What's Happening

Here is where ACM Logistics & Consulting shares highlights of events and topics of interest.

Build a Better Supply Chain with Crayon Logistics

in by Catherine Waldron

In his keynote address to the Break Bulk Conference in Fall 2018, John Heimsath described “Crayon Logistics” to the over 5,000 attendees. See the interview, where John talks about critical path thinking and its importance to logistics managers who need the ability to understand and communicate the most important basics, in order to keep everyone on the same page.

John Heimsath, CEO of ACM Logistics & Consulting

See the highlights of the Breakbulk Americas conference, including a small excerpt of John’s keynote:

Breakbulk Americas 2018

AD/CVD: Why You Should Pay Attention

in by Catherine Waldron

AD/CVD is shorthand for “Anti-Dumping and CounterVailing Duties." It’s a big, complex, and sometimes overwhelming topic. Fortunately, there’s a handy guidebook you can download in pdf format, that makes great reading! Check out our Helpful Links page for this and other cool resources.

In a nutshell: foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to AD (aka anti-dumping) duties. With renewed focus on enforcement of U.S. trade law, the current administration has initiated administrative reviews of numerous antidumping and countervailing duty orders and findings. That means that things could change because the administrative reviewer might determine that current conditions warrant a different outcome than what may have existed in the past.

The use of anti-dumping cases as a tool to get parity in duty rates from other countries is not a new development. However, the sheer number of such cases and penalties have increased significantly. This can mean duty of 146% on top of the normal duty, so the business impact on importers can be really significant. To avoid surprises, importers need to remain informed and attentive to what is happening with AD/CVD cases. ACM Logistics & Consulting can assist you in understanding how your business may be impacted.

New to Importing

in by John Heimsath

If you’ve never imported anything into the United States, this article is meant for you.

The good news is that there are so many new importers that the US Government has dedicated an entire section of a website just to you!  The part of the US Government in charge of imports is CBP (Customs and Border Protection), part of DHS, (Department of Homeland Security).

Here is the site. . . . .   Happy reading! 

The page is set up so you can gain a comprehensive overview from this one launch page.  What I recommend is that you start with by downloading and reading the pdf document Importing into the United States.   It’s 211 pages and it goes over all of the basic stuff:

Remember, ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc specializes in helping new importers make sense of all this.  Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to assist.

Oh, and good luck with your new venture!

Your Supply Chain Secrets are Not as Secret as You Thought! by John Heimsath

in by John Heimsath

Importers and Exporters struggle to keep their most closely guarded secrets.

Did you know that every piece of information on an ocean bill of lading is available to your competitor?

As an importer or exporter of merchandise, companies involved in international commerce are required to transmit business sensitive information to the United States Government. Every time your supplier ships your product (via ocean freight) from their factory to you in the United States, all of the information on the ocean Bill of Lading is collected and recorded by the Federal Government. This data is a key component of the trade statistics that the Federal Government generates. It tells us things like how our economy is doing, and if we’re importing more than exporting.

But, did you know that the specific information on each and every Bill of Lading is subject to public disclosure thanks to the Freedom of Information Act? That’s right, all of the information that you find on an ocean Bill of Lading is available to the public!

This information includes:

The first company that began collecting and selling this trade information was PIERS: The Port Import/Export Reporting Service www.piers.com. In the past several years, others have also entered this market (IG Import Genius www.importgenius.com, Zepol: www.zepol.com, and there are probably several more).

This means that if you want to snoop on your competitor and find out who they’re buying from or who they’re selling to, then this information is very valuable. On the flip side, if you are trying to keep your competitors from finding out how you are able to buy such high quality items at such great prices, then you really don’t want this information out there for the world to see.

So, is there a solution? Can you prevent your information from showing up on these different trade data sites? The good news is that there is a solution, and the answer is quite straight forward. The key to keeping your sourcing information confidential is to prevent it from being released to companies like PIERS in the first place. Once the request is received and updated in CBP’s (Customs & Border Protection’s) system, your manifest information will not be released for a period of two years.

A subsequent request must be filed at least 60 days prior to the end of the two year period to assure there is no gap. Here is a link to the Federal Regulations specific to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) as it applies to Import and Export manifest information:

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR Title 19 affects customs duties. Section 103 affects the confidentiality — or lack thereof — of information in shipping manifests.

Title 19 Part 103
(Pro tip: you may see ads for creating pdfs and other related products as you browse the e-CFR pages, you can safely ignore these ads).
Scroll down the page and read this section:
§103.31 Information on vessel manifests and summary statistical reports.

There is a defined process for shippers to request confidentiality for their manifest data. Without such a request, the data is available to requestors, such as the several companies that publish shipping manifest data online.

If you would like ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc to help you with manifest confidentiality requests, please Contact Us and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Remember, ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc specializes in helping importers and exporters make sense of all this, and your supply chain secrets really can be secret!

