As markets continue to expand, the transportation of materials and products across borders may seem to be increasingly challenging. But work is underway to streamline the transportation processes by air, land and sea.
Increasingly, suppliers and customers are located across international borders, raising a constant flow of new issues for manufacturers. These are just a few of the challenges you may be facin -- and, in most cases, developments to watch for.
Shipping by air:
Effective Aug. 1, 2010, air shipments originating in the U.S. became subject to TSA 100% screening requirements. That means every piece of cargo carried on passenger aircraft now requires individual screening before transport, while skids and pallets must be taken apart, screened and reconfigured.
To address potential delays and damage to shipments, TSA has developed the Certified Cargo Screening Program, which will offer a pre-screen option to shippers. TSA has also compiled a list of Independent Cargo Screening Facilities to handle large quantities of product. Most shipping companies, including UPS and FedEx, will be able to assure compliance to customers through these channels.
Shipping by sea:
Inbound Logistics magazine recently published "Ten Tips for Selecting the Right Port." (http://www.inboundlogistics.com/articles/10tips/10tips1209.shtml) Among them are using a port near a trading partner, checking out the proximity of the port's warehouse facilities and trainload facilities, evaluating its investment in infrastructure, knowing its restrictions and asking about its tracking tools.
Shipping by land:
One of the most troubling trends to monitor may be that affecting U.S. companies exporting goods to Mexico. The Mexican government has imposed a new duty on chewing gum and chocolate coming into the country, which has raised manufacturing prices as much as 20 percent for U.S. candy makers. In addition, since the U.S. has excluded Mexican trucks from carrying goods on U.S. highways, Mexico is placing retaliatory tariffs on a number of manufactured products.
It's not just transportation:
For food manufacturers, in particular, getting goods from place to place provides only one set of challenges. In recent years, the safe production of ingredients and foods distributed worldwide has become a prominent concern; periodic missteps have led to bans on food imports in various countries. To overcome the problem, the International Food Safety Training Laboratory, which is operated by a University of Maryland and FDA collaborative called the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, will train scientists from foreign governments and manufacturers on the state-of-the-art methods of analysis to help them meet U.S. food safety standards. That could be good news for U.S. food manufacturers with overseas partners -- or an indication of increased competition ahead.
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