The Borderless Solution

Faster and Easier LTL CAN-US-MX Services

More often than desired, companies are facing delays at the US/MEX Border, most of the time is due Border Clearance. Well, there is a Borderless Solution it might fit your needs.

 

This Borderless Solution allows you to relax on the following items:

  • Mexican Border Delays;
  • Transfers;
  • Documents;
  • Government Compliance;
  • Border Clearance.

It will ensure these items are in order and will provide you with scheduled consolidates LTL and Ad Hoc FTL Road Feeder services to and from airports of Mexico.

 

Picture this?

Your cargo is ready, 3 pallets that you need to schedule it; it goes to Mexico City… Before you know, you are dealing with SLI, AES, making arrangements, multiple emails for your customer in Mexico… NO NEED!

With this Borderless Solutions, you just need to email your general instructions along with your commercial invoices and packing list. Then your three pallets will arrive within an average of 5 days to Mexico City from your location.

You won’t even expect to bear with common border delays because of the customs agent of your customer or any other event. Don’t you hate not having a certainty of the transit time?

 

How do this work?

It is a combination of bonded and domestic trucking services that prevent delays, paperwork hassles, it is the promise of a cross-border LTL service in North America.

It is a combination of expertise, knowledge, innovation, technology and key partnerships.

It is a combination of the real advantages of the standard truckload delivery methods between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

It is cutting the paperwork and the delays at the borders, providing door-to-door service in one invoice, taking full responsibility of the entire route and do it all in transit times no one ever believed possible while keeping cost in control.

It is a combination of customs brokerage services with transportation services, along with bilingual staff professionals, well-trained and certified for freight handling.

 

Benefits?

Other than mentioned, this Borderless Solution can help you expanding your business across the border, getting your product close to your customer with fewer delays, quicker and keeping cost in control.

  • Certainly, in the transportation charges all the way though destination
  • Door-to door pick-up and delivery service
  • One waybill per pallet
  • No clearance at border
  • Direct trailers
  • Regularly scheduled departures: 3 to 5 departures a week
  • Terminals in West Coast and South Central US
  • Bonded USA and Mexico
  • C-TPAT certified, gps, team drivers, tolls roads
  • Internet tracking
  • Physical proof of delivery
  • Electronic signature and delivery confirmation
  • Loss insurance options
  • Shorter transit times
  • Reduction in coordination fees
  • Working with only one trucking company
  • Average savings range from 10 to 20% compare with airfreight

 

Here is a costing example for you to see:

3 Pallets Class 85 1800 lbs. ex Chicagoland , IL to Mexico City Airport

Standard LTL

Borderless LTL

Air Freight

US Transit Time

2-3

2-3

3-4

Border Waiting Time

2-3

0

0

MX Transit Time

2-3

2-3

0

Overall Transit Time

6-9 days 4-6 days

3-4 day

Cost

$621

$757

$1,800

Often faster than Air Service with significant cost savings!

 

Are you still wondering if this is the right solution for you?
Contact us now to provide your routes, volume, needs, and requirements. We will then present an optimized custom proposal for your organization.

Shippers Liability

Can I be held responsible for damages in a commercial truck wreck if I’m just THE SHIPPER?

 

When there is an accident that involves a large vehicle, such as a 53’ Dry Van, used during the course of business and/or for the transportation of commercial goods, any person or entity can be sued for causing the accident. Here’s is how YOU as a shipper could be held responsible:

 

If you retained control of the commercial truck at the time of the event

It will be essential to determine the type of employment relationship between the TRUCKER and the SHIPPER or FREIGHT BROKER in order to determine the degree of control a broker or shipper has over a truck driver and, consequently, whether the broker or shipper can be held responsible for the trucker’s actions (or lack of action).

In general, there are two types of employment relationships between a broker/shipper and a trucker: principal-agent relationship and independent contractor relationship.

In an independent contractor relationship, the trucker (or “owner operator”) is hired to produce a specific result (i.e., make a delivery). Under an agreement like this, the broker or shipper does not have the authority to control how the job is carried out, therefore a broker or shipper’s liability is limited should a trucking accident happen.

Under the terms of a principal-agent relationship, the driver would be acting as an “agent for the shipper (the principal), meaning that the shipper (instead of the carrier) would be retaining control of the load and the driver, and could be held responsible for damages. Some of the factors that determine whether the shipper kept control at the time of the event are:

  • whether the driver was contracted directly by the shipper,
  • whether the driver was paid directly by the shipper,
  • whether the shipper set parameters for how and when a delivery should be made (created deadlines) and
  • whether the driver had to regularly check in with the shipper.

