New Vessel Sharing Alliances and Potential Effects on the International Moving Industry

Champion International Moving wishes to make you aware that as of April 1, 2017, fourteen of the
largest steamship lines have merged their shipping services and vessels into 3 main alliances, which will
handle about 88% of all cargo moving globally.
In 2016, the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping sent shock waves through the maritime shipping industry,
which was already extremely competitive and under intense pricing pressure. These alliances were
formed to strengthen the shipping industry as a whole and reduce the chance of additional lines going
Through vessel sharing and route sharing, the steamship lines expect to see an increased demand for
space on‐board their vessels, resulting in a strengthened economic position across their industry.
However, this reduction in the number of steamships on the water could also potentially limit the
number of shipping options available. It may also mean longer transit times, as steamships will call on
more ports along each voyage.
Champion plans to book containers with the steamship lines as far in advance as possible to avoid any
potential shipping delays or capacity issues.
We will keep you updated as the situation progresses.

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Our own Jason Paschel graces the pages of the September issue of Mobility Magazine

Jason P in Mobility Magazine

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Champion International makes the move to Facebook

It's been a long time coming but we've finally arrived - on Facebook, that is.  Champion International has created a Facebook page to share our "softer" side:  in-house events, local and national conference photo ops and the other fun things that not many get to see.  We already have a LinkedIn page to convey the business info:  industry alerts, impactful worldwide events and other topical news so our Facebook page will be a good balance.  If you want to take a peek at Champion's lighthearted side, please check out our page.  You can click the links at the top of our website to take you right to either place, or click here: or 

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UNITED STATES/GLOBAL (Jan. 6, 2016) – The year ahead: Immigration trends to look for in 2016

Immigration was a hot topic this year, grabbing headlines on issues ranging from the renewed focus on H-1B visas in the U.S to the Mediterranean refugee crisis reverberating in Europe.

As we begin the new year, BAL has compiled a review of changes in the past year and a preview of some of the major immigration trends to expect in the U.S. and key countries around the world in 2016.


The fate of two key provisions of President Obama’s immigration executive actions is in the hands of the Supreme Court. The actions, which would defer deportation for 5 million undocumented immigrants, remain on hold after an appeals court upheld an injunction blocking them this year. If the Court takes the case, it could issue a ruling by June.

On the business immigration side, several significant initiatives will be implemented in the coming months. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published proposed regulations intended to provide greater flexibility and job portability for H-1B workers and other foreign employees in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas or seeking employer-sponsored green cards. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until Feb. 29, and the regulations will be implemented thereafter.

The Department of Homeland Security will also be finalizing and implementing a STEM-OPT regulation that both expands Optional Practical Training (OPT) opportunities for foreign students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and imposes significant new obligations on employers. The revised regulation is the result of an ongoing lawsuit over the OPT program. A court gave DHS until Feb. 12 to issue a new regulation without disturbing the existing STEM-OPT regulation in the meantime. The agency’s request for a 90-day extension of that deadline is pending. Meanwhile, opponents continue to challenge the OPT program in a federal appeals court.

During the first half of 2015, USCIS issued a regulation allowing H-4 spouses of certain H-1B workers to obtain employment authorization in the U.S. The agency also released policy guidance regarding the implementation of the Administrative Appeals Office decision Matter of Simeio Solutions, and the adjudication of L-1B petitions for employees with specialized knowledge.

Congress wrapped up the year passing a federal budget containing two immigration provisions that will have an impact in the coming year. One provision will double H-1B and L-1B visa petition fees for certain employers who are heavily reliant on H-1B and L-1B workers. The second provision contains new rules and passport requirements for foreign visitors traveling to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.

A spate of bills to restrict H-1B and L-1B visas was introduced at year’s end. The bills propose to lower the H-1B cap by 15,000, set a $110,000 salary floor for H-1B workers and place new limits on H-1B and L-1B employers. While these measures may not gain traction, they are indicative of a mood toward tightening the rules for employers hiring foreign high-skilled workers.

As the 2016 presidential election approaches, immigration will likely remain at the forefront of campaign politics.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Courtesy of

For details on additional countries, please continue reading here:

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One of our own runs to give back

Champion's very own Jeff Warzinski (Operations Manager) participated in the 11th annual 5k run at the San Diego IAM Annual Meeting in October.  Not only did he run the race, he came in 2nd overall and 1st in his age group with a field of over 100 runners!  Congratulations, Jeff!

