The Importance of the Trucking Industry

A white truck running on the street in the morning.

A white truck running on the street in the morning.

The trucking industry is a very important one, in fact, many would argue that it is the most important one in the United States. Everything you’ve ever owned has probably seen the inside of a semi-truck at some point. We’ve all seen them on the road and while we might sometimes get annoyed with them, we must remember that our society would crumble without them. These huge vehicles are responsible for your food, your medicine, your clothes, and just about everything else you have ever touched besides the soil on the ground outside. In fact, a giant truck might have transported that too, you can never tell these days. 

 

Employment

 

Next time you decide to honk at a truck driver for going just a little too slow, think about the person inside that truck. They are doing a job that is very difficult and very vital to our society. Truck drivers typically work very long hours, spending hours and sometimes days on the road. They are pulling massive loads and can’t even see behind them for the most part. Truck drivers also have to spend days and weeks away from their families, which can be really difficult for any person to do. Truck driving is definitely an important but rather thankless job. 

 

There are over 800,000 truck drivers working in the united states today and they account for $30 billion dollars each year. That is a lot of money being out into our economy that we can’t afford to lose. Without the trucking industry, we wouldn’t really be able to buy anything because there wouldn’t be anything to buy. The trucking industry supports consumers and business by transporting products all over the country to be purchased by everyone. Truck driving jobs are very hard, and not many people really want to do it, so we need to appreciate the people that do. 

 

Being in the trucking business can get lonely and there are many days where drivers are on the road for more than 14 hours a day. They spend several days all alone in their trucks. Driving a truck is most certainly a living, but it also probably will not make anyone rich. 

The Economy

 

Our economy is never an easy thing to talk about. It’s a lot of numbers that account for the lives of a lot of people, but right now we only need to discuss how the trucking industry affects the economy. Not to be dramatic, but we essentially would not have an economy. With a country as huge as the United States, we need trucks to travel all around it in order to make sure that everyone can get what they need. 

 

Trucks transport pretty much everything that we could ever need. Think about it. Most of our country is not surrounded by water, so we can’t use boats for everything, and flying everything to where they need to go is far too impractical and expensive. Truck driving is our only option. 

 

Our economy relies on consumers buying goods and services. Our economy does not work if consumers cannot find goods to buy. The trucking industry is pretty much responsible for everything that we buy. Even if your items didn’t get there in a semi-truck, it is likely that they were shipped as raw materials in a truck to a factory where they then got assembled into the item that you ended up buying. 

 

A Little History

 

Before our country had the trucking industry, we had trains and pack animals. In order to get all of our goods across the country, they would be shipped in trains and would be transported locally with wagons and pack animals. The transportation industry changed forever when the internal combustion engine was invented in the middle 19th century. A short time later, a man by the name of Alexander Winton invented the first-ever semi-truck in 1898 and sold the first manufactured one in 1899. By 1914, there were approximately 25,000 semi-trucks in the United States driving around and delivering goods across the country. As the country started building cultures around motor vehicles and started building suburbs and highways in the 1940s and 1950s, the trucking industry only had more reasons to get even bigger. 

 

If you are in the trucking and transporting business, Cordova Brokerage has your back. We can provide you with cross-docking and warehousing if you would ever need them. Get your goods and services to your customers in a way that is quick and efficient. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, comments, and concerns. 

The Role of the Freight Forwarder and the Supply Chain 

The goods we purchase every day—from our clothes to our home appliances—have often traveled a long journey to get on the shelf on which we buy them from. Every day, the world continues to produce goods, trade them, and transport them across borders and across the globe. The international supply chain is a magnificent and complex living thing that is always changing, growing, and adapting to global changes, demands, and downfalls. Here at Cordova Brokerage, we love being part of the bigger picture that is the global supply chain. Freight forwarding is part of this bigger process that is happening every day. 

While it might seem simple on the surface, freight forwarding actually involves many different components and occupies a very strategic position on the supply chain. It might seem that freight forwarding is nothing but the movement of physical goods from one place to the other, it is actually much more than that. There is a logistical component that plays a big role in getting these goods safely, legally, and orderly to the right place, at the right time frame, on the right budget, etc.  