 

It is important to point out that a contract between a broker or shipper and a truck driver will not necessarily determine the relationship between these parties accurately. The most common arguments are that the trucker may have been misclassified, or that there might be an actual principal-agent relationship with the broker/shipper, based on how the relationship played out during the course of employment.

The evidence needed to prove that a principal-agent relationship exists between a broker/shipper and a truck driver include: the original contract between the broker/shipper and the truck driver, the truckers’ log books, shipping or cargo receipts, records maintained by the broker or shipper, and/or copies (or recordings) of communications between the broker/shipper and the trucker.

 

If you are found guilty of negligent selection

Another common accusation against a shipper is “negligent selection”. A shipper is responsible for choosing a competent and safe contractor to do business with, and may be liable for damages in a commercial truck wreck if it can be proven that they did not choose properly.

This is where we introduce the term “sophistication”. It refers to the amount, frequency and size of shipments. The more sophisticated a shipper is, the higher the duties will be if they are found responsible for failing at proper selection of a competent carrier.

The most common defense against negligent selection is that the shipper chose a specific carrier based on its satisfactory rating with the FMCSA. The most common argument is that the employer should have performed a deeper research to make sure that the carrier is not manipulating business practices to avoid unsatisfactory ratings, however, this is a weak argument, since it would require a never-ending investigation.

 

If you failed to advise of the hazmat nature of you load

This scenario would only be applicable if the shipper failed to advise the trucking company of the hazmat nature of their goods, and if injuries resulted because of this. Essentially, it comes down to the shipper’s duty to inform.

As a matter of fact, anybody can be sued for causing a truck accident. Including the truck driver and the trucking company, the owner of the truck, the shipper, as well as any other drivers, people or entity who in any way contributed to the accident, such as the manufacturer of one of the vehicles involved, the manufacturer of a tire or the owner of any public or private property whose negligence contributed to the accident. Liability can even be shared among the parties involved and you should always take the correspondent State’s laws and regulations into account.

 

How common are truck accidents?  

There are approximately 5,000 deaths, 100,000 injuries, and 500,000 trucking accidents every year in the USA.

As a shipper, no matter how well you complies with cargo safety standards, you will never be exempt from truck accidents. However, there are always safe and reliable ways to protect you and your goods when using EP America’s transportation solutions.

Want to learn more? Contact us now and we will give you a complimentary consultation.

Laredo Contingency Update

10 days after the border zone of Laredo, TX and Nuevo Laredo, TAMPS in Mexico was hit by a destructive storm on May 21, causing significant damages and the temporary closing of both customs facilities (Bridge III / World Trade Bridge), authorities (CBP/SAT) have now issued an update on the resumption of the processing of the following modes of commercial traffic through these customs:

Imports (Mexico to the U.S.A.)
7 a.m. to midnight or beyond until last queued truck processed.

 

Modes processed:

  • Empties (tractors and trailers) and including automotive racks in empty trailers which are considered items of international commerce
  • FAST and C-TPAT certified companies
  • Informal Entries
  • Agriculture (perishables)
  • Automotive products
  • FDA-regulated products: FDA will monitor these shipments electronically and place holds as deemed necessary to coordinate further inspection
  • Machinery

 

Exports (U.S.A. to Mexico)
7 a.m. to midnight or beyond until last queued truck processed

All modes of commercial traffic processed

Additionally, commercial traffic is being directed from World Trade Bridge to Colombia-Solidarity Bridge as a contingency measure which was communicated by a trade bulletin to bridge users on May 21. It is important to mention that CBP and Mexican Customs operations at Colombia-Solidarity Bridge are in good working order, unaffected by the storm. Traffic flows in the following lanes and hours of operation:

 

For exports from Mexico to Laredo: Lanes 3,4, and wide loads for Colombia, Lanes 4 and 5.

7 a.m. to midnight (or beyond until last queued truck processed)

*All modes of commercial traffic processed

 

For imports to Mexico arriving from Laredo: Lanes 1, 2 and 3, for Colombia, lanes 4 and 5.

7 a.m. to midnight or beyond until last queued truck is processed

*All modes of commercial traffic processed

 

BP strongly encourages the international trade community to maximize the use of early morning hours, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., since during these hours there is minimal traffic.

 

EP America is committed to keeping our customers and partners updated on this situation in order to ensure shipments in route are managed efficiently.