Please check out the write up in the Dec/Jan issue of FIDI Focus (Jeff is in the upper left photo in the orange shirt):

FIDI article

Full article

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5 Things You Can Do To Drive Corporate Culture


Tech companies may get all the attention for creating engaging and collaborative workspaces and strong corporate cultures, but the truth is that employee engagement benefits businesses in any industry. Enerplus, a medium-sized oil and gas company based in Canada, has made corporate culture a major emphasis in the last few years, and the results have been phenomenal. Keep in mind that this is a VERY conservative industry that isn’t really known for progressive ideas about the workplace. However, not only is Enerplus driving innovation and inspiring other companies across the industry, it is also attracting top talent and can see revenue stability during a tough time in the industry. I sat down with Lisa Ower, Vice President of Human Resources, to learn the secrets to Enerplus’ success and to see how the principles can be applied to any business. Lisa and Enerplus are members of the Future of Work Community, a global brand council devoted to exploring the future of work, they have allowed me to share this information publicly.

Here are five things you can do (and that Enerplus has done) to drive corporate culture with great results:

1. Get leadership on board. Just like changes to benefits packages, stock information, and training procedures need the support of upper-level management, so does an employee-driven corporate culture. Although much of a strong corporate culture should be organic and develop from grassroots efforts, having the support and encouragement of leadership is key in implementing lasting change. Although corporate culture is for more than just the big tech companies, showing the stock prices and employee satisfaction scores from companies like Google GOOGL +1.78% and Netflix NFLX +2.91% can help persuade board members and senior management that developing employee engagement can have a major impact on the bottom line. Once you have management’s support, stay on their radar with consistent updates, feedback, and innovative ideas. While it may take some time to get all board members on the same page, having upper-level support makes the entire process much easier.

2. Listen to employees. No one is living your company culture more than your employees, so getting their feedback is vital. Instead of reacting to existing issues in a brash and impulsive way, use survey data to understand your employees’ current perceptions of the culture. When it comes to making changes, employees are much more likely to listen and help innovate if they feel valued and engaged. Take advantage of a wide variety of data sources, such as employee surveys and focus groups, to truly understand the business mindset. Employees notice when you take the time to listen to and value their input, which can engage them in the process and excite them about new possibilities.

3. Practice what you preach. Embedding culture in your people practices and daily interactions is crucial. Many companies come up with a culture statement or catchphrase and hang it on wall posters without really thinking about it or applying it to normal work life. The most successful corporate culture-driven companies realize that employee engagement comes through practicing what you preach and incorporating your company’s driving principles into every aspect of every day. It’s easy to use buzzwords like collaboration, innovation, and empowerment, but what are you doing to truly incorporate those principles into your employees’ everyday life? The culture at Enerplus revolves around five heart values: honesty, engagement, accountability, responsibility, and teamwork. Instead of just throwing the words around, the company puts them into action, like exemplifying teamwork with regular cross-departmental think tanks and forums, or by showcasing accountability by running an unlimited vacation days schedule that allows employees to take the time they need for personal matters as long as their work gets done.

4. Make it fun. People buy in to things they feel have value and enrich their employee experience. A session on leadership development can be incredibly dull, or you can use it as an opportunity to extend your culture through innovative activities, collaboration, and feedback. This could be as simple as offering mixer events for employees or using pop culture references or hosting a gameshow to explain complex business concepts. No matter the industry, corporate culture is a place that allows creativity to shine through. If you are encouraging your employees to be collaborative and innovative, your cultural plan needs to reflect that as well.

5. Measure and adapt. Creating a strong corporate culture isn’t something you can simply cross off a to-do list and be done with. Just like individuals, businesses are living, changing organizations that need constant adjustments as personalities, economies, and practices change. In order to see real change, you must be constantly adapting and perfecting your ideas and processes (especially when you want to see that same change agility in your people). One of the best ways to do this is to have the employees continuously involved through surveys, think tanks, focus groups, and more. Enerplus found that when they asked employees for feedback, employees were incredibly creative with their ideas and willing to add to the corporate culture experience. And don’t be afraid to rethink everything; as Lisa says, “The future of work is ever evolving and if we do not allow for creativity and innovation, we will continue to be dinosaurs in our space… we all know what happened to the dinosaurs!” Culture varies for every company, so keep tinkering and trying new practices until you find what works best for your organization.

