Goals of 2019

Our year of 2018 ended with us finalizing the merger of Benchmark Export Services and Jade International to begin 2019 with a fresh start as one company. Our merger officially begins February 1, 2019. There are many benefits to our two firms merging; the main will be the level of customer service increasing with our merger and in turn providing to you, our clients. All of our staff remains the same and you will be continuing to work with the staff and team you have worked with on all previous shipments. Another benefit of our merger is the level of experience and wealth of knowledge from staff in all departments which will only strengthen other team members as they continue to grow within our organization.

The New Year will find us continuing to follow our plan, updating services and adding new technologies and programming into our day to day operations. Our staff continues to grow with ongoing educational programs and training to maximize their individual goals. Our intern program has brought in young international business students from nearby universities/colleges to broaden their knowledge base on the international logistics scope.

Our goal of 2019 is to listen better to our clients, their customers and suppliers finding valued added services and solutions that will help to grow their international business. We also plan to expand our social networking by providing all with industry knowledge and current events. We hope the information we share whether it be articles, reports, fun facts, etc will help to increase awareness of our ever-changing industry.

Written: Scott Hoffman, President of Jade International

2018 Year in Review

2018 has come and gone and the year did not disappoint with challenges and opportunities. The single largest adjustment early in the first quarter of 2018 was the electronic driver logs.  This tightened an already limited driver availability which certainly was a main cause of delays. The implementation of the driver logs also came with driver shortages, shortened work days, and new trucking regulations with the addition of less available power units and ocean container availabilities.

The end of the year was highlighted by the increased China/USA tariffs. The financial burden and the unsettling of trade was felt through the financial markets. This along with other industry challenges constantly keep us focused and aware of the ever-changing industry. International transportation and logistics continue to add improving technologies and makes for a dynamic industry.

Reflecting on the year, we’ve seen friends/clients retire, move on, while on a positive note an increase in our own staffing. We all have challenges we faced as we bring 2018 to a close, but Jade International is here to assist you with all the obstacles and hurtles the upcoming year will surely present.

Written by: Scott Hoffman, President of Jade International

Jade’s 4th Annual Food Drive Collection has Begun!

Jade International is excited to announce the start of our annual food drive collection! This marks our 4th year participating in the food drive event held by Preston and Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger benefiting Philabundance, who works with over 500 agencies in our area to distribute food to those in need; from shelters to social services to families that simply don’t have enough money to put food on the table.

We are hoping to mark this year’s food drive our biggest success to date!

Please take a moment to click on the below link to read a special message from our President, Scott Hoffman:

Jade Camp Out for Hunger 2018

A list of the most needed non-perishable foods are listed below:

  • Canned Shelf-Stable Tuna
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Canned Pasta
  • Canned Beef Stew
  • Canned Chili
  • Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Canned Green Beans
  • Canned Corn
  • Canned Fruit
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Hot Cereal

They have also mentioned items they are least requesting at this time:

  • Bottled Water
  • Potato Chips
  • Seasonal Items (i.e. cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie mix, peppermint flavored items, holiday themed items)

They ask for these items to be in boxes, cans, plastic bottles or non-breakable jars and do not have to be refrigerated.

In addition to food donations, we are also accepting monetary donations. Checks can be made out directly to Philabundance.

If interested in participating and would like us to drop a bin off at your location, please let us know. If you’d like to drop off your donation of your non-perishable items, please deliver to Jade International (included in our letter) Monday thru Friday between 9am – 4pm.

Also, we are offering a $50.00 Visa Gift Card to the company or individual with the largest donation determined by weight to Jade!!!

For further information or questions about the food drive, please contact Caitlin Walsh at Caitlin.Walsh@jadeintl.com or (610) 522-9300 ext 122.

New Manifest Policy for China Imports and Exports

The People’s Republic of China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) has issued a new rule effective June 1, 2018. The new rule requires the provision of new data elements related to goods being imported and exported from China. One of the new data portions that is now required is the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Central Index Key (CIK) of US based shippers and forwarders. Also accepted is the equivalent government identification for shippers and forwarders in other countries.

We do understand the concern of many parties for disclosing the company EIN information, but we do not believe there is any breach of personal data as the EIN is not tied to an individual. Per our industry organization, NCBFAA (National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc) and their legal department has advised they are not aware of any law prohibiting the disclosure of EINs, especially when the EIN is required by a government authority to proceed with an export or import of your cargo.There should not be any objection from shipper’s and forwarder’s for providing the EIN as it is a matter of public record. The EIN information is required to be included on the air waybills and ocean bills of lading we prepare on your behalf.

