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Reminder: SOLAS compliance deadline

The date for Safety Of Life At Sea / SOLAS compliance to the new global regulations is drawing near – 1 July 2016.

At that time, all shippers who tender seafreight cargo for export from just about any port in the world, will need to make a prescribed declaration of the weight of the shipment, prior to any containers being received at wharf terminals.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has mandated these new regulations, which become law on 1 July in 171 countries around the world – most of the countries that Australia trades with are signatories to this treaty.

The new regulations effective 1 July 2016 state the following…

The SOLAS compliance regulations prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container:

  1. The shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container using calibrated and certified equipment.
  2. The shipper may add the weight of each package stuffed in the container, add the packing and securing material and add the tare weight of the utilized container. The method itself needs to be certified and approved by a national regulatory body in the country of export.

An estimation of weight is not permitted.

This responsibility sits clearly with the Shipper of the goods under the regulations, not with any other party (ie. Packer, Freight Forwarder, Shipping Line etc).

What do you need to do as an importer:

  • Raise the issue with your suppliers and get confidence that they and their vendors are familiar with the new responsibilities on them as the Shipper of goods
  • Understand the Supplier’s supply points and if products come from external vendors, get comfort that the external vendors are familiar with their responsibilities
  • Ensure your suppliers are conforming with either methods 1 or 2 in the supply of a verified gross mass declaration, compliant to the applicable regulations in their country.

Whilst the compliance is a Shipper obligation, it becomes an Importer’s issue if any Shippers fail to comply on or after 1 July 2016.  Non-compliance to regulations at the point of export will most probably cause shipping lines to refuse receival of containers for shipment. It is an offence under SOLAS regulations for ocean carriers to load or carry any non-compliant shipments.

We have drafted a letter template that can be used to bring the issue of compliance to your shippers attention. Also, we have prepared a slidepack which further details the new requirements.

Please feel free to contact a Magellan Customer Service Representative should you need further information or clarification on these new regulations.

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Exports – not as easy as imports in reverse

Over the last 19 years Magellan has built its reputation on handling large volumes of import cargo into Australia for our customers across a variety of industries, but especially fashion, textiles and other retail. What you may not be aware of is that exports is also central to our offer (and growing). Our exports team has considerable experience in Australia’s core export markets, including commodities and agriculture.

Whether it’s 2 small parcels, or 20 containers of cargo to be shipped, Magellan can advise on the most cost effective solution, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of different shipping methods.

Magellan currently exports cargo via courier and consolidated airfreight, as well as less than (LCLs) and full container loads (FCLs), on a regular basis, to destinations including UK, USA, Asia, and New Zealand. In fact, through our strategic alliances with overseas agents, we can service the vast majority of major cities worldwide.

If you are shipping to New Zealand, our Auckland office provides the opportunity for Magellan to directly monitor the door to door movement of your product. If your cargo is bound for another destination outside of Australasia, Magellan will work with our network of trusted agents to ensure your cargo is handled with the utmost care, avoids all non-mandatory delays, and meets the requirements of all local authorities at destination.

We can also guide you through the various documentation needed to ensure the export process runs smoothly. To start with our easy to use Shipping Letter of Instruction (SLI) can be downloaded from the resources section of the Magellan website (under Shipping and Customs forms).

Some countries are easier to trade with than others. For example, USA has strict pre-reporting requirements known as ISF / AMS filing. Magellan can guide you through this process to ensure minimal impact on your business, as well as advise what will be required to satisfy other government departments e.g. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Magellan export specialists are waiting for your call, and looking forward to assisting you with your export shipments. Get it touch with us via www.magellanlogistics.com.au or 1300 651 888.

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HOW TO: Choose a freight forwarder

How to choose a freight forwarder?  On the face of it, it would seem pretty simple.  But in my experience, those who embark on the process of buying product from overseas can find it a bit of a challenge to select the right freight forwarder and customs broker for their business.  In many instances the intricacies of the logistics and supply chain process is not a core skill.

In general, as an importer you will – rightly – devote most of your attention to sourcing the right product, negotiating with overseas suppliers, obtaining product samples by international courier and/or visiting the overseas supplier abroad to meet with product managers, visit and inspect their site, quality control and obtaining an understanding of their manufacturing process.

When the overseas supplier assures you that they have their own forwarding agent with whom they regularly ship on a CFR (Cost of Goods and Freight) basis the challenge of the supply chain process and selecting a forwarding agent may seem to be alleviated.