The Early Days of Freight Forwarding and How it Has Changed Over the Years 

As we covered in previous blog posts, the history of trade goes back hundreds of years. Freight forwarding, in some way or another, was always part of that process of trading across borders. As of 1800, the earliest freight forwarders were known to be innkeepers that helped the hotel guests to hold and ship forward their goods. Over the years, as trade and business progressed, the role of the freight forwarder became a more professional and controlled business to business enterprise that helped merchants and traders ship their goods to other parts of the world. 

Established in  1836, Thomas Meadows and Company Limited helped the transportation of items through contracting using a network of local carriers. These services also helped their customers with documentation, tracking, and in regarding to customs. As the decades went on, of course, the advancement in transportation systems increased trade and made it much more effective when it came to forwarding freight. This access to better transportation such as steamships and trains, international trade was facilitated and therefore increased. 

Freight forwarders play an important role in businesses trading their goods across borders. Customs regulations and legalities can often require a lot of paperwork, and a reliable freight forwarder is in charge of all of this paperwork. For many businesses, these can be quite time-consuming. 

The Use of Technology in Freight Forwarding 

While the customs regulations and rules are still very much an inevitable part of international trade, the use of technology has really facilitated all of these processes. There is still a lot of forms and documentation to fill out, but the advent of wireless internet and functional software, tracking and documenting freight has become much easier. This has allowed for immediate tracking and following shipments, as well as easy documentation. 

Ways to Tell if Your Freight Forwarder is Trustworthy 

Forwarding your goods from one side of the globe to another and across borders means dealing with customs regulations from both countries. This is why it’s important then to make sure that your freight forwarder is trustworthy and is an expert in the industry of customs and brokerage. A few ways to assess the professionalism of your freight forwarder include:

Flexibility: In a perfect world, everything would always go as planned. When dealing with products leaving the factory, however, and being transported, there are often unforeseen circumstances. A reliable freight forwarder knows the process and has the tools and the capacity to deal with last-minute changes. 

Transparency: At the same time, a good freight forwarder should be able to supply you with status and tracking and be transparent about the transport of your product. A good forwarder will have the capabilities for cargo tracking and always change information on updates and important changes. 

Proven expertise and reputation:  A freight forwarder will have experience and understanding of various aspects of international trade. They will have an effective and efficient process and all of this will be reflected in their expertise and their reputation as a business. At Cordova Brokerage, our hands-on experience has served us as the best education for perfecting and implementing the best process and effective workflow. 

Choose the Experts and Secure Your Freight the Right Way 

A trustworthy and competent freight forwarder is a necessary part of your international dealings. Don’t risk not being in compliance or losing part of your shipment for trusting a freight forwarder that was not prepared to handle your job. Here at Cordova Brokerage, our expertise lies in the supply chain, customs, documentation, and transport. Give us a call today and see how we can help you with your freight forwarding. 

The Origins of Trade & How to Get Started in the International Markets

a handshake superimposed over a cityscape at sunsetAs old as silk; as common as tea; as valuable as spices. The history of trade can be traced back for thousands of years. It’s almost something human beings are naturally inclined to do and a mutual agreement that is found in all civilizations. And, in fact, it was silk, tea, and spices that were the major trade items that sparked what would later be known as ‘international’ trade. Today, the biggest trading markets include the European Union, the United States, and China. Cordova Brokerage helps businesses dive into the world of international trade by helping companies establish secure and legal pathways for exporting and importing their goods. The trade industry, while lucrative, is composed of plenty of regulations and rules that can be difficult to navigate without the right level of experience.

The Early Days of Trading — A Human Impulse to Share Goods and Services

The early days of trading, however, involved domesticated animals like camels, carrying goods across lands. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and you have the famous Silk Road. The Silk Road, of course, refers to the ancient network of trade routes that were established during the Han Dynasty of China. The famous Marco Polo traveled on these routes. And some of the most common goods that traveled from East to West and West to East included silk, tea, dyes, horses, saddles, honey, fruit, and more. 