Creating a corporate culture isn’t something that happens overnight—it is a journey. However, that’s not to say that every company can’t benefit from investing time in engaging and empowering employees. After all, corporate culture not only sets the company up for success financially, it also brings in talented recruits and improves morale for a stronger and more cohesive organization.

Courtesy of

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LA-Long Beach container ship backup reaches 2-year high

12 ships were anchored in San Pedro Bay on Tuesday morning waiting to berth. Source: Marine Exchange of Southern California

Twelve container ships were anchored in the waters off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this morning, the most waiting at one time in San Pedro Bay in two years, surpassing the previous record set on Oct. 26 as congestion continues to crush the largest container gateway in the Americas.

The queue dipped to eight on Monday, down from nine on Sunday but up from seven on Saturday and six on Friday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. Last week, the high was on Thursday, Nov. 6, with 10 ships at anchor in the afternoon.

Waiting for berths this morning were APL Holland, operated by APL; MSC Francesca and Navarino, operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co.; YM Efficiency and OOCL Kuala Lumpur, operated by OOCL (USA); Hammonia Roma, operated by Hapag-Lloyd; Hanjin Netherlands, operated by Hanjin; Ever Deluxe and Ever Learned, operated by Evergreen; Cap Corrientes, operated by Hamburg Süd; NYK Meteor, operated by NYK Line; and Shengking, operated by Interocean Steamship. Four of those ships were due to berth today, with another four set to arrive, the Marine Exchange said.

In the next three days, 19 container ships are scheduled to arrive; of those, 15 are due to berth and four are set to anchor.

There’s usually zero wait times for container ships at Los Angeles-Long Beach, according to Capt. J. Kipling Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of California, a sign that congestion remains a serious problem at the port complex.

The Marine Exchange has been providing with daily updates on container ships anchored in San Pedro Bay since the end of October.

Courtesy of

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And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Donna Socha, GMS - Vice President, Client Services at Sibcy Cline Relocation Services!  Donna is the winner of the #75 Devon Still Bengals jersey that Champion International Moving raffled off in an effort to support pediatric cancer research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our drawing.  

Please read more about Devon Still, Leah and the donation to the hospital:

Here's what Cincinnati Children's will do with $1.3M from Devon Still jersey sales

Nov 7, 2014, 11:10am EST

The nearly 15,000 football jerseys ordered by people who rallied to support Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still and his daughter Leah, a 4-year-old battling cancer, resulted in a $1.3 million donation to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. A check was given to Michael Fisher, CEO of the hospital in Avondale, during a break in Thursday night's nationally televised game against the Cleveland Browns.

Leah, who is being treated for neuroblastoma at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, attended the game at Paul Brown Stadium downtown and helped present the check. It reportedly was the first time she had ever watched in person as her dad played in the National Football League.

The Bengals lost, 24-3, but the money could eventually help researchers beat cancers that afflict kids.

"This donation from the Cincinnati Bengals is a significant one and will greatly improve our ability to conduct cutting-edge research on pediatric cancers such as neuroblastoma," said Dr. Brian Weiss, director of the neuroblastoma program at Cincinnati Children's.

The money will help researchers tackle complex, hard-to-treat cancers such as neuroblastoma, which affects the sympathetic nervous system. The donation will also help in research efforts involving DIPG brain cancer, the type affecting Lauren Hill, the Mount St. Joseph University basketball player who has raised public awareness of the disease.

Charity sales of Still's No. 75 jersey ended Oct. 20, with 14,945 ordered. Nike is still manufacturing jerseys, and the last of the current orders probably won't be delivered until December. The NFL reported the jersey is the 11th best-selling one in the nation. Production began in September, when Still was on the team's practice squad and Leah's story became known to the public.

"My job is to get my daughter's story out," Still said during a recent visit to Cincinnati Children's. "That's the easy part. You guys have the hard part. … You're the ones who give kids a chance at life."

The Bengals covered the production of the first 10,000 jerseys, which cost the team about $500,000. The full $100 sale price of those jerseys went to Cincinnati Children's. The Bengals also turned over all profits on sales of the rest of the jerseys to the hospital.

Courtesy of

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UNITED STATES (Oct. 30, 2014) – Four states implement quarantines for certain travelers

Illinois, New York and New Jersey announced mandatory quarantine procedures last week for travelers arriving or returning to the United States from Ebola-stricken countries. California followed yesterday with quarantine protocols but stopped short of imposing a blanket rule.

The policies are in effect at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, O’Hare International Airport as well as all airports in California.