So, job done – right?  Couldn’t be simpler to have the supplier handle the exporting too.  While this might seem like a big relief and a streamlining of a seemingly cumbersome process, there are often services and deals to be had by working with an Australian based freight forwarder and customs agent for two main reasons:

  1. The overseas supplier will book with their preferred agent, usually not to meet the needs of the importer, but to suit their own,
  2. CFR (Cost of Goods and Freight) is not the end of the story and often by the time the importers receive the invoice from the local receiving agent in Australia, a lot of unnecessary cost has been incurred which is often be due to the supplier’s handling of the negotiation. This is especially prevalent with LCL (Less than Container Load) cargo where, a whole system of rebates between the load port forwarding agent and the destination port forwarding agent are available.

How to choose a freight forwarder checklist:

  • Find your own freight forwarder and import on an FOB (Free on Board) basis to ensure control of costs, visibility and flexibility.
  • Understand and extrapolate what it is you really want and what your logistics needs are now and in the future. Ask the appropriate questions to qualify your freight forwarder candidate.
  • Select a forwarder who specialises in the market or industry you participate in. For instance, if you are importing clothing or footwear, find a forwarder that specialises in this.  There are a number of players in the marketplace that specialise in apparel logistics – large, medium and boutique.  It can be a good idea to match your business size relative to your industry to that of your forwarder.  For example, if you are a medium sized or boutique business you will have specific needs and may require a bespoke service to meet them.  Forwarders that serve a niche market tend to be more agile, flexible and adapt quickly to sudden changes to your freight requirements.
  • Pricing is important and it is imperative to not leave your money on the table, it is also important to find a forwarder that has good systems and processes and a good reputation amongst your peers. Your industry networks and social media can help you find a reputable company.
  • Ensure you understand what you will pay for your consignment and beware of extra or hidden costs.
  • Seek full transparency and integrity from your forwarder.
  • Choose a forwarder with an appropriate reporting or tracking system for visibility.
  • And finally, many forwarders in Australia have a wealth of knowledge about your origin country and markets and in many instances can provide you with the benefit of this to save you time, money and anxiety at all stages of the importing process.

 

If you would like a confidential discussion about your  importing and freight forwarding needs please call Edi Lenkic on 1300 651 888,  or if you’re in New Zealand call Paul Knight (09) 974 4818.  Alternatively visit www.magellanlogistics.com.au for more information.

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Magellan Logistics lands in NZ

Magellan Logistics New Zealand Limited has officially opened it’s doors in Auckland, with Paul Knight appointed as Magellan’s New Zealand Manager.

Paul has over 30 years experience in the logistics and transportation industries in both New Zealand and internationally.

Paul’s experience covers a wide range of business development and sales management roles, having been exposed to most industries, including working with clients in the textiles, footwear and clothing markets, across both imports and exports.

His wealth of experience has positioned Paul to appreciate that freight forwarders do more than just move freight – they provide a service which impacts a client’s profits which is affected by timeliness of both response and delivery. Excellence in service has been the single most important factor in successfully looking after his clients.

We are very pleased to have Paul join the Magellan team and the positive and pro-active approach that he brings with him.

Magellan has recognised the opportunity within the New Zealand market to both broaden the current services to our existing Australian clients who ship from both Australian and overseas direct to New Zealand, as well as offering the same high service standards to New Zealand based businesses. Magellan envisions replicating the great success and growth experienced in Australia, in this new and exciting marketplace.

“The role will be challenging as well as satisfying and rewarding for all involved and especially clients looking for extraordinary service levels, in the freight forwarding industry”, Paul shares.

Our New Zealand office contact details:

Suite 5, Level 1, 75J Porana Road,
Wairau Valley, Auckland, NZ 0760

International Telephone:

+64 9 974 4818 or
+64 9 974 4817

International Facsimile:

+64 9 974 4819

Postal Address:

PO Box 316-024,
Wairau Valley Post Centre,
Wairau Valley, Auckland, NZ 0760

________

We extend a warm invitation for New Zealand specific enquiries. Please contact Paul directly at paul@maglog.co.nz  or in the office on +64 9 974 4818 or +64 9 974 4817, or via mobile on 021 497024.

Or alternatively, you can reach our customer service team in our Melbourne head office on info@maglog.com.au or 1300 651 888

We look forward to assisting our existing and future New Zealand based clients, and our Australian clients with their freight forwarding, customs clearance and 3PL needs into and out of New Zealand.

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PROTECTING YOUR SUPPLY BASE

Most companies do not regard their supply base as intellectual property but they do so at their peril. Protecting your intellectual property is essential in this day and age as it provides a company or individual with a competitive advantage over other players in the industry.  Exposing your supply base to your customers can have dramatic consequences – the worst of which is the danger of your customer going directly to your supplier.