Trade was then continued and advanced thanks to the forming of new countries and the establishment of routes, as well as the invention of ships, trains, buses,  and airplanes. In 1946, the Bretton Woods system goes into effect; it had been planned since 1944. It was designed to prevent further world conflicts and depressions. In 1947, 23 countries to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This rationalizes and improves trade among nations.  In the ’90s the European Union formed and centralized their trading power. Only a few years later, in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect as well. This trade deal changes the nature of trade between the North American countries and really impacts the border region when it comes to jobs, trade across the border, and more. 

The Importance of NAFTA — How It Reshaped North America’s Economic Ties

You will often hear arguments about the impacts of NAFTA. Depending on who you ask and when you ask it, but one thing that is undeniable is the fact that NAFTA did have a big impact on how the three neighbors do business. It also facilitated trade, so it made it easier for goods and services to flow back and forth. It fundamentally reshaped the economic relations between the three countries and drove regional trade to triple as well as cross-border investment. 

As a brokerage company located on the border, we know the impact of the deal. We also know that the implementation of the renegotiated NAFTA—called the USMCA— will have its own impact as well. We wrote a little bit about that in a recent blog

Trading in the Modern Day 

Today, trade works very differently than it did on the Silk Road, although the idea is the same. A powerful country will want a strong trade agreement that allows them to bargain and bring terms to the table. 

How To Prepare Your Product for Import and Export 

Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in taking products to market in international markets. Whether it’s your first time, or you have been doing it for many years, the prospect of putting your products onto the world stage can be pretty exciting. Here’s a couple of things to consider right off the bat:

  • The name of your product. 
  • Packaging and labeling design. 
  • The size and quantity of your product

There is about $1. 2 trillion dollars worth of goods in the importing industry and about $772 billion in merchandise every year in exports that go to over 150 countries.  Every product you can think of is fair game to the global market. It’s why, if you have a successful business and a thriving product, trying your hand at the global market might be a good opportunity for you. 

The Possibilities that Lay at Trade’s Door 

Imports are important to all countries because no matter where you are there is something that cannot be produced or grown in your area. So importing comes down to three main things: 

Availability: There are some things that simply won’t be available naturally in certain areas.

Cachet: Some products develop value by the fact that they are imported from somewhere else.

Price: Some products are simply cheaper when they are brought in from another country, as opposed to producing locally. 

Every business needs its customers and finding your target audience and customer base is the next big step when embarking in international trade. Any manufacturer, supplier, crafter, or retailer is a good place to start or explore. You also want to consider the start-up costs and marketing costs in order to hone in on a specific audience more successfully. 

We Take Care of the Shipment, Forwarding, and Warehousing

Taking your business onto the modern Silk Road can bring lucrative opportunities for you and your company. For many, it opens up doors and increases investment and customer base. At the same time, the rules and regulations surrounding the transfer and shipment of goods and services across borders can get a little complicated and that’s why we are here. Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in the movement of those goods, the paperwork, the storage, and freight forwarding, in order to protect your investment. 

America’s Exports and Imports and Why Freight Forwarding is Necessary 

The new NAFTA is coming to town, slowly but surely. If you were anywhere on the internet during the 2016 elections, chances are you heard your fair share of news involving NAFTA and its possible renegotiations. Since the election of the new President, NAFTA has been a bit of a political football and in the midst of talks between Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Today, lawmakers are urging Congress to approve the final negotiated bill so that business can continue and the imports and exports to and from Mexico and Canada can move forward. 

So What is the New NAFTA?

The new NAFTA was renamed as USMCA and has a few of the former provisions in the old agreement. The agreement has some improvements for North American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. The goal is to support high paying jobs for all workers, including American workers, and include more balanced trade. The new bill was negotiated last year, but has been on hold until Congress ratifies it. 

The United States Imports and Exports

The United States is a land of opportunity, but it is also a land of innovation and creation. This is because the free market allows people to create and sell their products in the worldwide market. The United States is the third largest export economy in the world. This means that on any given day there are hundreds of goods moving across borders. That’s where we come in. We support the legal and efficient transportation of goods across the border. 