Anyone traveling from Guinea, Liberia or Seirra Leone who has had contact with someone confirmed to have Ebola – including health care workers and volunteers – are subject to a 21-day quarantine even if they exhibit no symptoms. The quarantine requires home isolation and providing temperature readings to state health officials. New York and New Jersey have made the quarantine mandatory. In Illinois, the quarantine is also mandatory, though officials carved out an exception for medical workers who followed appropriate protective measures. California, meantime, said it will consider quarantining on a case-by-case basis and only for those who have had contact with a person with a confirmed case of Ebola.

New York is also requiring that all individuals with a travel history to any of the three Ebola-stricken West African countries, regardless of whether they were in contact with an Ebola patient, be monitored by state officials, and if necessary, quarantined.

A nurse who was put under a mandatory 21-day quarantine by New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has criticized the isolation measures as having a chilling effect on health care workers. She has tested negative for Ebola and remains under quarantine. President Barack Obama has also spoken out against such quarantines that go beyond the federal response.

BAL Analysis: The four states are the first to announce quarantine protocols related to the Ebola outbreak. All travelers flying from the affected region should be prepared for the extra screening and quarantine measures.

Courtesy of

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Champion looks to help sack pediatric cancer

On game day, Steelers’ fans and Bengals’ fans couldn’t be farther apart about who we support.

But off the field, those of us in Steelers’ Country are huge fans of the Bengals in their support of defensive tackle Devon Still, his courageous daughter Leah and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Champion International Moving – based in the heart of Steelers’ Country - has purchased 2 Devon Still jerseys from the Bengals’ Pro Shop:  one to donate to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to be gifted to a patient and one which will be raffled off in an online drawing through our website

Per the hospital “All proceeds from Still jerseys ordered through the Bengals’ Pro Shop will benefit cancer research at Cincinnati Children’s.”

As of the Oct. 20th conclusion of the team’s Still jersey sale, 14,945 jerseys had been sold, raising over $1,250,000 for the hospital in support of pediatric cancer research.  Champion International Moving is incredibly proud to support this research.

*For your chance to win the #75 Devon Still Cincinnati Bengals jersey, please visit our website and enter your full name, company and email address – easy as that.  Your co-workers are invited to enter too, so please feel free to share the link with them*

The contest will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 28th at 12pm EST and will close on Friday, Nov. 7th at 4pm EST.  Winner will be chosen on Monday, Nov. 10th and will be notified via email.

To read more about Devon and Leah’s story

Champion will not intentionally sell, share, or distribute your personal information to third parties.

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Draymen Face chassis shortage in NY, NJ

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Chris Dupin
The Port of New York and New Jersey is being severely impacted by a shortage of chassis needed to deliver and pick up containers at marine terminals, according to drayage companies and forwarders/custom house brokers.
“There are no chassis available in the Port of New York,” said Jeff Bader, the president of Golden Carriers and president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers, a group that represents port truckers.
“Everyone’s hoarding chassis, which they have to do in order to do their business. We're not going into a terminal unless we have a chassis to make a pick-up,” he said.
“I'm getting calls from people I haven't gotten calls from in years, asking me for help to move freight. It's the perfect storm as they keep saying. There's not enough chassis, not enough labor. Everyone that's available to work is working. And if I had 10 more trucks, we'd put them on, too."
The port, like others around the country, has been severely impacted by winter weather and a dispute with the Waterfront Commission for New York Harbor about the hiring of additional workers, including workers who repair and maintain chassis.
Steve Schulein, a director at National Retail Systems, said that at a meeting of the bi-state association, “the majority of the truckers there were really up in arms about the condition and the lack of chassis."
He said representatives from two chassis leasing companies at the meeting said there was a shortage of equipment and said they are making an effort to re-position chassis, but that there is a lack of maintenance workers to repair the equipment.
Schulein said there has been an improvement in the turn times at terminals, where most drivers are able to get in and out of the terminals in about four or four-and-a-half hours, including waiting time outside of the terminal. Some are able to make a turn in three hours, whereas last month, some truckers were reportedly waiting much longer.
“The chassis, in a nutshell, are one of the biggest issues we have,” he said.
Charles Riley, vice president at Steer Company and president of the New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association, said the shortage “does have a big effect” on importers, as some truckers are only able to get one move in a day at the terminals.

