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Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Strikes Exporters

Exports to Australia: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) SeasonBrown Marmorated Stink Bug, pictured here from Penn State's Department of Entomology

Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has developed measures to manage the 2016-17 brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) season. In addition to standard import requirements, these measures affect ocean FCL & break-bulk shipments of targeted tariffs imported from the United States between 1 September 2016 and 30 April 2017. A complete list of the exact commodities subject to these measures can be found here. The department considers goods transported on flat rack containers to be break bulk cargo. LCL shipments are excluded.

Break bulk goods treated for BMSB before December 1, 2016 must undergo treatment within 96 hours of loading. Containerized goods sealed after treatment and arriving with seals intact are not subject to a treatment window. Break bulk goods treated on or after December 1, 2016 are unlikely to become re-infested, so are not subject to a treatment window. Commodities manufactured after December 1, 2016 are exempt, as long as they are accompanied with a Not Field Tested (NUFT) Declaration that includes the Date & Place of Manufacture. A good is only considered to be newly manufactured after 1 December 2016 if all of its large, complex components have also been manufactured after 1 December.

Treatment Certificates must identify the Cargo Treated & include a unique identifiable link to the consignment, specify the date, type & timeframe of treatment and include a plastic wrap declaration. Australia’s Document Requirement Policy is available here.

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Review: “Supply Chain Transparency”

Sadie Keljikian, Top Billion Finance
Recently, ‘supply chain transparency‘ has become a paramount issue for the American consumer. Manufacturers, as well as some “fast-fashion” retailers, are shifting sourcing strategies to insure that their products are made according to certain environmental and ethical standards.  Many speculate that this trend began with reports of sweatshop labor in Southeast Asia in the early 1990’s, when companies like Nike were criticized for underpaying factory workers abroad. Soon thereafter the public began to realize that nearly every large-scale retailer had similar problems related to supply chain activities.

Although increased public knowledge of these issues has improved matters, there are still areas in which we, as consumers, are completely left in the dark. Bloomberg reports that the latest difficulty in supply chain transparency involves conflict minerals. Around the turn of the millennium, western society became aware of the horrific conditions surrounding De Beers diamonds, which were mined by slaves and sold by armed rebels. What many of us didn’t realize was that other minerals used by companies like Apple Inc. and General Motors Co., among many others have equally problematic histories.

Since the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, US-listed companies have been required to investigate supply chains involving tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. This is due to similar problems that existed in the diamond mining industry, most notably mining revenue funding militia groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as surrounding countries. Because manufacturers of electronics and gasoline require a number of minerals from different geographical location, keeping track of these aspects of their supply chain gets very complicated. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that, according to the United Nations Security Council, rebel militia are still profiting illegally.

In the 2015 reports filed over the last several months, however, companies seem to be making a more concerted effort to thoroughly investigate their supply chains and squash any illegal activity. Chris Bayer, an independent academic with Development International, a non-profit, says “[c]ompanies that…are looking at this as a litmus test for their suppliers are going to be seen as leaders. It’s not just about conflict minerals. We’re looking at how much command and control you have over your supply chain.”

Some companies, however, lack internal mechanisms necessary to investigate their supply chains as thoroughly as is needed. Nearly half of companies that filed 2015 conflict materials reports had all four materials in their supply chain, according to Bayer. About 10% of conflict material filers (over 100) said or implied that their products are conflict free, but only 19 of them underwent an audit for claims on their products.

The issue of criminal activity in the global supply chain is a complicated one, but hopefully, consumers better equipped to detect and minimize the ethical issues that arise in international sourcing and manufacturing.

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Texworld USA Celebrates First Decade

Sadie Keljikian, Top Billion Finance

This month, Texworld USA celebrated its tenth anniversary at this year’s installment of the fabric sourcing trade show. The event was held July 12th-14th at the Javits Center. “We’ve been working really hard on diversity and feel we’ve made headway,” said Jennifer Bacon, Show Director. Indeed, this year’s Texworld show featured over 485 exhibitors from 15 countries, including Japan, Lebanon, Indonesia and Colombia, as well as a new pavilion from the Korean Textile Trade Association. The Lenzing Innovations pavilion returned to the show, featuring 25 exhibitors.

Ms. Bacon’s mention of diversity goes beyond cultural variation, as the show has expanded its repertoire to include styles Among the new additions to the show were categories like faux fur, jacquard, and shirting resources. The show still, however, maintains concentration on denim, activewear and a growing functional-apparel section.

Design Knit exhibited at the show for the tenth time, according to marketing and product-development manager Pat Tabassi. “We come here because we want to reach our client base and keep that connection,” said Tabassi on involvement in the trade show. She also mentioned exciting new trends in knitwear, including unusual patterns and textures for the fall.

The show most notably emphasized sustainability, with exhibitions from companies like California-based SG Knits and Texollini. The eco-friendly brands presented new yarns that limit waste, garments made from recycled materials, and dyes that don’t waste water. Said Texollini Director of Merchandising, Sherry Wood: “We’re one of the two vertical mills left on the West Coast…sustainability is very important to us. People are looking for more organic and recycled fabrics. Activewear and swimwear brands are using recycled nylon and polyester, and we use Repreve [recycled-fiber yarns].” Texollini was awarded with “Best in Sustainability Practices” by show organizers Messe Frankfurt.

Sales manager for Laguna Fabrics Matin Roshan agreed that eco-friendly practices and transparency in manufacturing have become extremely important to consumers. “We have a niche of customers only buying eco-friendly, sustainable fabrics from us. I get one email per week asking ‘Is your dye toxic?’ ‘Is it eco-friendly?’ They want total transparency.”

Texworld USA will return, along with its partner show, Apparel Sourcing USA, will return to the Javits Center in January for the Winter 2017 edition.