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Category Archives: Industry Insights

Using ATA Carnets for Global Expansion: A Video Interview

Ever wondered how ATA Carnets benefit businesses looking to expand on a global scale? Find the answer to that question and more in this brief excerpt from an interview with Amanda Barlow, Vice President of ATA Carnet. “The ATA Carnet is an absolutely amazing and dynamic tool that allows and assists U.S. business as well as foreign business to expand in foreign markets,” Amanda explains in a recent interview. Watch to learn more: Contact Us We will be releasing additional segments of this interview in the weeks to come. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the benefits of the ATA Carnet for global expansion of your business or need help with your ATA Carnets, please contact your ATA Carnet Help Desk at 1.800.Carnets (1.800.227.6387) or by email. About Roanoke Trade Roanoke Trade, a division of Roanoke Insurance Group, Inc. and part of Munich Re Specialty Group Ltd., operates as a specialty insurance broker focused on surety and insurance solutions for logistics service providers and companies with supply chains. Years of dedicated focus and responsive service have earned us the recognition as a trusted provider of customs bonds, marine cargo insurance and ATA Carnets for the industry

Why Logistics Service Providers Need General Liability Insurance

Last updated on August 7th, 2019As your customer’s primary resource in trade facilitation, your focus is to hone your expertise and provide the best information and service possible.   Finding time to focus on general business concerns can sometimes take a back seat to business growth and client retention.  Just as your goal is to simplify the complicated with your clients, you want the same assistance from your insurance provider.  Liability is a multi-faceted risk category, and the insurance that protects your exposures will often have a multi-coverage solution.  The foundation of most insurance programs, however, begins with General Liability (GL) coverage. You may think the only reason you need a GL policy  is to satisfy your landlord or vendor’s requirements, and you may have purchased coverage for this purpose. However,  GL is so much more than a checked box.  It is a policy designed to protect your business against claims from bodily injury or property damage sustained by a third party as a result of your business operation. In addition to bodily injury and property damage your GL policy also provides coverage for: Personal and Advertising Injury Liability –  This responds to any lawsuit that is alleging that you are responsible for Personal Injury arising out of the advertising of your products or services.  An example of covered offenses are libel, slander, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement and misappropriation of advertising ideas. Medical Payments – Responds to non-litigious medical claims for bodily injury which occur in the normal course of business.  In plain terms, this could act as the “please don’t sue me coverage”, where medical payments will be paid by the policy to avoid a lawsuit. GL, and specifically medical payments, do not extend to employee injury claims as this risk is covered under Worker’s Compensation. Products and Completed Operations –Responds to lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that is derived from your “products” or “completed operations.”  Although transportation and logistics companies don’t typically sell tangible products, those providing packing, crating, assembly, and pick and pack services may have a risk.  Both bodily injury and property damage claims can arise while employees are performing your services, or as a result of your professional service mistakes or failures Products and completed operations coverage should not be confused with Errors & Omissions (E&O). An E&O policy addresses claims for financial…
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Ransomware. To Pay Or Not To Pay? That Is The Question.

If you haven’t been the victim of a ransomware attack yet, you may be someday soon. According to research by the cybersecurity company, Malwarebytes, six of every ten malware infections during the first quarter of 2017 were attributed to ransomware.1 If and when it happens to you, you will have to decide whether to pay the ransom or not. Here are some things to consider that may help in coming to the right decision for you. If You Decide To Pay If you pay the ransom, you may get your data back and your operations can return to normal. You can reduce business interruption, although investigation and remediation of any damage to the system is still necessary. If you pay the ransom, at least there’s a better chance of getting your data back. But there are a few things to consider. First off, bad guys aren’t known for keeping their word. In recent large-scale attacks, the emails associated with digital currency payments were disabled shortly after the attacks and there was no way for the attackers to track who paid ransom and who did not. In other attacks, hackers simply took the money and never provided the encryption keys. In still others, once a ransom was paid and the attackers provided the encryption key, they returned and attacked again. Another thing to consider if you decide to pay the ransom is that you will likely need to purchase digital currency to do so. That is not the easiest thing to do when you’re under pressure and have never done it before. Bitcoin is usually the currency requested and can be purchased through an online exchange, but the transaction is not immediate. It can take anywhere from 24 hours to several days to set up an account and process a transaction. For that reason, if you determine that you’re inclined to pay ransom, you may want to purchase some Bitcoin or other digital currency to have on hand to facilitate the transaction. However, be mindful that you will need to have access to the funds should your system become encrypted, so you will want to set up your account and store your currency somewhere separate from the system you wish to protect. Although the media have reported a few ransomware cases with demands that range from tens of thousands to millions…
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Tariffs and Bond Sufficiency: How the Customs Broker Can Help

