek word meaning “many languages,” which is often used to describe a person who is multilingual. In today’s world, communication is key and knowing a second language increases a person’s ability to communicate. Being able to speak more than two languages is even better. Multilingual people, or polyglots, have advantages that unilingual people do not. Being a polyglot opens many doors for a person, both in the workplace and social life. Studies by scientists have shown that being bilingual is good for the brain. Multilingualism improves the brain's “executive-function,” which is a command system that…

Read More »

The Only Certainty is Uncertainty…

Posted September 17, 2012
“The only sure thing in life is death and taxes” was one of my grandmother’s favorite quotes.  Global logistics is such a dynamic industry that becoming bored or stagnant is virtually impossible; frustrated, stressed, and slightly crazy is highly likely, but definitely not bored.  With the labor situation, the looming recession in Europe, and the “revenue recovery” attitude of the ocean carriers, the only certainty is uncertainty. Despite the extension of the ILA labor contract through December 29, 2012, the threat of a work stoppage is a serious possibility.  The intervention of a federal mediator has provided hope that a…

Read More »

36 Years of Good Times and Counting!

Posted August 7, 2012
As we celebrate J.W. Allen’s 80 years of operations, it makes me think back 36 years ago when as a young "green" kid straight out of high school starting my first full time job at J.W. Allen & Company.  As you can imagine, things have certainly changed.  When I first started, the Forwarders, Steamship Lines, Customs, etc. were located in the heart of the New Orleans business district and were all within walking distance of your office. Office tools consisted of the telex machine, ditto, manual adding machine, and typewriters which now have been replaced by the computer, email, fax, and copy…

Read More »

Reflections ~ From an Oldie but a Goodie!

Posted August 7, 2012
J.W. Allen has been good to it’s employees over the years and continues to do so.  I guess that's why many of us have stayed so long.  When I arrived, Mr. Bernard was president of the company.   He looked and acted tough, but he was a sweetheart, especially to the ladies.   I remember him saying one summer day, it’s  hot outside.  Here is some money, go across the street and get everyone an ice cream.  Little things like this remain a part of everyday life at J.W. Allen.   I can't help but remember one day when Billy was out…

Read More »

Happy 80th Birthday J.W. Allen!

Posted August 6, 2012
For as long as I can remember, J.W. Allen has been a fixture in my life. As a child, I vacationed with J.W. Allen in Pascagoula, MS. While my dad was supervising the loading of reefer vessels at the port, I was swimming with my family at the La Font Inn. In the evenings, the captain of the reefer vessel would invite us all on board for a tour and dinner. As a teenager, my summer would kick off with our “family vacation” at the International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers of New Orleans annual conference at the Biloxi Hilton.…

Read More »

CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise

Posted July 17, 2012
Customs and Border Protection officials have announced plans to establish nine Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) with all centers expected to be operational by the end of 2013.  Developed to ensure uniform regulatory enforcement and the efficient facilitation of trade, the ultimate goal of the CEE’s is to have fewer cargo and entry processing delays while achieving reduced cost and greater predictability for importers.  Streamlining operations through a single point of contact within CBP for a given industry allows importers to recognize improved regulatory uniformity and consistency among ports nationwide.    The industry breakdown will be: 1)      Electronics – Los…

Read More »

Powers of Attorney

Posted July 2, 2012
As you can imagine Powers of Attorney (POA’s) are an integral part of our business.  We are required by law to have on file a valid power of attorney from our customers before we can perform any customs business on their behalf.   The power of attorney must be properly filled out, signed and dated by someone of appropriate authority in the company.  Historically, the greatest number of errors noted on our end when executing a new power of attorney is regarding the signor of the POA having the authority to legally bind the company.  Following is a quick overview of…

Read More »

Retroactive Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) Increase

Posted June 15, 2012
Dear Importers and Friends, The Office of Intl Trade is set to begin retroactively billing for the increase in the Merchandise Processing Fee which became effective on October 01, 2011. As the programming of CBP's automated system was not completed until the start of business on November 5, 2011, the increased MPF was not properly collected between October 01, 2011 and November 04, 2011.  With refund processing just about completed for various Trade Promotion programs, OIT is poised to begin billing for these outstanding funds. Entries processed during this time will be subject to additional billing to account for the uncollected…

Read More »

It’s Hurricane Season!

Posted June 13, 2012
Having started on June 1st and running through November 30th hurricane season is underway and as always, we plan for the worst and pray for the best.  I wanted to take a moment and share with you the steps we have taken to ensure continuity not only in our operations but yours in the months ahead. Rest assured J.W. Allen & Company is ready for the 2012 Hurricane season.  In the event a hurricane should threaten the New Orleans metro area the city may order a mandatory evacuation.  Businesses will be advised to shut down and residents will be ordered…

Read More »

Known Shipper Program: What is it? How does it help?

Posted May 18, 2012
Friends, In response to the events of 9/11 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented new rules with the goal of insuring the safety of domestic and international air flights. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was made accountable for implementing these new rules and programs as well as being charged with oversight responsibility of all transportation security via truck, rail, ocean and air. One of the programs the TSA took over, refined and implemented is the Known Shipper Management System (KSMS). Created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before the September 2001 terrorist attacks the KSMS is one of…

Read More »

C-TPAT: Has your company completed their annual risk assessment?

Posted April 17, 2012
Dear Friends, The Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program, more commonly known as C-TPAT, was established in November 2001 with the goal of building collaborative relationships to strengthen and improve the international supply chain and U.S. border security.  It is a voluntary government and business program based on the concept that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the owners of the international supply chain; e.g.: importers, truckers, ocean carriers, consolidators, direct and 3rd party warehouses, licensed customs brokers, foreign distributors and manufacturers. Although it’s been more than ten years since the events…

Read More »

It's a Jungle Out There!

Posted March 20, 2012
Hello Friends, No matter which way we turn one thing is clear, ocean freight rates are on the rise. Regardless of the trade lane, General Rate Increases (GRI's) are being received across the board from all ocean carriers. Although many increases took effect on March 1st, additional increases are forthcoming taking effect on April 15th. GRI's range from $250.00 usd per 20' container to $550.00 usd per 45' container in many trade lanes. In general the market is seeing rates increase over 13% with some grumblings that further increases may be slated for May of this year. Adding insult to…

Read More »

Government Affairs Conference - 2011

Posted October 4, 2011
The NCBFAA held their Government Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, DC September 18th through September 20th. The conference provides J.W. Allen & Company with the opportunity to speak directly with industry leaders gaining firsthand knowledge and insight on how trade related issues and pending legislation may impact our industry. J.W. Allen & Company's own Billy App, Kristi App and Jerry Becnel met with a total of nine Louisiana legislators discussing national and local trade issues. On a national level, the passage of the long delayed Free Trade Agreements (FTA's) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, the renewal of GSP, the…

Read More »

Computer Network Relocated to a Data Center

Posted May 31, 2011
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina rudely brought to light just how quickly normal business operations can be disrupted. During conditions such as those experienced back then, while we recognize our business operations may be in a state of flux, we also realize your shipment activities in other areas of the country and the world remain for the most part unaffected. J.W. Allen & Company immediately set a goal applying lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina that mandated regardless of the situation; weather, power outages, fires, floods or other civil or natural disasters, the steps taken would assure as little disruption…

Read More »

Coming Soon!

Posted November 2, 2010
Stay tuned for our first post...

Read More »