Australian retailers are well placed to deal directly with offshore manufacturers and indeed most of them have some direct supply in their product offerings. If you are currently supplying the larger retail chains with product you source from overseas you will have noticed an increased pressure to provide that product on an FOB basis rather than the traditional free into store approach. One of the dangers of agreeing to provide product on an FOB basis is the potential exposure of your supplier information to your customer – who could then quite realistically become your competitor.

Normally, when shipping goods from, say, China to Australia a bill of lading is cut with the consignor and consignee details listed on the bill. In normal circumstances the consignor would be the offshore manufacturer and the consignee would be the name of the entity that is to take delivery of the product. In the above FOB scenario the consignor would be your supplier and the consignee would be your customer. So it is easy to see that in this case your supply base is exposed. However, Magellan Logistics can help you with protecting your supplier information by manipulating the documentation to provide you with comfort that your valuable IP is being hidden.

The export documentation will be produced as normal and used for clearing the goods through the offshore Customs authority. However, once export formalities have been completed Magellan Logistics will raise a separate house bill of lading to indicate that you are the consignor and your customer is the consignee. Further, the invoice accompanying the shipment will be the FOB invoice raised by you on your customer. This documentation will be used to clear the goods through Customs in Australia. In this way, your supplier information is hidden from your customer and should go some way towards providing you with peace of mind.

As this is an extremely commercially sensitive area of concern we suggest that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be developed to ensure that all stake holders are fully aware of their obligations at each step of the way.

If you would like to discuss this issue further please contact Jeff Kershaw on 0418 543 994 or at jeff@maglog.com.au

AS ALWAYS – MAGELLAN LOGISTICS IS HERE TO HELP

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Chinese May Day Holidays

Chinese May Day Holidays are one of the major holiday periods across China. Most businesses and Government agencies will close during the period 1st May thru 3rd May inclusive (excluding Hong Kong).

Magellan’s China offices will be either closed or on skeleton staff during this time.

Please note the following when planning shipments.

SHANGHAI

Holidays from 1st May, returning  4th May.

AIR Cut off 30th April  (for both freight and documents).

SEA Cut off as follows:

ETD: 1st May , Cut-off: 27th April 18:00

ETD: 6th May , Cut-off: 29th April 18:00

Most other China offices will also be closed in line with Shanghai.

QINGDAO

Holidays from 1st May, returning 4th May.

AIR Cut off 30th April  (for both freight and documents).

SEA no change,  schedules remain unchanged.

HONG KONG

Holidays 1st May only.

AIR Cut off 30th April (for both freight and documents).

SEA no change, schedules remain unchanged.

Should you need clarification, or options available for freight movement around this holiday period, please contact the Magellan Customer Service team on 1300 651 888 or info@maglog.com.au

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Quality Control – Eliminate claims for non-compliant product

Traditionally, fashion companies have used buying agents or sourced resident teams to undertake quality control procedures at the manufacturer’s premises – either in-line or final quality control (Q/C).

However, this process has not always proved to be totally effective and product is often determined to be out of specification once it has arrived in Australia. Australian importers then need to engage in lengthy and costly discussions with their suppliers about who pays for what.

THERE IS A BETTER WAY AND MAGELLAN CAN HELP

Magellan can provide quality control facilities in its offshore warehouses that allow for detection of issues BEFORE the goods are exported. In the event of any non-compliance the goods are returned to the supplier for correction and re-delivery. This approach eliminates claims and the onus is put squarely on the supplier to get the product right BEFORE it leaves the country of manufacture.

Experience has shown that suppliers learn very quickly that if they deliver non-compliant product this will disadvantage them economically. It follows that self regulation becomes an imperative for them.

EXAMPLES OF QUALITY CONTROL PROCEDURES INCLUDE:

  • Needle detection
  • Button and stud testing
  • Swing Tag confirmation
  • Labelling confirmation
  • Thread snipping
  • Re-ticketing
  • Technical Q/C – (provided by client)

 

So, if you want to eliminate claims for non-compliant product in the future contact Jeff Kershaw at jeff@maglog.com.au or call on 0418 543 994.

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Easter Holiday Period 2015 – Magellan Logistics

happy-easter-magellan-logistics

Please be advised of the below Public Holidays in Australia – for the Easter Holiday Period.

Friday 3rd of April 2015 and Monday 6th of April 2015.

As a result Magellan’s Offices will be closed on these days..

Our offices will resume normal work operations on Tuesday 7th of April 2015.

Please also note that China/Hong Kong will also celebrate Ching Ming Festival together with the Easter Holiday this year, therefore their offices will be closed as follows:

China

Saturday 4th April 2015 returning Tuesday 7th April 2015

Hong Kong

Friday 3rd April 2015 returning Wednesday 8th April 2015

The Magellan team warmly wish you and your families a Happy Easter.