The Top Exports

The United States has several top exports and of the countries to which we export the most include Mexico and Canada, both bordering nations. China is the third.  Our major exports include:

  • Refined Petroleum 
  • Cars
  • Planes
  • Helicopters or Spacecraft 
  • Gas Turbines 
  • Medications 

Why Freight Forwarding Matters

Selling and trading your goods across the border is a lot more complicated than might first meet the eye. If you are new to exporting or importing business, all of the Custom regulations and inspections might come as a surprise to you but the truth is that the trade regulations can get a little complicated. This is why logistical services and export services are key. Freight forwarding is there to help ensure your products are following the necessary regulations and tracking.

If you are looking to take your good across the border, give Cordova Brokerage a call today. We can walk you through the process and more importantly take care of the logistics for you. Call us today!

How to Get Your Start in U.S Customs Brokerage

An aspiring customs broker finds out that he passed the customs exam

For most of the U.S population, customs brokerage is not a major talking point. In fact, customs brokerage is an industry that drives a nation but works in the background, like how the electrical wiring in your home is hidden but essential. For the few that think about brokerage, it can be a complex, exciting, and fulfilling job that opens up new ideas and perspectives. If you’re one of those people that find brokerage fascinating, we’ll take you through what you need to break into the customs brokerage industry.

Basic Requirements

According to U.S Customs and Border Protection, you’ll need to meet three eligibility requirements before you can become a customs broker. The three requirements include:

  • Be a U.S citizen 21 years of age or over
  • Not be a current federal employee
  • Possess good moral character

So if you’re old enough for a Bud Light, don’t work for the government, and aren’t a member of the mafia, you’re probably eligible to be a broker. Some companies prefer a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not required. This just covers eligibility; actually becoming a customs broker involves a few more steps.

Becoming A Certified Customs Broker

If you’re eligible, then the next step is to pass the Customs Broker License Exam. Before you freak out about the test, it’s an open book exam, so you needn’t stress about memorizing everything you’ll need to know. As far as what the test will go over, you can expect to see these topics:

  • The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)
  • Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations
  • Specified Customs Directives
  • Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements document (CATAIR)

These are the basics for a customs broker, so make sure to internalize all of this information. The test is four and a half hours long, and there is a $390 fee that needs to be paid a month in advance. If you receive a 75 percent or higher on the exam, congrats! You can move on to the next step, which is getting your customs broker license. Get ready to shell out another $200 for that, and to wait a while for background checks. Credit reports, arrest records, character references will all need to be reviewed before you are cleared. In the meantime, learn as much as you can about being a customs broker.

If you have any questions about customs brokerage or want to join our team, Cordova Brokerage can help. Contact us today for more information!

The Quick and Dirty of ISF in 2019: What You Need to Know

 

Container ship carrying container for import and export, business logistic and transportation by container ship in Atlantic ocean headed for America

If you’re reading this, you probably know that the world of import and export can be full of confusing information, especially in the current trade climate. ISF is no exception, and has gone through a number of changes since its inception in 2009. At Cordova Brokerage, we have an intimate understanding of ISF rules and guidelines, and wanted to give you a quick overview of how ISF has changed over the decade. 

ISF Overview

First, ISF stands for Importer Security Filing, which is simply a filing that details when, where, and how you plan to import goods into the United States. The ISF is usually referenced as a “10+2”, which refers to the information that the importer and carrier have to provide to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Below are the 10 pieces of data required from the importer, and the 2 required by the carrier: 

  1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  2. Seller (or owner) name and address
  3. Buyer (or owner) name and address
  4. Ship-to name and address
  5. Container stuffing location
  6. Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  7. Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  8. Consignee number(s)
  9. Country of origin
  10. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number to six (6) digits

From the carrier:

  1. Vessel stow plan
  2. Container status messages

This information is largely non-negotiable, and has to be received by CBP no later than 24hrs before the goods are set to leave for the United States, and you can be subject to significant fines if the information is not filed on time or appropriately. That is why we at Cordova Brokerage specialize in ISF, because it can be a complicated and costly process if not done correctly. 