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Last Impressions Count too…

-Caroline Cooper, from Customer Experience Magazine

We’re all familiar with the sayings about a first impression: a first impression is a lasting impression, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you only get one chance to make a first impression, you will form a lasting impression within the first seconds, etc. So does that mean if you make a great first impression that’s all you need to do?

We sometimes put so much energy into a positive first impression that we then forget all about the lasting impression. What is the impression that stays with your customers when they leave your businesses or complete their transaction?

What will be the lasting memory that stays with them when they’re thinking about buying or booking again, telling their friends or colleagues, or telling the world on social media or review sites about their experience?

When I’m working within a business reviewing the customer experience I always ask them to imagine the conversation or the feelings and thoughts they’d like their customers to have when they’re on their way home from doing business with them.

In my world that might be the whole family in the car on their way home from an active day out, a couple sat on an aeroplane on their way home from a relaxing long weekend, or a walk back to the office having indulged in a lunchtime treat. But whether your customers come to you for – business or pleasure – ask yourself what would you want them to be saying or feeling after doing business with you?


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4 Critical Steps To Connecting With Customers

Customers have expectations about products, services and interactions long before they walk through a company’s door or arrive at its website.

Friends, family, social networks, product and service ecosystems and brand attributes affect a customer’s perception of a company and every interaction they have with it. Fulfilling those expectations and transforming them into lifelong relationships involves a culture change that begins by looking at value from the customer’s point of view.

Building relationships and understanding why people do what they do are critical steps to attracting and retaining loyal customers. And it takes time. Relationships are built on trust, and trust is built over the span of multiple, consistently good interactions.

So how do companies build lasting customer relationships — and how do they maintain them? They connect the company’s DNA to the customer’s DNA and follow four critical steps.

1. Understand the customer. Companies are encouraged to understand each customer’s unique expectations, how the customer feels about the experience during the interaction and the memories that last long after the interaction has ended. Active engagement and experience tracking across all phases of the journey can help a company understand the customer — rationally and emotionally.

2. Enable the experience. Understanding is good, but that is just the beginning. To enable the experience, companies must map the customer’s expectations to organizational processes. This includes following the customer journey from beginning to end; identifying the most common situations that propel customers to buy products or services; analyzing interaction points that indicate where a customer may be tuning in or out; and designing the people, processes and technologies that can create unbreakable lifetime relationships.

3. Optimize the relationship. For this next step, companies may want to consider striking a balance between the value the company provides to the customer and the value the customer delivers to the company in return. An optimal financial performance enables a company to stay invested in the heart of their business — the customer. Organizations must simultaneously streamline business operations and improve the consistent quality time spent with customers in order to build trust. This happens most effectively when all functions understand how their activities contribute to the delivery of customer value.

4. Align the organization. Change management is a critical element, yet its scope extends beyond people to include processes, tools, management, metrics and culture. In addition to executive leadership and a willingness to empower the organization, companies will also want to create an experience-oriented organizational governance structure and an engaged employee workforce to help build loyal customer relationships.

Truly connecting with the customer is the most important step to building mutually valuable relationships. It’s as important as the products or services themselves. By aligning people, processes, tools, management and culture, companies can build trusted relationships that last a lifetime.

Julie Harter is an executive director in the Advisory Performance Improvement — Customer practice of Ernst & Young LLP. She is based in Chicago, Illinois.


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Polar Vortex, Backlogs Put Stress on Transport Networks

JOC Staff | Jan 17, 2014 10:04AM EST        

The polar vortex didn’t put the U.S. into a deep freeze for long, but the widespread chill is still causing transportation problems for shippers, railroads and drayage truckers. Those problems may be contributing to stronger-than-usual business for over-the-road truckers.

The cold snap hit some transportation networks at stress points, and resultant delays are a warning of what could happen if freight demand were to rise more quickly in 2014.

In addition to problems related to the cold weather, train derailments, port backlogs and what appears to be higher than usual general freight demand in January are testing transportation networks and shipping capacity.

Drayage drivers in the Chicago area hit with record freezing temperatures have grappled with malfunctioning rigs, delaying the pick-up and drop-offs of loads at intermodal rail terminals and shippers’ distribution centers, said Jason Hilsenbeck, president of LoadMatch &

The cold has also hampered diesel-fueled cranes at intermodal terminals. The lack of extended ramp storage, along with a shortage of chassis, has also frustrated drayage drivers, he said.

The railroads and terminal operators want to get the containers out of the terminal, and that results in containers sitting on chassis. “But drivers can’t handle new boxes if they don’t have free chassis,” Hilsenbeck said.

