25% duty rate for goods being imported into the USA.

The main media outlets have comprehensively covered the ‘Trump 25 % duty rate’ and for companies in the trade it is worth going into more detail.

Firstly, the 25% rate applied from 10 May 2019 but for shipments that left from China before that date and are already in transit the previous 10% duty rate will apply.

The higher duty rate of 25% ONLY applies for imports from China to the USA.

Terms of sale for Importing FOB or Ex Works, what’s best?

Terms of sale are almost universally used when trading internationally. When importing from China or importing from India, by air or by sea freight, terms of sale, whilst not incorporated in law do provide clear lines regarding responsibilities and who pay what costs in international freight.

There are some anomalies, not surprising really as Incoterms where first introduced in 1936 and they always seem to struggle to keep up with international trade despite numerous re-writes.

Container freight rates from China & the Far East

Whether it’s due to Brexit fears or maybe just a lack of business confidence, freight volumes from China and the Far East are in the doldrums. The consortiums of shipping lines have tried to push rates up by restricting capacity so in the process 115000 TEU (20ft equivalent units) of container slots have been removed from circulation by cancelling sailings and either mooring up ships or slower steaming.

This has had the effect of some erratic scheduling as services have been combined with lots of containers being transferred from one ship to another on route.

US Customs duty rate surcharges 2019

Just when we thought US duty rates had settled down we hear of a new proposed set of surcharges for 2019.

These are being proposed on ‘national security grounds’ the target being the automotive sector, both finished cars and car parts. The proposal was submitted to President Trump on the 17 February this year and he has 90 days starting from the date he received the report to decide to accept the recommendations in part,

How does Brexit affect imports from China ?

We have been asked this question many times over in the last few months.

The answer is there’s no need to panic as the UK’s biggest port for container traffic is Felixstowe and it handles a small amount of EU origin cargo so the effect should be minimal, furthermore there are no planned changes to the import customs processes and procedures for non EU goods entering the UK  through the whole Brexit process.

Importing to the North of England

Now that Liverpool port can handle the biggest ships after its recent expansion at Liverpool 2 terminal it is making increasing sense to import through the Port of Liverpool. It’s not just the congestion at Felixstowe, and Southampton but also container haulage prices. These are increasing each year well ahead of inflation as the shortage of drivers continues to bite and there is not sign of them reducing any time soon.

Big Importers such as B&M Bargains with their 600 shops are at the forefront of this change to importing into the North of England directly and they have given themselves a target of 80% of their imports through the Port of Liverpool for 2019.

Shipping Line Alliances

Shipping Line Alliances:

You may be under the impression that there are a whole host of shipping lines operating on the world’s major trade lanes, all competing against each other to carry your business.

The reality has been rather different for quite some time as the shipping lines operating on the major trade lanes have formed a series of alliances that have pooled their ships and operational infrastructure and so operationally they operate as one company.

SOLAS regulations – Container Weighing



If you or your suppliers send goods by sea in containers  will become mandatory for all containers  worldwide to have their Verified Gross Mass (gross weight) declared prior to loading on a ship from 1 July 2016.


This is an important change from the current system where weights are advised at the time of booking by the party loading the container and this weight is passed to the ship’s owner,

Container shipping set to make a loss in 2015. Bad news for all in the long run.

A toxic mixture of over capacity, weak demand and predatory pricing by some of the larger players is forecast to produce a loss  for the whole industry in 2015.

Earlier this year the respected industry consultancy, Drewry forecast that shipping container carriers would collectively make $8 billon profit in 2015. They have now revised their forecast and advise that they will be lucky to break even. The more likely scenario is that the majority of carriers will be in the red.