Since the onset of the trade wars between the United States and China in spring of 2018, the growth of additional duties owed for goods where the country of origin is in China is not slowing down.  On May 10, 2019, the duty amount on products subject to Section 301 tariffs contained on List 3 increased from 10% to 25%.  There is also concern that the U.S. will soon assess additional duties on nearly all goods from China. The impact of these additional duties has a direct effect on U.S. Customs Import Bonds, as the bond amount is primarily calculated as 10% of the total duties, taxes and fees you have paid in the last 12 months (subject to a $50,000 minimum bond amount).  As imports of goods from China continue, the additional duties owed will likely increase, causing many importers to need a larger bond. In the last nine months we have seen an unprecedented rise in bond insufficiency notices sent out by CBP. The number of letters that used to be seen in a year is often seen in just one month. Customs brokers, importers and surety agents are all scrambling to comply within the short timeline allowed in the letter – 15 days after the date of the letter, termination must be received by CBP. Many of the notices are for principals that have already had at least one bond increase since the inception of the increased tariffs. Now more than ever it’s important for importers to understand their Customs Bond obligations. Maintaining a sufficient bond is the importer’s responsibility under informed compliance requirements, but it often falls to the surety agent and the customs broker to guide the importer towards a proper bond amount. Education is key. Many importers don’t understand the ramifications of needing to increase their bond amount multiple times. Having more than one bond in a year creates a “stacking liability” or aggregate liability issue for both the surety and the importer. When a bond, a financial instrument, is terminated and replaced, the liability represented by that bond for both the importer and the surety under that bond doesn’t go away with the termination. Depending on the entry type, the liability can remain open for years. Even under the normal liquidation cycle, entries will stay open for 314 days. Now the increased bond…
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Trade War Escalation: Tariffs Will Impact More Imports

Last updated on June 11th, 2019 With the rate hike on many Chinese goods, and a new round of tariffs proposed, importers and customs brokers need to be vigilant about monitoring bond sufficiency. May 2019 was a very busy month for the Trump administration and changes to tariff rates.  Some importers will see some relief with the reductions and/or removal of tariffs on aluminum and/or steel from Turkey, Canada, and/or Mexico.  India and Turkey will  soon have their GSP eligibility revoked. And, the automobile and parts tariff decision was delayed for up to 6 months.  However, hikes to existing tariffs and the initiation to impose tariffs on brand new Chinese categories will impact far more importers in far greater amounts. The Section 301 Tariffs imposed on the “List 3”Chinese goods increases from 10% to 25% and is being phased in based on combinations of export and import dates, but should be fully implemented by June 15. This is projected to impact nearly $200 billion of imports annually.  Also, the administration started the process for inclusion of nearly everything else from China not already subject to the Section 301 Tariffs.  About $300 billion of imports, predominately toys, apparel, and footwear, could be subject to 25% rates by the end of summer. Tariffs proposed in late May on all goods from Mexico have been suspended – pending the implementation by Mexico’s government of successful measures to stem migration to America’s southern border. But, if Mexico’s steps don’t meet U.S. expectations, the tariffs could be revived. Importers and customs brokers must continue to closely monitor their continuous import bonds for sufficiency.  CBP’s policy is a continuous bond must always be no less than 10% of annual duties, taxes, and fees.  These amounts include special classes of duties, such as the assortment of Trump Tariffs, countervailing duties, and antidumping duties.  Parties that import merchandise under bond, such as using bonded warehouse facilities or TIBs, should take into account the duties, taxes, and fees those importations would incur had they been entered for consumption.  Prudent importers should take steps to project import activity over the next 12 months to see if and when changes to the continuous bond will be necessary.  CBP is not asleep. A dedicated team reviews each and every importer monthly, and when they identify insufficient bonds, CBP usually (but not always)…
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ATA Carnets in KnowledgePort