As a result, shipments piled up, and some shippers reportedly are diverting freight away from intermodal rail to avoid delays.


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Gulftainer’s UAE Terminal Ranked No. 1 Port in EMEA

Jan 15, 2014

Sharjah, UAE– January 15, 2014: Gulftainer, the world’s largest privately-owned independent port management and logistics company, based in Sharjah, UAE, increased its market dominance in 2013 by serving and controlling one-fifth of total containerised trade in the GCC region. The significant milestone was achieved as a result of streamlined operations and commercial efforts supported by high productivity, quick turnaround time and efficient customer support.

This achievement is further underscored in a global port productivity report recently published by the Journal of Commerce in the USA, which ranks Gulftainer’s Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) as the top performing port facility in Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The report ranks leading ports based on a set of strict criteria and measurement principles and looked at 63,500 ship calls at major ports around the world. KCT was also recognised as one of the top three productive port operations globally.

Read more

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Per Shipco Transport - USA Advisory - NY/NJ Terminal Congestion / Chassis Shortage

USA Advisory

NY/NJ Terminal Congestion / Chassis Shortage causing Delays

Last week we announced extreme congestion at APM and Maher Terminal affecting NY customers as a result of the Hercules storm 2 weeks ago, followed by the below freezing temperatures the following week. Unfortunately, the situation at the NY / NJ ports has not improved. It has become apparent that these ongoing congestion delays may affect other branches of Shipco Transport.

We are still experiencing extensive delays due to labor shortage and now an extreme chassis shortage. Our drivers stand in line all day to come back empty handed as they are not able to get the containers. We are still dealing with limited trucker moves per day. We are not aware yet of when this situation will improve. We are trying to pick up our import containers that become available daily but are sometimes not successful due to these issues, which is why you might see we dispatch more than once. Please keep in mind that we (Shipco) are doing everything possible to try to make sure all cargo is loaded as scheduled and getting late gates where ever we can, but there might be some that roll beyond our control.

Phone Line delays - Due to these terminal delays, we are experiencing heavier phone volume, while our staff is trying to answer all calls you may experience longer waiting time. For imports, you are able to get status updates and availability thru our website at If you do not have a current login/password, you are also able to track on ICT's website under

We thank you for your patience during this time.

Contact us for bookings and inquiries

Atlanta +1 404 767 0246 | Boston +1 617 267 3009 | Charleston +1 843 744 8336 | Chicago +1 630 616 9100 | Houston +1 713 861 2100 | Los Angeles +1 562 295 2900 | Miami +1 305 591 3900 | New York +1 201 356 3500 | San Francisco +1 650 588 0363 | Seattle +1 206 444 7447

Courtesy of Shipco Transport  

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Little Changes Matter A Lot--And Other Innovation Lessons From LEGOs

You can do far more with what you’ve got than you realize. And innovation is easier than you can imagine.

Consider a LEGO brick. How many combinations do you think you can create from just six simple, eight-prong squared LEGO bricks?

Maybe a thousand? Wrong. Try higher.

A million? Not even close. Six regular LEGO bricks offer more than 900 million combinations.

That’s an essential truth about innovation that I learned recently from my Forbes colleague, David Sturt. There are infinitely more options than you realize in any situation.

Sometimes little tweaks solve big problems

There are several implications of the LEGO principle. For one thing, a few simple and small changes can result in big new things. Sturt has pointed out that that most innovations aren’t spectacular “outta the box” reinventions or revolutions. Rather, they’re minor twists on the current reality.

Innovation most often happens from adding or subtracting one or two pieces that are already in place.

Read more on on innovation in the workplace

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West Coast Ports to See New Threats in the New Year

JOC Staff | Jan 06, 2014 11:46AM EST        

Port of Los AngelesPort of Los Angeles

U.S. West Coast ports have arrived at a “crossroads” in 2014, according to the head of the Pacific Maritime Association.

In the next 12 months, U.S. West Coast ports will have to continue their fight for market share in the Asia-Pacific trade in the face of potential labor instability, productivity challenges and emerging competitive threats such as the expansion of the Panama Canal and growing volumes to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal.

However, James McKenna, president and CEO of the PMA, said in JOC’s 2014 Annual Review and Outlook that 2014 represents an opportunity for West Coast ports to solidify their position as the “gateway of choice” for goods being sent to and from Asia. West Coast ports will be well-positioned if a new longshore labor contract can be negotiated this spring without disurption on the docks and if bigger ships now calling at West Coast ports can be handled efficiently.

