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Major Consolidations in the Procurement Software Industry

In early October, Accenture, the number 2 global provider of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services announced the acquisition of Procurian, the number 3 provider. This deal positions Accenture to challenge IBM, the world leader in outsourcing services and could have significant implications for clients who rely on these supply chain management services. The Accenture announcement closely follows the announcement of SciQuest’s US $43M purchase of CombineNet, an industry leader in strategic sourcing optimization software.

- Chuck Miller, CPSM, MCIPS

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C-TPAT Update

Portal 2.0 which was scheduled for roll out late summer of 2013 has been delayed with no estimated date of release.

Testing by a number of C-TPAT partners has been postponed multiple times due to delays with network and hardware support.

Portal 2.0 promises to be more user friendly and easier to navigate.

- Beverley Seif, LCHB, MGTA Senior Advisor

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Stop Importer Identity Theft

We’ve all heard of identity theft, and the first thought that comes to mind is having our personal identity stolen. Yet, there are other kinds of identity theft. Many do not realize that corporate identity theft is an issue on the rise.

In particular, reputable importers, who are well known to the public, are having their identity stolen; and unbeknownst to many importers their names are being used in many instances to import contraband and intellectual property rights (IPR) goods. By the time an importer discovers the ruse, the thieves have long closed up shop and moved on to their next victim.

Victims of importer identity theft are often slapped with various lawsuits from the companies that own the intellectual property rights to the illegitimate goods (designer/brand name shoes, handbags, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, etc.) shipped under the importer’s name. Even if the lawsuits are not successful, the legal fees spent to resolve the litigation can be incredibly expensive. An importer’s time will also be taxed, as they will need to be involved in providing information to help U.S. Customs investigate the incident.

As an importer, you are probably asking yourself how this is possible. How easy can it be to steal your corporate identity? Believe it or not, it’s fairly easy to do. Much of an importer’s information is publicly available, some even for sale, through organizations that sell copies of vessel manifests‒which is perfectly legal. Obtaining a company’s federal ID number is easy enough, since it is often widely shared within an organization and with other companies. Company logos can often be copied from web pages or advertising material, making it easy for an imposter to create a company letter head, purchase order, etc. Disgruntled employees have also been known to share information for a price.

What can importers do to help protect their corporate identity? While you may not be able to stop an imposter from stealing your corporate identity, you can take steps to stop them in their tracks and prevent them from using your identity for multiple shipments.

File a manifest confidentiality request with U.S. Customs.
This procedure prevents vessel manifests containing your shipper information, products, marks and numbers, etc. from being copied and sold to the public.

Apply for an online ACE account and check it weekly.
An ACE account allows you to view:

  • entries filed in your company name
  • your shipments’ ports of entry
  • names of customs brokers who have filed entry on your behalf

If you see an unfamiliar port, entry number, or broker and can’t match this information with any of your entries, immediately contact the Port Director of the port where the unidentifiable entry was filed. The port will launch an investigation to track down the identity thief.

Register your trademark and apply for e-recordation with U.S. Customs.
Once you’ve completed these steps, Customs uses the information you provide on your trademark and branded products to try and stop the flow of illegitimate cargo into the United States. Although this is not a full proof way of preventing counterfeit goods from getting into the country, it decreases the odds of it happening.

Shred, shred, shred.
Anything that has identifying company information (stationery, invoices, packaging material, etc.) should be shredded. Dumpsters can be a major source of information for identity thieves.

Wipe electronics before recycling.
Make sure that you wipe smartphones, tablets, computers, copiers, and any other electronics clean before recycling. Identity thieves can easily retrieve company information from old files on discarded devices that haven’t been wiped.

Set up IT controls to secure your company’s network.
It’s important to implement IT controls such as,

  • requiring passwords to be changed every 90 days
  • securing your server in a locked room or by password
  • installing firewall and anti-virus software
  • having software that tracks user access and assigns accountability for transactions

Implementing these recommendations will put your company on track to protect its identity from the ever growing number of thieves out to make a quick buck on your company’s hard earned reputation.

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors offers on-site training for Protecting Your Corporate Identity. See Import Compliance Training for more information about this and other training sessions that we offer.

By Beverley A. Seif, Vice President & General Manager. Click here to read more about Beverley.

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It’s Raining… Inside My Container!?

Have you ever encountered this scenario? “My container arrived and the cargo inside is wet. There are no holes in the container and the interior stinks of mold and mildew. It also looks like it’s raining from the ceiling of the container. How did this happen?”

Container rain drips onto boxed cargo.

Container rain drips onto boxed cargo.