Quick History of the ISF

The ISF was first conceived of in late 2008, as a way to more accurately track the flow of goods into the U.S. It was part of the SAFE Port Act, a bill that was signed into law under the Bush administration to bolster maritime trade security and record keeping. The ISF was a pursuant of this bill, but full finings didn’t begin until 2016. Now non-compliance can cost several thousand dollars, which will certainly eat away at any potential profits that exporting/importing can reap. Recently, as of May of 2018, the definition of an ISF Importer was broadened to include non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), and also to be the goods’ owner, purchaser, consignee or agent. It is important to keep up to date on all the changes to ISF, and we at Cordova Brokerage are bonafide experts when it comes to ISF and shipping. Call us today if you would like more information on filing, or would like to use our services for your goods and cargo. 

CTPAT & CBP: What Security Guidelines Do I Need to Follow?

importing and exporting across the globeWhen it comes to importing and exporting goods, there are certain guidelines you should follow that ensure the safety of you, other importers, and the countries to which you are importing and exporting. By following these guidelines, you can rest assured knowing you are taking the safest route and making the safest decisions when it comes to importing goods. While these guidelines put a focus on both importing and exporting, they are especially important when importing to the United States. In fact, most are required by the governing institution that has put them in place.

At Cordova Brokerage International, we are dedicated to upholding and enforcing strict security and safety guidelines, and we try to ensure that all of our trade partners and the importer clients we work with do so as well. We don’t do this because we are picky or selective but because we want to ensure that safety is kept at all times.

Who Sets These Guidelines?

These safety and security guidelines are set by two governing organizations: the United States Customs and Border Protection agency and the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. These two organizations work to keep our borders and the rest of the United States safe, something that should be on the minds of any importer importing from other countries.

At Cordova Brokerage International, we are CTPAT certified, so you can rest assured knowing we take the necessary steps to help protect our country from acts of terror.

Security Guidelines for Trailers and Containers

Part of ensuring safety when importing is knowing how to properly load trailers and containers while adhering to the guidelines set by the CBP. These guidelines include:

  • Following the seven-point inspection process for empty trailers and containers coming through the borders
  • Following the 17-point inspection process for loaded tractors and trailers

While this may seem like a lot, it is absolutely necessary (and also required) in order to maintain our safety. The last thing we want is for what should be a successful import from another country to turn into something that neither country wants. By following these guidelines, you are doing your part in ensuring that every import and export is safely given and received.

Contact Cordova Brokerage International Today!

If you’re in the business of importing and exporting, working with a customs broker can help make going through customs easier by ensuring you are meeting all the guidelines set forth by the CBP and CTPAT. By working with Cordova Brokerage International, you can make the customs process much simpler for your business. Call us today to learn more!

How Tension at the Border is Affecting Importing and Exporting

importing and exportingWith an increase in immigration, both legal and illegal, and a government that bases much of its “allure” on its opinions and actions regarding immigration, tension has grown on both sides. This coupled with people in need of a safer place, or country, to live has increased tension at our borders tenfold. This increased tension has affected where, how, how quickly, and what comes and goes through our borders. While both sides of the government have gone back and forth to improve and/or worsen these conditions, they can definitely have an impact on your business and the products you import and export.

Here’s how we can help.

#1: We Can Help You With All the Paperwork

During crises like this one, paperwork and processes end up becoming much more difficult, more so than it already is. We can help you with all of the necessary paperwork and processes needed to get through customs. This will help the process be much smoother.

#2: We Can Negotiate With Customs

Going through customs can be difficult in and of itself, but when you add high tension situations to the mix, it can be even more so. We can help you get through customs much more quickly so you don’t have to worry.

#3: We Offer Warehouse Storage

Travel times have increased since tensions arose, meaning goods are being stuck in one place much longer than anyone can plan for. Luckily, we offer warehouse storage options for your products,  so they can be protected as you wait to pass through. We offer temperature controlled and secure storage along with the option to supervise and manage your inventory online, ensuring everything is in place without having to manually check everything in the warehouse. This makes the process much easier.

Contact Cordova Brokerage International Today!