PMA, which represents West Coast shipping companies and terminal operators in their dealings with longshore labor, will be tasked with negotiating a new labor contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents West Coast dockworkers. The talks are set to begin in April in preparation for the expiration of the parties’ current six-year labor contract on June 30. If negotiations turn sour, as they did in the 2002 and 2008 negotiations, there may be delays to container movements, and the reputation of West Coast ports as effective gateways for trade could suffer.

Continue reading

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Top Business Executives Name Their 10 Must-Have Mobile Apps

Full article from 

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'A real mess': Up to 100 million face mammoth winter storm - per NBC News

Some of the U.S.'s biggest cities braced for what's expected to be another mammoth snowfall and blizzard-like conditions in the Midwest and the Northeast — with as much as a foot and a half forecast through Friday.

Winter storm warnings stretched from Chicago through the New York tri-state region into New England — affecting an area home to more than 100 million people.

Officials in New York, New Jersey, and other areas of the East Coast are preparing for a major winter storm, warning residents to avoid travel. NBC's Tom Llamas reports.

Snow began to fall in Boston, the first major city on the East Coast to be hit, at around 1:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.

"It's going to be a long-duration event," said Michael Palmer, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "The wind is going to whip around the snow and reduce the visibility, creating near-blizzard conditions in Boston, much of Connecticut and then down maybe as far south as New Jersey and even New York City."

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning on Long Island in New York beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, predicting inch-an-hour snow with 45 mph winds during the worst of it Thursday night. Blizzard conditions also are warned for Cape Cod and coastal Massachusetts.

Full article

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Champion Holiday Schedule

Our office will be closed for the Christmas Holiday on December 24 & December 25 and closed on January 1 for the New Year Holiday.  Warmest wishes to you and yours. 

Christmas Holiday 2013

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Weakened Typhoon Hits Vietnam After Devastating Central Philippines, Heads for China

Mike King, Special Correspondent | Nov 11, 2013 9:23AM EST 

People walk among debris next to a ship washed ashore in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan at Anibong in Tacloban, the Philippines on Nov. 11, 2013. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images.

More than 10,000 people are feared dead after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) caused widespread devastation in the central Philippines on Friday and Saturday.

In the worst affected areas, communications systems have been wiped out; roads, ports and airports remain closed, and hundreds of thousands of displaced people are struggling to find clean water, food and shelter.

Lufthansa has lent its hand to the relief effort by sending 25 tons of aid free of charge on one of its wide-body jets to Manila to speed up delivery of emergency supplies to affected areas. “In catastrophes, every hour counts in the provision of aid and the logistics are paramount,” said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Lufthansa Cargo Chairman.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., has announced plans to make a donation of US$30,000 to aid those affected by the typhoon in the PhilippinesThe main portion of its donation will go to those on the island of Leyte, through the group company Magsaysay MOL Marine, Inc., a Manila-based seafarer manning company founded in 1997 as a joint venture with Magsaysay Maritime Corp. MOL said it is planning other relief efforts as the situation unfolds.


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London Gateway to Open for Business on Nov. 6

London Gateway, the first major new port to be built in the U.K. for several decades, will open for business on the north bank of the River Thames on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

The arrival of the MOL Caledon, a 5,000-TEU container ship operated by Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in a joint, weekly Europe-to-South Africa service, will launch a fierce battle for cargo with Felixstowe, the U.K.’s largest container port further up the east coast.

The $2.4 billion deep water terminal, located 24 miles east of downtown London, will handle the MOL Caledon at its first berth, which will be followed by a second in April and a third by the end of 2014.

London Gateway, which is owned by DP World, will have an initial annual capacity of 1.5 million 20-foot-equivalent units.

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2013 Worldwide ERC, Dallas, TX - October 2013

2013 ERC Group

2013 ERC Booth

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FIDI Focus article - Aug/Sept 2013 No. 256

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Champion is always working hard for our customers, even when our customers are working hard!