If your container was loaded in a tropical environment, where the air was warm and humid, then shipped to the United States, where temperatures were far cooler, your cargo may have experienced a phenomenon known as “cargo sweat” or “container rain.” Differences in temperature of as much as 50°C can occur at certain times of the year between tropical regions and the cooler, temperate climate of the U.S. As the outside temperature drops, the container’s contents cool, causing hygroscopic or moisture absorbing cargo and packing materials to release water vapor. The cool temperature inside the container prevents the water vapor from being absorbed into the air. This happens as the temperature of the container’s top and side panels falls below the dew point of the air trapped within the container, and like the dew running down a glass of iced tea on a hot summer’s day, condensation or “sweat” begins to form on the cargo and the inner ceiling and walls of the container. If there is enough moisture riding along with your cargo and packing materials, given the right heating and cooling cycles in the container, the vapor release could be so significant that it would seem to be “raining” from the ceiling.

"Sweat" appears on the inside of a shrink wrapped pallet.

“Sweat” has formed on the inside of a shrink wrapped pallet.

As warm, moist air is cooled below its dew point, water vapor in the air is transformed to condensation, sometimes in large enough amounts that it penetrates the same packing materials the vapor was released from. Water from the ceiling may fall directly on the cargo or drip down the walls, pool on the floor, and be reabsorbed by the cargo or packing materials. The resulting damage will be attributed to the inherent vice of the cargo or packing materials, and may not be covered by filing a cargo claim.

To avoid cargo sweat/container rain, there are several factors that must be considered. First, if you are loading cargo in warm and humid environments, you should understand the temperature fluctuations that your cargo may be subjected to for any given voyage. Next, you should understand the hygroscopic or moisture absorbing properties of your cargo and the material used to package it. Cargo with a high fibrous construction (such as cotton, apparel, jewelry boxes, etc.) will hold a certain amount of moisture at origin that can be released under the right cooling conditions. If your cargo and packaging are not hygroscopic, then you have little to worry about. Lastly, the type and amount of cardboard used can greatly contribute to moisture release.

If your factors are such that there is a high probability of sweat or rain, you may want to consider using desiccant in the container to wick moisture from the air before it becomes a problem for your cargo. For the best results, desiccant bags should be hung evenly throughout the container. Most desiccant manufacturers have guidelines for their products that will help you determine the type and number of units to deploy.

Ventilation is another fix; although ventilated containers are hard to come by and typically committed to specific bulk cargo that originates in the tropics, such as coffee, seeds, beans and nuts. If transporting retail goods, you will be better served by hanging desiccants.

Plastic barriers used to enclose inner packing can help prevent damage from cargo sweat or container rain, but must be used with caution since they may also trap moisture inside—particularly if they enclose hygroscopic cargo or packing materials. The best policy is to use a plastic barrier on the innermost confines of cargo that is not hygroscopic. An example of this would be electronics wrapped in plastic, supported in styrofoam, and contained within a carton. Since the electronics are not hygroscopic, the plastic barrier protects against water coming from the outside without fear of trapping vapor on the inside.

You may not be able to prevent cargo sweat or container rain, but by paying attention to the details of your shipment, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.

MGTA helps companies identify, manage, and mitigate risk in their supply chain. Click here to learn more about our risk management services.

By Rich Roche, Vice President. Click here to read more about Rich.

© 2013 Mohawk Global Trade Advisors

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Diane Cima and Beverley Seif Join Mohawk Global Trade Advisors

Mohawk Global Trade Advisors is excited to announce the addition of two outstanding new members to our international trade consulting team.

cima-diane-web

Diane Cima joins MGTA in the role of Compliance Specialist, following a highly successful career with United Technologies – Carrier Corporation where she worked in various roles in supply management and trade compliance. For the past 18 years she was Manager of U.S. Customs Compliance for Carrier, reporting to the General Counsel and responsible for customs compliance for over $700 Million in annual imports for the company. Diane led the development of Carrier’s C-TPAT, NAFTA, ISA/ISF, and duty drawback programs, as well as the development of the Import Council for United Technologies Corporation. She is a licensed Customs broker and a graduate of Cazenovia College.

Diane has already become an active member of our consulting team, assisting a number of clients with their import compliance programs. She has also taken the lead in developing and improving new compliance work process tools and templates for our staff to use, as we strive to continuously improve the quality of delivered work for our clients. Diane’s extensive industry experience in managing compliance programs is a real asset to our team.

bevseif

Beverley Seif joins us as Senior Advisor. Beverley is a licensed Customs broker and one of the most highly respected experts on the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. She is well known in the trade compliance community for her expertise in guiding companies through the C-TPAT supply chain security process. As a full-time member of MGTA, Beverley will lead our growing C-TPAT practice area, perform training, as well as support other import compliance projects.

Beverley comes to Mohawk from InfoTrade, a C-TPAT consulting firm, that she launched and has successfully operated for the past nine years. During this time Beverley has guided dozens of companies through the C-TPAT registration and validation process. She also holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Management from Centenary College.

“We are very pleased to be able to add these two respected and experienced professionals to our world-class consulting staff,” stated Chuck Miller, Vice President. “As our practice continues to grow nationwide, it’s critical that we be able to offer our valuable clients the knowledge and support of the very best talent in the industry. Adding Beverley and Diane to our staff are big steps in that direction.”

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Mohawk Global Trade Advisors, a division of Mohawk Global Logistics © 2016