The TRUTH behind Cargo Liability in Cross-Border Shipments

Often, U.S. and Canadian companies doing business in Mexico question, and even fear, the liability of Mexican Motor Carriers for cargo loss or damage. Most of the time the challenge is the inability of Carriers to purchase the same level of cargo liability coverage for shipments traveling in Mexico, there is almost no market to do so. It’s important to arrange additional cargo insurance for the Mexican portion of the journey, which you can usually do through your logistics service provider.

While Carriers in the U.S. and Canada are required by law to carry cargo insurance, Carriers in Mexico follow a very different law landscape. Despite this, not offering any coverage for loss and damage in Mexico is generally not a viable legal option, commonly US Carriers offering door-to-door service have limited or no liability coverage for shipments once they cross the border into Mexico.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, cross-border shipments between the United States, Canada, and Mexico were intended to be subjected to the cargo liability requirements of the nation of origin. Here is a comparison of coverages between countries, note the inequality of liability between them.

  1. For shipments originating in Canada have a maximum cargo loss or damage value of $2.00 CAD per pound.
  2. For shipments originating in Mexico have a maximum cargo loss or damage value of $0.025 USD per pound.
  3. For shipments originating in the United States, Carmack applies, and unless shippers otherwise have limited your cargo exposure lawfully, carriers could be liable for a $1 million cargo loss if an expensive machine originating in the United States was damaged beyond repair.

So, you can now see the existing imbalance; let’s take a closer look at what happens in Mexico.

Mexican Law Background

Article 66 of the Mexican Law provides that: “…When the user of the service does not declare the value of the goods, liability will be limited to an amount equivalent to 15 days of the minimum daily wage in force in Mexico City per ton or the corresponding proportionate part of a metric ton that was damaged or lost…”

At the current U.S. Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rates, this amount is the equivalent of about USD $0.025 per pound. Obviously, shippers should be concerned about such a low liability limitation in the event of damage, theft, pilferage or hijacking of trucks carrying their goods. Unfortunately, U.S. Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rates have made an impact since the Mexican Peso has been devalued significantly during the last 5 years.

Under the Law of Roads, Bridges, and Federal Motor Transportation, if the shipper chooses to declare the value of the goods, it must agree to pay an additional charge so that the carrier may secure insurance coverage for the goods. If the shipper exercises the option to declare the value of the goods (and pays the higher rate), the carrier will be liable for the loss or damage up to the value declared, even when the cause is due to force majeure or fortuitous cause. Article 67 establishes the value declaration requirement, but it does not specify where or how the declaration needs to be done.

Options to consider:

Although some Mexican carriers believe that the value of goods must be declared on the bill of lading itself, a blanket declaration of value in a contract between the parties is sufficient to hold a carrier liable for the higher amount.

The FIRST option is to negotiate a transportation agreement with a logistics provider with a footprint in Mexico, where their carriers provide either full liability or a more acceptable limitation related to the value of the goods, such as $25 per pound or $100,000 per trailer or container.

SECOND option is for the shipper to obtain its own inland marine (cargo) insurance. Most U.S. policies do not cover transit loss or damage in Mexico, but it is possible to obtain an endorsement for this coverage. In order to cover for the value of freight while it’s in Mexico, many shippers add a separate endorsement to their global insurance policy for cargo coverage.

THIRD option is to arrange additional cargo insurance for your cross-border shipments as a whole or even only for the Mexican portion of the journey, with your logistics provider.

Third-party logistics companies, freight brokers, freight forwarders and/or customs brokers can manage more coverage options than your common Carrier, and better still if they have a footprint in all three areas.

Key considerations by service type and transport mode:

Full Truckload

  • Shortages within pallets, missing pallets, and damages can remain hidden until the product is unloaded at its destination when using Direct Services (same trailer all the way), therefore, it is quite complicated, and lengthy, to prove where the OS&D incident originated.
  • When using Transloading Services (different trailers), shortages within pallets, missing pallets, and damages can be discovered at the border by the company performing the unloading/loading, which can be the Carrier (if they offer those services), or a warehouse or a freight forwarder, but more often, this occurs at customs broker facilities. The condition of the cargo should be documented and reported immediately to the shipper for claims before the cargo crosses the border.

Less-than-Truckload

  • Shortages within pallets, missing pallets, and damages should be discovered by the freight forwarding or customs broker company that receives the cargo before crossing the border. If there is any OS&D incident, it has to be reported immediately to the LTL Carrier, so they can send an adjuster in order to recognize the event. If you cross it, shipper loses the ability to file a claim.