How-To Series: Importing Personal Effects and Household Goods

in by John Heimsath

If you’re moving to the United States of America and want to bring all of your stuff with you, then this article is meant for you.

The good news is that, apart from a couple of restrictions, you are able to bring your Household Goods and Personal Effects into the US Duty Free! As long as you follow the rules and submit correctly completed forms, the only thing you will have to worry with is getting over your jet lag. Movers

These are the documents you will need to submit to US Customs:

Also, don’t forget the ISF (Importer Security Filing) for all ocean freight shipments.

Remember, ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc specializes in helping new importers make sense of all this. Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to assist.

Oh, and welcome to the USA! Or for all you Ex Pats, welcome home!

welcome mat

Melon Season 2016 Escapes Damage of Hurricane Otto

in by John Heimsath

At ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc, we have our hand on the pulse of any factor that could influence the shipping and quality of products our clients trust us to transport. That means we’re on the lookout not only for immediate threats but issues that could lead to problems as time passes. That’s where Hurricane Otto came in, and we were interested to see how this natural disaster might impact certain crops and products coming from Central America to the United States.

Hurricane Otto: The Basics

Hurricane Otto was a very rare storm. It began as a low pressure cell in The Gulf of Mexico, grew to hurricane strength and eventually made landfall in on the southern Nicaraguan Atlantic coast. Crossing west, it entered northwest Costa Rica and the out into the Pacific Ocean. The Guanacaste region or Costa Rica is home many ‘fincas’ farms that supply the United States and Europe with melons. The fear was that Hurricane Otto could threaten their melon harvest that begins next month.

Melon Season: Risks Ahead?

Melon season, which runs from January to May, was at particular risk as Hurricane Otto hit Costa Rica. Farmers grew increasingly concerned, but despite the risks, the hurricane did not affect the melon crops in the area. Thankfully, recovery from the hurricane will be possible, and the season will likely continue as usual.

How We Learn from Hurricane Otto

ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc uses real-time information to keep its clients in the know when it comes to their shipped materials.

Good communication up and down the supply chain between transit providers and clients has always helped establish expectations based on the reality of natural disasters, and this continues to be true.

Even though Hurricane Otto did not affect melon crops, we can still learn from its threat. Continued monitoring of the weather will happen, and excellent communication will be a top priority. If these two factors continue, ACM Logistics will be prepared for any other threats to crops we transport.

Hurricane Otto did not, after all, affect the melon season this year. But that doesn’t mean other crops won’t be affected by weather eventually. As you keep track of the weather that could impact the crops you transport, watch ACM Logistics & Consulting inc., for real-time updates on prices, shipping times, and more information.

Have you heard the latest news surrounding Hanjin Shipping?



Hanjin Shipping is one of the largest shipping firms and their most recent decision will affect thousands. There are many reasons why cargo does not move smoothly from origin to its foreign destination. Port congestion has been in the news recently. You’ve probably also experienced delays from customs hold or exam. And now there is another possible reason to ask the question; Where is my container? And why is it not here yet? Hanjin Shipping Lines recently announced they will not be taking any new shipments in light of the fact that they have filed for receivership and a request to the court to freeze their assets. The news sent ripples through all the lines that Hanjin has vessel sharing agreements with.

An interesting fact is that other containers from the 5 other member steamship lines are also laden on board Hanjin vessels. That’s what the freight alliance does, it shares vessels. So keep your eye out for the vessel name. Your Non-Hanjin container may just be a casualty of this latest wrinkle in the global fabric of your supply chain.

Challenges customers will face because of Hanjin Shipping Bankruptcy

So where does that leave you as a customer? You need to make more informed decisions about your carrier options. The fact is that the Global Trade Market needs a predictable cost and time frame to operate and the basis of this has now been compromised from the shock wave from Hanjin Shipping. You now face the challenge of extended delay to the arrive time of the product. What about your customers? How will this affect you personally?

Let’s analyze this. You’ve just been informed that cargo has been delayed and you’re low on stock. You have customers who prepay to ensure they get their supplies on time. What will you tell your customers when you can’t get an ETA yourself? Are you gonna let your business crumble as well?

Hanjin Shipping and their shift in Alliances

Hanjin Shipping is currently part of the CKYHE Alliance. The Alliance consists of a few more members which are Cosco Container Lines, “K” Line, Yang Ming Line and Evergreen Line. According to an article from Joc.com News, “The CKYHE Alliance will cease to operate in 2017 as a result of consolidation in the container shipping industry. Evergreen Line will join the Ocean Alliance along with Cosco, which merged with China Shipping Container Lines in 2015, while “K” Line, Yang Ming Line, and Hanjin are joining THE Alliance.”

The New Alliance will begin operates in April 2017. There new members consist of the Japanese trio of Nippon Yusen K.K., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. as well as Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG, South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co. and Taian’s Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.