For enquiries, contact our office on +61 3 8318 9600 or info@maglog.com.au

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PRODUCTION ASSIST COSTS (“Assists”) Explained

What are Production Assist Costs?

Production Assist Costs relate to tangible and intangible assistance provided to a foreign supplier by an Australian buyer of imported goods. If this assistance is provided free of charge or at a reduced cost then the cost of this assistance (to the extent it is not already included in the price) needs to be included in the value declared to Customs upon importation. The production assist costs that fall within this description are commonly referred to as “Assists”.

Categories of Assists

a) materials, components or other goods that form part of the imported goods;

b) materials consumed in the production of the imported goods;

c) tools, dies, moulds or other machinery or equipment utilised in the production of the imported goods;

d) art work, design work, development work and engineering work (including models, plans and sketches) – the design of which has been undertaken outside Australia;

e) inputs in the production of the goods referred to in (a) to (d) above;

f) overseas transportation and packing costs relating to (a) to (e) above;

g) foreign customs duties, sales tax, or other duties or taxes on production tooling, work goods or subsidiary goods;

h) repairs or modifications to the materials, components, subsidiary goods, tools, dies, moulds, and other goods referred to above.

An example of a transaction involving “Assists” would be an Australian white goods wholesaler providing Australian standard electrical cords and plugs to a Chinese manufacturer for incorporation into Australian imported white goods. If the cords and plugs are provided free of charge to the manufacturer then the value of the cords and plugs would need to be added to the suppliers invoice price to arrive at an acceptable Customs Value.

It should be noted that it is irrelevant whether duty is being paid on the imported product as the importer has an obligation to report accurately to Customs and, as such, any under-valuation would fall within the ambit of the Infringement Notice Scheme.

As always, Magellan Logistics stands ready to assist with determining whether your business is exposed due to non-compliance with the above requirements. If you would like more information on this subject or simply wish to clarify any of the foregoing detail please contact Jeff Kershaw at jeff@maglog.com.au or by telephone on 0418 543 994.

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TRANSFER PRICING explained……

Have you done the due diligence required to ensure compliance?

 

Transfer pricing is the setting of the price for goods and services sold between controlled (or related) legal entities within an enterprise. For example, if a subsidiary company sells goods to a parent company, the price set for those goods is the transfer price. Transfer pricing does not apply to importers and exporters that deal with unrelated buyers and sellers.

It is a fact of life that multinational companies, from all sectors and in every part of the world, face difficulties with respect to the valuation of goods. These difficulties arise because transactions between related parties are subject to both customs and fiscal examinations and are thereby bound by differing rules and contradictory interests.

There are two reasons for this problem:

Firstly, tax and customs administrations, even within one country and sometimes within the same government department, have different approaches: tax administration focuses on intra-group sales’ prices that may be perceived as higher than they should be; whereas customs authorities control imported goods for which prices may be perceived as lower than the market price. While both administrations seek to achieve the same goal (which is arm’s length pricing) revenue interests in the transaction still remain at odds with each other. An arm’s length transaction is one in which the buyers and sellers of a product act independently and have no relationship to each other. The concept of an arm’s length transaction is to ensure that both parties in the deal are acting in their own self interest and are not subject to any pressure or duress from the other party.

Secondly, tax and customs administrations often set rules independently for the same transaction/good. Tax authorities seek conformity with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Transfer Pricing Guidelines which have been largely codified in many countries. This set of rules provides guidance on the application of the arm’s length principle for the valuation of cross-border transactions between associated enterprises, whereas customs authorities conform to Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Valuation Code – currently the World Trade Organization (WTO) Valuation Agreement.

This dichotomy, present in both developed and developing countries, creates a climate of uncertainty and complexity compounded by economic globalisation. It also leads to increases in compliance and implementation costs, absence of flexibility in the conduct of business operations, and creates a significant risk of penalties. Indeed, even when a company complies with both the OECD guidelines/principles and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Valuation Agreement, there is no guarantee that there will not be a dispute between two countries or two administrations in the same country on the determination of the arm’s length price. This means that valuation conflicts can arise not only prior to but also after an audit.

Given that intercompany transactions account for more than 60% of global trade in terms of value, the divergence of customs and transfer pricing valuation presents an obstacle to the liberalisation of trade and inhibits international development for companies of all sizes.

Magellan Logistics can provide advice on this complex subject. So if you are involved in cross-border trade with a related company and have reservations about the legality of your arrangements you should contact Jeff Kershaw at Jeff@maglog.com.au or by telephone on 0418 543 994.

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