Last updated on May 31st, 2019Have you visited KnowledgePort for your ATA Carnets education needs recently? Whether you’re looking to stay current on the industry or jumpstart revenues, the ATA Carnet content in KnowledgePort is there to help you.   We currently have three courses on ATA Carnets for you to check out. Learn online and on your own schedule with any or all of these courses, and earn NEI continuing education credits to meet your CCS, CES or MES requirements. These courses are available at no cost to Roanoke clients.   ATA Carnet Fundamentals | Interactive Course This series of lessons will familiarize you with what the ATA Carnet is, how it functions, when it is appropriate to offer the ATA Carnet to your clients, and how to obtain the ATA Carnet for your clients. You will learn what you need to know to discuss the ATA Carnet with your clients, including the types of goods, purposes of travel, and locations where the ATA Carnet applies. Additional lessons to follow. This course is approved by the NEI for 1 Continuing Education Credit for CCS, CES, or MES certified individuals.   ATA Carnet | A Jumpstart to Stalled Revenues [Recorded Webinar] This webinar is a primer for customs brokers, freight forwarders, and other logistics service providers who are interested in adding ATA Carnet to their suite of services. The webinar covers what a carnet is, where and how it works, and how incorporating carnet procurement services can boost revenue. Completion of the course is 1 NEI CCS or CES credit.   ATA Carnet Fundamentals of Temporary Imports and Exports with CBP and Foreign Customs [Recorded Webinar] Virtually all goods, whether hand-carried or cargo-shipped, may be covered by ATA Carnets. This ATA Carnet webinar will help you understand all the ins and outs of U.S. issued ATA Carnets, from best customs clearance practices to mitigating claims and avoiding compliance red flags. Completion of the course is 1 NEI CCS or CES credit.   The content listed above is contained in our KnowledgePort online learning platform. KnowledgePort is a dynamic learning platform that contains a course library, goal achievement and course management. The platform contains a dashboard to track the status of projects.   Roanoke Trade developed KnowledgePort to engage and educate clients and industry stakeholders. Roanoke Trade is not only committed…
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Minimizing Ship Risks: Choosing the Right Vessel for Project Needs

  Multipurpose covers a huge variation of vessels including heavy-lift capability, but all are typically geared with some type of crane or derrick. In this modern age, multipurpose vessels will also have hatch openings that allow full access to ’tween decks and lower holds. While ’tween decks can be fixed but often flexible in their location, lower holds can often stretch the full length of the allowable cargo area. Some multipurpose vessels have lift-on, lift-off; roll-on, roll-off; or float-on, floatoff capabilities, and many have container carrying facilities, both in the hold and on deck. Tony Betteridge, head of marine – Asia at Munich Re Syndicate, agrees with me that the ideal for most underwriters, risk engineers and seafarers is that breakbulk cargoes should only be carried on vessels that allow full access to the stowage location and have their own lifting gear, so that vessels are not dependent upon port infrastructure for load or discharge operations. In addition, the ability to weld seafastenings is a major advantage, although some multipurpose carriers prefer not to. In short, geared bulk carriers and multipurpose vessels deliver flexibility and, additionally, the ability to modify a stow plan late in the game should surprises pop up during loading. Capt. Glenn Walker from Atlantic Marine Associates, or AMA, a worldwide surveying firm, points out additional risks associated using bulk carriers over multipurpose vessels. He lists the risks as a lack of deck strength, and a lack of adequate lashing equipment and points in cargo holds and/or on deck. Betteridge adds that the ability to weld adequate sea fastenings on the tank top in the cargo holds of a bulk carrier will likely not be an option due to the lack of vessel structure and deck strengthening, as well as the close proximity to bunker tanks. When weldments are considered in the holds of bulk carriers, weldments on the deck should be aligned with vessel internals to cope with high accelerations. Geared bulk carriers may also lack suitable lifting equipment where heavy-lifts are concerned. In all events, the type of vessel needs to be properly evaluated where loading and securing of cargo is concerned in order to ensure suitability. Chief Engineer John Poulson, director from AMA’s New York office, offers advice on carrying nonhomogeneous cargo such as steel coils in conventional bulk carriers. Carrying such products can…
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Tomato Trade Law Update: Bonds Allowed for ADD In Lieu of Cash