When the unexpected happens within Mexican territory:

  1. The Mexican Carrier’s Legal Representative files a police report immediately for its trailer and tractor. The police report stays open indefinitely until they find it; they may find the tractor but not the trailer.
  2. The owner of the cargo can file a claim to the Carrier for total theft including cargo cost, weight, and dimensions.
  3. With this claim, the Carrier has the obligation to pay the limited liability dictated by Mexican Law.

Best practices

  • Remain calm and contact your logistics provider immediately after an incident notification.
  • Open a dialogue with your logistics provider to have the facts straight.
  • Learn about their procedures; most carriers have a special team to handle unexpected situations.
  • Talk to them about expectations.
  • Check your own insurance coverage and theirs.
  • Be patient until the police finds the trailer and cargo, keep in mind GPS trackers are for tractors, not for trailers, if only the trailer is stolen, it’s going to be more difficult to find your cargo.
  • Set a contingency plan, you don’t know how long it will take to find your cargo or when there will be a final resolution.

EP America can work with your company to set a plan to mitigate as much as possible the risk of shipping freight to/from/within Mexico. Some of our cargo coverage solutions for your Truck & Rail Shipments to/from/within Mexico are very affordable with premiums as low as 35.00 USD minimum for new general merchandise.

Pros if exporting all the way to Mexico

Why you should consider shipping door to door in Mexico. You might be missing a good opportunity…

 

If you have exports to Mexico but only ship to Laredo and let your client assume responsibility in Mexico you may have missed a good opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your Mexican customers.
Today most US companies doing business with Mexico send their goods Ex Works (EXW) to avoid any issues with border crossing, documentation, taxes and fees.
On the other hand, companies who sell their goods with freight included (DAP) find that they often improve development and growth in their businesses including generating more revenue.
There is more control of the supply chain since there is greater visibility for your clients allowing them to track their cargo more easily and having a single point of contact to make decisions. You also ensure the fast processing of your shipment and avoid down time strengthening your process.

 

You also strengthen the shipper’s or consignee’s purchasing and negotiating power being a longer distance to quote.

 

In conclusion, the level of satisfaction of your customers increases by removing the burden of the process, resulting in greater loyalty and stronger business relationships with them. At EP America our specialists are ready to help you exceed your clients’ expectations by assisting you until your cargo is delivered.

I don’t need a Freight Forwarder… or do I?

If you work in logistics you have most likely received at least one call or email from one of them telling you about their services and how they will tackle all the frustrating aspects of your process so you don’t have to worry about details. So you know who they are and what they do, and have probably made up your mind on whether they bring something to the table, but do your really know what a freight forwarder could do for you?

 

1. Save you time and provide flexibility

Imagine the company you work at just closed new business and needs to start shipping on a lane your current carriers cannot cover for. Arranging these type of shipments can be very time consuming when you have little or no experience on a new route, especially if it’s international. This is where freight forwarders come in! They remove the burden of scrutinizing carriers, comparing prices and negotiating using their knowledge and experience.
But even though we will never be able to foresee market changes or know what the shipping needs of your company or clients will be in the future, can you imagine having an expert taking care of these shifts while you just seat back and receive notifications on how it’s all being solved?

 

2. Provide you with simplicity and control

Now imagine that one of your international shipments got diverted to a wrong destination or got delayed at the customs. A forwarder will use its expertise, resources, and networks to find the origin of the problem and immediately take action while still giving you full control with only one vendor and a single point of contact to make decisions. Have you ever had a hard time with a shipment? To forwarders it is just another day at the office.

 

3. Save you money

The most common misconception about forwarders is that they are just “intermediaries”, who will make profit out of something a shipper could be doing itself. While this could be true with other third party services, a forwarder knows what carrier is better for each route, has stronger relationships with them, and is able to achieve economies of scale by negotiating volume. Additionally, when there’s an increased seasonal workload, a forwarder can save your company the costs of hiring and training new staff.

So you thought forwarders could only benefit shippers?
Carriers are always busy making arrangements or handling overcapacity! While it might take you a while to get a hold of your contact, a forwarder is much more customer friendly and reduces the carrier’s workload by filtering inquiries and requests. On the other hand, forwarders serve as salespeople for carriers, expanding their market and giving them stability without having to invest on hiring their own agents.
In the end, each company will use the service that better fits its process and needs, but whether you handle daily shipments or have your customers route their cargo, keeping an experienced forwarder handy is always good for emergencies or if you are looking to make your process simpler, faster or even reduce some costs.
EP America, provides the most reliable service for OTR shipments going to or coming from Laredo, TX and Mexico, our specialists in our offices in the U.S. and Canada are ready to assist you on your next shipment.