If you have further concerns or questions regarding this new requirement with China, please contact our office today.


GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Policy and Procedures

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) goes into effect May 25, 2018. Per European Union (EU) regulations, new data protection laws are being introduced in order to protect the personal data of individuals living in the EU. It is a modernization of data protection laws drawn up in 1995, before mass internet adoption, email and google searches.  

Jade International has adopted the EU guidelines for GDPR as a way of complying with the regulations and safe guarding all of our clients and their data.

We have taken all necessary steps to put the proper protocols and procedures in place. For our Data Protection Policy and Procedures, please click here. You can also contact our office for a copy of the document or to address your particular concerns.


US Truck Shortage

The US trucking industry is facing a growing shortage of qualified drivers in both the international and domestic markets. The shortage is having a serious effect on our ability to schedule pickups and confirm deliveries from/to US ports.

The main reasons that are causing these issues:

  • US Federal mandate for “Electronic Log Devices” (ELDs) in effect since December 18, 2017
  • Truck Drivers shortage
  • Increased cost of operating and fuel
  • Increased Chassis street dwell tightening inventory and availability
  • Infrastructure and congestions
  • High service demand for Hazardous and Reefers / special cargo
  • Limited Free time at US Ramps

We highly recommend that you book as far in advance as possible. We will continue to keep you posted as the situation progresses.

Thank you for your continued support. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact our office.

What are Hazardous Materials (Dangerous Goods)?

Hazardous materials/dangerous goods need to be handled with utmost care and consideration of the dangerous nature. Any misdeclaration, miscommunication or incorrect documentation could have severe consequences and could prove disastrous to human lives on ships or airplanes.

In the IMDG or the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, substances are divided into 9 classes. A substance with multiple hazardous has one ‘Primary Class’ and one or more ‘Subsidiary Risks’. Some substances in the various classes have also been identified as substances harmful to the marine environment (MARINE POLLUTANTS).

Here are the 9 classes:
Class 1 – Explosives
Class 2 – Gases; compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure
Class 3 – Flammable liquids
Class 4 – Flammable solids; Substances liable to spontaneous combustion; Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
Class 5 – Oxidizing substances (agents) and organic peroxides
Class 6 – Toxic and infectious substances
Class 7 – Radioactive materials
Class 8 – Corrosives
Class 9 – Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles Non-classified materials

If your cargo is hazardous, you must be certified to handle hazardous materials or you are required to use a company that is certified in handling hazmat cargo. The shipper is required to prepare the IMO or DG Declarations.
If you have questions on hazardous cargo, please call our office as we are happy to answer your questions as we are certified in the handling of dangerous goods by air and sea.

Antidiversion Clause and Antiboycott regulations

Destination Control statements or antidiversion clauses can and do run from the very basic to very complex including signed end user certifications. The exporter’s products and distribution channels need to be considered as the driving factor as to the level of compliance required.

For instance the minimum antidiversion clause or statement that should be on the commercial invoice is: “These commodities, technology or software were exported from the United States in accordance with the Export Administration regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.”

If your goods are dual use, restricted, under commercial license or even if you have restricted distribution areas or you do not want reselling, additional provisions should be added and an international attorney can advise further based on your specific concerns and requirements. It may even be determined that you will require the customer overseas to sign an End User statement attesting that they understand they may not resell and they are the end user of your goods.

Although Destination control statements are no longer required for standard exports it is still our opinion that it is a good practices on all exports and must be present on license shipments.

The United States also has antiboycott regulations that US exporters are required to follow. The short explanation is the US has a policy of opposing restrictive trade practices that are imposed by foreign governments against countries that the US is friendly with.  An example would be the Arab-Israeli boycott.  The US government is friendly with Israel and does not sanction the trade restrictions. As a US exporter we cannot be a party to these restrictions.

Again, if you have concerns and questions please contact us and we can advise. It is a key part of export programs to work with a quality freight forwarder that can advise and direct you to additional sources of information so that you and your exporting/importing firms stay compliant with US regulations and requirements.

