West Coast Ports Situation
The ports along the West Coast are open and running just about full speed. Most terminals are running three shifts with a full staff and, according to the Journal of Commerce, productivity has returned to pre-negotiation levels. On the downside, it will take 2-3 months for the ports in Southern California to get back to normal, though it is estimated to be less time for Seattle and Tacoma as their backlogs were more affected by labor issues than the chassis congestions issues in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Oakland should also see operations back to normal in the next 4 to 6
weeks. Without any further details of the contract being released we cannot confirm with any certainty how the chassis issue has been resolved; the question at hand is whether or not the terminals will go back to supplying them. On a side note, many trade groups have gone to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to ask for an investigation of the demurrage, per-diem, and detention fees charged by the terminals during
these past few months. These charges are seen as being unfair since shippers could not pick and return or deliver containers due to the terminals inability to receive and/or make the containers available for pick up. We will keep you updated on any developments.
Possible CBP Furloughs if DHS is Not Funded
The Senate and House are still working on the funding of DHS (Department of Homeland Security). The current bill proposed by the House
would fund all of DHS except for the funding of the executive order on immigration. The Republican leadership in the Senate could not get enough
votes to pass the House version. Senate leader McConnell, has proposed that the Senate vote on a bill to fund DHS and act separately to overturn
President Obama’s action on immigration. The House is at the moment unsure about this proposal. If the funding is not passed by this weekend, only “essential” DHS employees would remain on the job. For U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), many of the employees are frontline officers that will remain working. Support and administrative staff would be sent home.
Furloughs at the West Coast Ports and Congestion
The West Coast ports are meeting with the Trade to discuss the challenges of the furloughs. There will be more flexibility for CBP than in the last full
government shut down. In Los Angeles the Port Director has committed to service the trade with the essential CBP personal. The Radiation Portal
Monitors (RPM) will be manned as committed for regular hours and off peak hours as well as staffing for NII (non-intrusive inspections)
exams. All containers must pass thru the RPM’s before they leave the terminal, this is very positive news. CBP will work with the terminals
digging out containers that are designated for the NII’s. In Los Angeles there are currently no backlogs in the selectivity processing of entries nor in the CES exams, which are getting done in a very timely manner. CBP has already pre-cleared each vessel at anchor so that when a berth is available he ship can move right in, saving time. CBP does not expect any interruption of services while the terminals try to dig themselves out.
CBP Issues a Special CSMS Message on Scopes of Bedroom Furniture AD
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a CSMS message to tell the trade about a new final scope ruling from the Department of Commerce dealing with the scope on wood cabinets for the antidumping duty cases on bedroom furniture
The scope of the order covers wooden bedroom furniture, and specifically includes chests on
chests, highboys, lowboys, chests of drawers, chests, door chests, and chiffoniers. The scope defines these items as follows:
A chest on chest is typically a tall chest of
drawers in two or more sections (or appearing to be in two or more sections), with one or two sections mounted (or appearing to be mounted) on a slightly larger chest; also known as a tallboy.
A highboy is typically a tall chest of drawers usually composed of a base and a top section with drawers, and supported on four legs or a small chest (often 15 inches or more in height).
A lowboy is typically a short chest of drawers, not more than four feet high, normally set on short legs.
A chest of drawers is typically a case containing drawers for storing clothing.
A chest is typically a case piece taller than it is wide featuring a series of drawers and with or without one or more doors for storing clothing. The piece can either include drawers or be designed as a large box incorporating a lid.
A door chest is typically a chest with hinged doors to store clothing, whether or not containing drawers. The piece may also include shelves for televisions and other entertainment electronics.
A chiffonier is typically a tall and narrow chest of drawers normally used for storing undergarments and lingerie, often with mirror(s) attached. This message is reminder for importers of furniture to take another look at their products, especially cabinets, to review if they are subject to antidumping or countervailing duties. The CSMS Message can be found here.
Bill Introduced to Reduce Entry Exemption Level
Two members of the Senate Finance Committee, ranking member Ron Wyden (D OR) and John Thune (R SD), have introduced a bill to raise the de minimis exemption from the entry amount. S.489, the Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act of 2015 will raise the current amount from $200.00 up to $800.00. This exception is commonly called a “Section 321” allowance. A copy of the bill can be found here.