The tension at the border is a crisis right now. It may get better but it might also get worse. Why, of course, we want everyone to be helped and aided in the crisis happening, we can play our part by ensuring the supply chain is affected less by it than it could be. If you’re in need of help with importing and exporting products and goods for your business but are worried about what might happen when going through customs, we can help you. Give us a call today to learn more about the services we offer.

Why Might I Need Warehouse Services?

warehousingIn a perfect world, we wouldn’t need warehouse services. But this is far from a perfect world, and the unexpected seems to always happen. And what kind of world would this be if we didn’t have any delays? We live in a delay-ridden world where the unexpected happens and we have to prepare for whatever that unexpected thing is, and usually, that means needing to get warehousing for the goods we are importing and exporting internationally. The last thing you want is to have nowhere to store them while going through customs, especially if this process takes longer than usual (and it already takes a while). Having a warehouse to store your goods where you know they’ll be safe from damage, theft, and spoiling is a good way to obtain peace of mind.

Here are a few reasons why obtaining warehouse services from us here at Cordova Brokerage International, in addition to our many other imports and exports brokerage services, is a good idea.

#1: Unexpected Customs Delays

Relations and going through customs these days are always changing and quite unexpected. You never know when or why there might be a delay with trying to get through customs. The last thing you want is for your imports to be stolen, damaged, or go rotten while waiting for you to get through customs. Our warehouse services provide you with a reliable place to store your items just in case of unexpected customs delays.

#2: Poor Weather

You never know when the weather might strike and leave you stranded while trying to make it through customs. Whether it’s a bad winter storm, dust storm, or thunderstorm, you want a place that’ll keep your valuables safe from the harmful effects of the weather. That’s exactly what you get with our comprehensive warehouse services.

Always Stay Protected

Life, especially if you work in the business of importing and exporting goods internationally, is unexpected. You always want to stay protected and prepared for whatever life hands you, especially in this kind of business. One way to do so is to work with a brokerage firm like us to help you get through customs more smoothly and to give you a safe place to store your goods.

Call Cordova Brokerage International Today!

If you’re in need of reliable and dependable international brokering services, Cordova Brokerage International is the place to call. Contact us today so we can help you!

The Benefits of Working with a Customs Broker

customs broker mapIf you work in or own a business that deals with importing and exporting goods, you know just how tricky and stressful the job can often be, especially if you import and export goods from outside the country. With high tension between countries, dealing with customs while bringing in or taking out goods can be quite the nightmare. A customs broker can help you if you work in this kind of business. At Cordova Brokerage International, we’re dedicated to helping businesses master the importing and exporting game by serving as a customs broker for them.

Benefit #1: Customs Brokers Work With Government Agencies on Your Behalf

Working with government agencies can be a lengthy, stressful process when you don’t have someone on your behalf talking to them. Customs brokers with government agencies so you don’t have to worry. They will fill out paperwork, meet, discuss, and do what is needed to do with these agencies in order to get things rolling.

Benefit #2: Customs Brokers Calculate Tariffs and Fees

Figuring out how much money is needed to cover tariffs and fees when importing and exporting can be difficult. A customs broker is trained to determine these numbers so you can prepare financially for the expenses you’ll need to cover when importing and exporting goods. You can focus on other aspects of your business while this aspect is taken care of for you.

Benefit #3: Create Better Market Strategies

When it comes to running a business—no matter the kind of business you’re running—creating better market strategies is a must if you want your success to continue for years to come, and that’s just one of the many benefits of working with a customs broker. Customs brokers are trained to better understand the market, specifically the international market, and can help you create strategies based on what they have learned.

Benefit #4: Customs Brokers are Licensed

Lastly, by working with a customs broker, you can bypass many of the licensing issues many businesses in this industry face. A customs broker must be licensed and ca, therefore,e help you with certain activities that require this kind of licensing.

Contact Cordova Brokerage International Today!

If you’re looking to work with a hardworking customs broker in order to help your business thrive, we can help. We have the licensing and expert knowledge of the international market needed to help you be successful. Give Cordova Brokerage International a call today to learn more!