Export Fundamentals: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

US Exporters have some laws and regulations that should be understood and adhered to as part of an Export program. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is certainly one of the laws that Exporters must be aware of. The basics of the Act is that it is unlawful for a US Firm, an officer, employee or an agent of the firm to offer payment or promise of payment, or anything of value to a foreign official. The Act further states that you can’t pay a foreign agent or another person and know that the agent or person is going to provide payment to the foreign official.

As freight forwarders we are not and do not provide legal advice, but we highly recommend that if you have questions and concerns regarding this Act that you seek the counsel of a qualified international attorney. We can make recommendations if you require.

US firms, individuals, officers that are involved in bribery and corrupt practices are subject to very large fines, up to the millions for firms and up to the hundreds of thousands for individuals. If stockholders are involved so will the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Many other countries have been passing Anti Bribery and Anti-corruption policies and laws and this is becoming more standard over the last few decades. The US and foreign governments have been prosecuting these cases .“Willful blindness” and disregarding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is not in your own or your firm’s interest and must be avoided.

The Customs Broker: Your Partner in Import

Importing on a daily basis can be a tedious undertaking. With the landscape of constant changes in government regulations and global business conditions, the importer is faced with many challenges. One way they can ease these challenges is to work with a good service driven Customs broker.

US Customs/CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) are in charge of the collection of duties and seeing that the country’s rules and regulations are adhered to. The Customs broker is a licensed individual or firm that is regulated and authorized by US Customs/CBP to assist importers and exporters in meeting the Government requirements.

The Customs broker must complete and pass the customs examination, pay their fees and be approved by US Customs. While there are some that take the exam and pass, the test includes very detailed classification, duty, and regulation questions taking up to 4 hours to complete. As a result, many would be Customs broker candidates start by working with brokerage firms under the guidance of a licensed customs broker. They learn the industry, rules, and jargon along with best practices and import standards.  They generally start at the bottom doing paperwork as directed by the licensed broker. Each brokerage firm is required to have an officer that is a licensed broker to conduct Customs business on behalf of the importer. This broker is responsible to oversee the import process making sure that their import clients and the staff that assists them are fully compliant.

Once in the field including after studying and training, they take a test to get the Custom Broker’s license. Most people will take the test a few times before they pass. The questions are very demanding. Since the broker represents US Customs which involves them in the classification of goods along with the collection and payment of duties, they want to make sure each broker is qualified and approved. Even after they pass the brokerage test, they must go through a long background check to make sure they are worthy to get the license. After all the bases are satisfied, the new broker gets their license. The license is only the beginning and experience must be gained.

The Customs broker is an expert at dealing with clearing shipments through Customs. He or she can classify products and make sure the regulations are followed for all imports. The Customs broker is the first defense against poor compliance that can result in heavy fines and penalties. Importers into the US also encounter over 40 agencies that have imported goods regulations; US Customs is the enforcement branch for them all.

The Customs broker keeps up with the latest changes in regulations. They also keep aware of business conditions by observing any changes to the shipment of goods. If an importer needs to know if there is new dumping duty on their product, the broker will find out, and many times prevent the importer getting charged additional duty by warning about the duty changes before the shipment.

Another issue is treaties and their effect on duty. Agreements between countries can change rapidly. The broker can inform the importer if any of these changes will affect their products. Sometimes this change may lead to new opportunities to use new suppliers and save the importer money and time.

Where the Customs broker really shows their value is in solving daily problems that would otherwise plague the importer and waste too much of their time. If Customs wants to query the importer about their invoice, for example, the broker can answer their questions in the most straight forward manner that will take into account Customs regulations thus minimizing the chance that Customs will want a deeper investigation. Ideally, the Customs broker has already anticipated the issues involved and was ahead of any Customs inquiry.

Also, the Customs broker can apply for a binding ruling on the importer’s behalf to eliminate the chance that Customs will change a classification after the entry has cleared and demand to go back years to change all previous entries.

When the importer has a good broker, they can focus more on growing their business knowing that they have the best possible protection against disruptive import issues. If a shipment gets caught in limbo, the Customs broker has probably seen that situation before and has the best practices to solve it.

To conclude, this background of the Customs broker process along with some of the import issues is important to importer’s as the broker and the importer can and should work together with the seller or manufacturer to make sure the goods enter into the US without delay or additional costs. Getting to know the broker and matching them to your firm can be the critical step to effectively manage your importation of products. Proper shipping, clearance, transit times and managing the Customs entry process is key to a steady and consistent import business.

Article by: Howard Fox, Import Compliance Manager