Port of Houston Insider Information – Hanjin Shipping Containers

Hanjin Shipping Alliances

I just got off the phone with John Mosely at the Port of Houston. He said that they don’t have a Hanjin vessel scheduled to call Houston in the immediate future. However, they do have a COSCO vessel that, due to vessel sharing agreement has Hanjin containers (containers moving on Hanjin bill of ladings) on it. COSCO has instructed the POH not to release any Houston inbound containers and not to load any Houston origin export containers.

So what’s going to happen to the Hanjin containers that are sitting at the Port of Houston? The POH is charging $100 per container to cover just under half of their fee that Hanjin would have been responsible for in order for the containers to be removed from the port. So, if you have an import container unloading off of this COSCO vessel, you pay $100 additional for POH to release its hold. If you had a booking export out of Houston with Hanjin, you have to pay $100, then pick up the container, bring it back to your place, strip the container, get a new booking (with someone else) and then begin the whole export process over again. How inconvenient is that?

If this article hits close to home for you, contact us, we’re here to help.

Shipping containers

Brexit’s Effect on Logistics: Old, Expensive Food

in by John Heimsath

Britain grows just over half of the food its citizens eat, and most of it comes from the other 27 European countries. In a post-Brexit world, Brits may find themselves paying more for food that has taken longer to move from the farm to their table.

Prior to the establishment of the EU, each country crossing between EU countries required a customs clearance, both for people and cargo. With the advent of the EU, the service companies that facilitated the customs entry process were no longer needed. Also, the government customs and immigration agencies were no longer needed for intra-Europe trade. This now has to be rebuilt. The cost for EU products to the United Kingdom will increase to cover the new expense of customs clearance. This extra link in the supply chain will add days to the transit time.

I remember living in West Berlin in the mid-1980s. One summer journey took me from West Germany to Holland, France, Spain and Portugal. Each border crossing was a true crossing, complete with passport review by immigration officers for me, and customs officers for cargo. Contrast that with a trip just last month. I drove through 6 EU countries and only had to slow down to read the “Welcome to Italy” sign! The cost of rebuilding and operating cross-border trade between Britain and the other 27 EU countries will increase the price of these items. And the delay in border crossings will increase transit time.

This is just one of the many issues facing Britain as it removes itself from the EU. Every EU trade agreement will have to remove Britain, and then Britain will need its own trade agreement, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).

Shipping containers

US Importers of Chinese Tires Get Flattened

in by John Heimsath

The cheapest tires you can find for your 18-wheeler are being made in China. In fact, the US Department of Commerce has determined that the Chinese government assistance given to its Chinese tire manufacturers gives these tire importers an average of 20% advantage over their US competitors. To offset this unfair advantage, the United States Government is enforcing an average 20% additional duty (called a Countervailing Duty) to all tires being imported into the United States effective July 7th 2016.

If you are currently importing heavy truck tires, life as you know it will change in a big way! You’ll be paying more for your Chinese tires, that is true. But that’s just the beginning. You need a new Importer Customs Bond and you will be required to post a security deposit of its face value. And there’s more! The CVD duty rate may change because it is just an estimated duty rate. Some cases are open for three to five years before a final rate is determined.

Keep in mind that we are only talking about countervailing duty right now. With the antidumping duty investigation still pending, there are whispers of an affirmative determination for antidumping duty being signed off on at the end of August 2016. Those rates are unknown at this time.

Every country has Anti Dumping Duties and Countervailing Duties (ADD/CVD) to protect its local manufacturers from foreign predatory pricing, but the United States is the only country in the world that postpones the final assessment of the amount for many years.

John Heimsath – President & CEO ACM Logistics & Consulting Inc.

SOLAS Update

in by John Heimsath

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, that the container has a verified weight. The shipper is responsible for the verification of the packed container’s weight. The carrier is responsible for obtaining the verified gross mass of the container in advance of loading the vessel. This regulation went into effect on July 1, 2016. For more details, visit the World Shipping Council.

ACM from the USA Pay Visit to Alpha Maritime Services in Italy

in by John Heimsath

President of ACM Logistics & Consulting (UFO member in Texas – USA), John Heimsath has recently paid a visit to the Genoa office of Alpha Maritime Services (UFO Italy). President & CEO of Alpha Maritime Services, Massimo Corte commented “We had very good discussions and will start to cooperate soon. We believe that face-to-face interaction between UFO members is a must, ven outside of the official annual meetings”.

Fillippo Lombroni, John Heimsath and Massimo Corte
Pictured left to right are Filippo Lombroni of Alpha, John Heimsath of ACM and Massimo Corte of Alpha during dinner in Genoa.

ACM is Here to Help

Check out our helpful links to delve into details, or contact us if you have questions or would like assistance with your customs, shipping, or logistics project.