Tricia Danielsen, The Nielsen Company

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Foreigners will need a non-criminal record certificate to work in Beijing

Monday, June 17, 2013 | By: Weijing Zhu

In addition to the new visa regulations that will take effect in July, foreigners who work in Beijing will also need to prepare criminal record clearances to receive work authorizations. Applicants will have to provide a “police clearance certificate” (non-criminal record) from their country to apply for work permits. The same applies to foreigners in China who transfer to work in Beijing. KTA elaborates on the details regarding this new regulation:“The certificate must be issued by the relevant public security or judicial authority in the applicant’s country of nationality, and must show that the applicant has no criminal record from the age of 18 through the present. The certificate must be legalized by a Chinese diplomatic post in the country of issuance. The Beijing Labor Bureau has not provided guidance with respect to applicants who reside in a country other than their country of nationality, except to advise that the regulations are still in development. The certificate will be required during the first stage of the application process. For standard work permit applications, it will be required when the employment license application is filed. For applications sponsored by a representative office of a foreign company, the certificate will be required when the work permit application is filed, as employment licenses are not required in these cases. “KTA goes on to say that Beijing is the first city in China to require this certificate, but it is unclear whether other cities will follow. If you are working or planning to work in Beijing, perhaps you should start looking up ways to obtain a (non)criminal record from your country, and figure out how to get it notarized by your embassy after you receive it.

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Creating Winning Customer Service Experiences That Matter to Customers

By Flavio Martins, Published January 19, 2013

After each customer interaction, the greatest question is, was the customer experience enough to keep that customer doing business in the future?

There’s a vast amount of research and special studies that take place looking into what makes a winning customer service experience. Is a winning customer service experience about marketing? Is it a sales process? Is it just about the product? Is it the customer service people involved? What is it that makes customers choose your business over the competition. What makes your customers continue to use you, instead of choosing your competitor?

If you dive into the information available from the successful customer focused companies, there’s one trend that is common between them all. Even though these organization are not limited to one business sector, not one specific industry, there’s one thing that they all share. No, it’s not really a secret. It’s a basic principle that they all agree is fundamental to delivering winning customer service experiences.

It’s about consistency.

The most effective customer experience is a consistent one

Author Michael Gerber calls this key to delivering a winning customer service experience “orchestration”.

“Orchestration is the glue that holds you fast to your customers’ perceptions”.

Think about it from the customer’s point of view. What happens when you deal with organizations that seem to be completely disconnected internally. Organizations that seem to be unorganized. Organizations that create frustrations when they can’t seem to align the various departments that have access to your data. Organizations that have poor workflows for dealing customer support issues. Think of growing disappointment that customers have to deal with when your organization fails to orchestrate or align and deliver a consistent great experience to your customers.

Your customer experience example

From the first interaction with your company, a customer begins to form the perception of the customer experience. We’ve done a decent job at creating positive first impressions. But what happens after that initial customer interaction? What is the experience after that initial sale is made? Consistency is the key to ensuring that the customer knows that your organization is committed to delivering what they need each and every time.

If we fail to deliver once that initial impression is made, the customer will come away thinking that all we wanted was to “take their money and run”. It’s a common frustration expressed by customers and it’s a reason why customers are reluctant to buy. We’re constantly having to re-invent the sales process and come up with ever more creative psychological tricks to getting customers to buy now, but why? Because customers are afraid of the “buy” button. Customers don’t want to say “yes”, because they’ve had to deal with too many “no”s from businesses when they need something after the sale is made.

Creating customer experience consistency

How do we create consistent winning customer service experiences?

  • Winning customer experiences are built by focusing every action to create the desired customer loyalty result.
  • Winning customer service takes commitment to getting, training, and keeping service focused employees who can make people happy.
  • Winning customers takes businesses that weigh every business decision against the needs of the customer.
  • Winning customers requires consistently delivering the type of experience that customers expect.

Customers may not always be dealing with the same person, they don’t need to. Customers won’t always contact the same department, you don’t need to have just one group working with customers. What customers need is to know that regardless of who they work with, what department they have to interact with, the result for them will be the same. So build your customer service experience processes to win the customer.

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Hundreds of flights delayed, canceled as holiday storms travel across country

By NBC News staff and wire reports

Some 683 flights were canceled or delayed early Wednesday as storms across the U.S. continued to cause travel chaos for millions of travelers.

Before daybreak on Wednesday, the travel website reported that 372 flights were canceled and 311 delayed. The disruptions come as many families will be trying to make their way home after the holiday celebrations.

Travel on the roads was also affected with icy conditions reported across the nation’s midsection.

The storms contributed to a 21-vehicle pile-up Tuesday that shut down a major highway in Oklahoma City, as well as tens of thousands of power outages.

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