On May 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) posted a press release  stating the following:   “During the negotiations, Commerce will continue with the investigation and instruct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits or bonds based on the preliminary determination by Commerce, which was issued in 1996. Any deposits collected will be refunded if a revised agreement is reached, or the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determines there is no injury based on its own independent investigation.”   This modification in the trade law is significant because DOC has not allowed the use of single transaction bonds in lieu of cash for the preliminary Antidumping Duty (ADD) rate since 2011 when they abolished the use of bonds to secure the ADD due at entry.   Once an agreement is reached and a new suspension agreement is in place or if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finds no injury, any cash deposits collected will be refunded.  If bonds are used to secure the ADD, the underlying entries should liquidate timely and with no ADD.   For additional information and bond requests, please contact your Roanoke bond customer service representative.

Increased Duties & Bonds: A Plan of Attack for Customs Brokers

On May 9, 2019, in the Federal Register, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published a notice advising the duty amount on products subject to Section 301 tariffs contained on list 3 will increase to 25% on May 10, 2019.  The move to increase the tariff amount from 10% to 25% is a result of stalled negotiations with China since March.   All entries of covered products with BOTH an entry date AND date of export to the U.S. of May 10, 2019 and later, will be subject to the 25% duty, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has updated ABI to reflect the increase.   Managing Bond Sufficiency It is ultimately the importer’s responsibility to ensure their bond is sufficient under informed compliance requirements.  However, customs brokers are strongly encouraged to assist their importing clients to review their bond sufficiency, particularly if the clients are importing products subject to the Section 301 tariffs (and Section 232 and 201 also).   A bond’s sufficiency status is continually measured by CBP on a rolling basis of the prior 12 months of activity. The bond amounts required by CBP are calculated on past activity, but these amounts could be deficient for the future 12 months, especially those subject to increased tariff amounts. This means that if the importer relies on CBP to determine the correct bond amount, they may receive multiple increase demands in a 12 month period, causing delays of bond replacement, additional premium charged, and multiple saturated bond terms, which could complicate the underwriting process. To avoid these obstacles, customs brokers are encouraged to regularly monitor the sufficiency of their clients’ bond amounts.   Roanoke Trade can assist! Customs brokers can run reports of importer’s past activity through FastBond™ on any bond where they are the broker of record. Additional tools available are the “5 Steps Guide to Managing Bonds Subject to Trade Wars” and a Bond Sufficiency Calculator to determine the proper bond amount.   For additional information and bond requests, please contact your Roanoke bond customer service representative.

Get the Right Errors and Omissions Coverage for your Business!

Last updated on May 6th, 2019 After careful consideration, you’ve made the decision to obtain Errors and Omissions (E&O) coverage to protect your company’s financial assets. So what exactly are you getting? An E&O policy is a type of professional liability coverage intended to defend your business from suits of negligence, regular business operations errors, and failure to perform business duties. All E&O policies serve the same purpose of liability defense, but not all are created equal. Before deciding on an E&O program, it is wise to consider asking your broker some key questions to ensure that you are getting the best possible coverage.   Defense First and Foremost: Like any liability policy, E&O is intended first and foremost to defend you, the assured. Often times E&O claims have no merit, yet still require defense. Many E&O policies provide “first dollar defense”. This means that the defense against a lawsuit is secured in advance of the deductible being paid – so if you are the target of a frivolous charge, your defense is entirely provided by the insurance company. With any E&O policy, you don’t have to worry about the unexpected costs arising from lawsuits for covered claims. Out of pocket expenses are limited to your policy deductible, which is only applicable in the event the insurance company is unsuccessful in defending the claim and agrees to a settlement. These potential claims come in many forms such as misdirection of freight, negligent carrier selection and improper release of goods to name a few. The common thread among them is that they are made against you by your customer.   Coverage Form: Claims Made vs. Occurrence The coverage form is a fundamental part of your insurance policy that contains the insuring agreement, coverage conditions, exclusions, and policy definitions. The two most common types of Errors and Omissions (E&O) coverage forms used are claims made and occurrence. Let’s discuss herein how these forms differ and why it’s important to your business. The essential difference between a claims made and occurrence form is the ‘trigger’. Under an occurrence policy, the occurrence of injury or damage is the trigger; liability will be covered under that policy if the alleged negligent act or error occurred during the policy period. Under a claims-made policy, the making of a claim triggers coverage. A claims made policy form…
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