As a proud member of the NCBFAA, Mullins International Solutions takes the Hill annually to meet with our Senators & Congress to discuss and present issues that are important to the international trade community.
This past Tuesday, September 13, 2016 I had the distinct pleasure and honor of joining hundreds of international trade professions from across the country, including a delegation of 17 from GA representing eight companies (CH Robinson; EMO Trans; Future Forwarding; JAS Forwarding; John S. James Co; Lee Hardeman CHB; and Lisa Ragan CHB) as well as the Atlanta International Forwarders and Brokers Association and the Independent Freight Forwarders & Customs Brokers Association of Savannah.
We met with the following representative offices:
Senate – Johnny Isakson & David Perdue
House – Buddy Carter, Stanford Bishop, Lynn Westmoreland, Hank Johnson, John Lewis, Tom Price, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen, David Scott, and Tom Graves.
We presented position papers on ACE/ITDS: An Unfinished System; Port Congestion; Labor Negotiations; Demurrage; Infrastructure and Harbor Dredging; and Congressional Action Needed on Water Resources and Development Act of 2016
ACE/ITDS: AN UNFINISHED SYSTEM
We urged Congress to continue funding and mandate that DHS/CBP make the ACE system fully functional. Addressed also was the outages that plague the community and bring our work to a standstill creating significant business disruptions. Additional concerns were expressed in regard to the increase from $200 to $800 for low valued entries; the size limits of data now required to obtain release; House Bill of Lading release for ocean imports; and the Automated Invoice Interface which had been replaced with a manual DIS provision.
Port Congestion: A Follow-up report
We asked Congress to require DOT to utilize the port metrics analytic approach provision that was added to the Highway and Transportation Funding Act to develop data for providing transparency on port congestion and efficiency. In regards to the labor negotiations of the ILWU and the ILA, we encouraged them to take a strong role in promoting the dialogue. In our conversations with Congress we detailed the FMC’s jurisdiction over the inappropriate application of demurrage charges in times when port operations are suspended due to extreme weather or other disruptive events. We called on Congress to continue navigation program funds at last year’s level in the CR and to, at a minimum fund TIGER in excess of $500M for infrastructure and dredging.
Congressional Action Needed on Water Resources and Development Act of 2016
We informed Congress that it is critical that Congress act in this session to pass WRDA reauthorization legislation that expands and modernizes our ports and waterways to compete with the rest of world. And on 09/15/2016 S. 2484 passed in the Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 95 – 3.
During the conference we also had the opportunity to address the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Customs, FMC, as well as other CBP and TSA officials.