Archives For January 2013

stock-photo-intellectual-property-and-related-words-in-word-collage-100324247Smart, Biggar, and Fetherstonhaugh, a Canadian law firm practising exclusively in intellectual property and technology law, advises that deterring counterfeiters is particularly important to luxury brand owners. For this reason, they should always keep in mind that augmented damage awards may be available when seeking concurrent relief for copyright infringement as well as trademark infringement. Similarly, brand owners in copyright industries should keep this in mind and consideration should be given to seeking both copyright and trademark relief in all counterfeiting and pirating scenarios in Canada. Considering the question from the point of view of luxury brand owners exemplifies the point.

Copyright aims to protect against the unauthorised reproduction of original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Logos and designs or patterns used by luxury brands may constitute artistic works in which copyright subsists in Canada. Further, in the case of a counterfeit item, such works are clearly reproduced without the consent of the copyright holder.

Smart & Biggar states that even though trademark and copyright law each protect different interests, they are not mutually exclusive and in many cases the sale and distribution of a counterfeit product or a pirated copyright work may constitute both trademark and copyright infringement. In such circumstances, they recommend brand owners to be mindful of the possibility of claiming both trademark infringement and copyright infringement not only to maximise their damages but, ultimately, to have an increased deterrent effect on counterfeiters [in Canada]. Source: Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh

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Beit Bridge afloat!

January 29, 2013 — 2 Comments

I received the following pictures purportedly of traffic under siege at the Beit Bridge border post 6 days ago. Normally its the sweltering heat which man and truck have to contend with. The pictures suggest severe flooding creating anxious moments for transporter and pedestrian alike. According to the Zimbabwe Herald, authorities closed the border to traffic after the Limpopo River flooded leaving the new Limpopo Bridge inaccessible.

Australian Customs hosted visits from three international experts on trade data harmonisation - Bill Nolle, Dietmar Jost and Eric Sunstrum.

Australian Customs hosted visits from three international experts on trade data harmonisation – Bill Nolle, flanked by Dietmar Jost and Eric Sunstrum of the WCO.

It is with sadness we [WCO] learnt that our former colleague, the former Chairperson of the DMPT passed away on 29 December 2012 after a brief period of illness. He was fighting a very aggressive cancer.

Bill Nolle was a fabulous contributor to our [WCO] area of work and he has left his imprint in many aspects of our work at the Data Model Project Team and the Information Management Sub Committee. Version 3.0 of the WCO Data Model owes its richness and quality thanks to Bill’s splendid contribution. Bill authored the WCO Single Window Data Harmonization Guidelines/ UN/CEFACT Recommendation 34.  We [WCO] owe it to Bill the methodology of Gather-Define-Analyze-Reconcile for data simplification and harmonization. Bill brought passion to his work. His speeches and interventions were always intense and engaging and he will be missed in his professional environment.

His legacy includes an eLearning module in which you can hear him explain how data harmonization was carried out in Jordan. The module remains a favorite for the professional users and trainers alike.

Bill retired from US Customs and Border Protection where he worked for 30 years. He and his wife moved to the Outer Banks from Frederick, MD in 2009, to be near the beach that he loved. At the time of his death he was employed by Nathan Associates Incorporated and Crown Agents as a consultant. Bill travelled extensively during his tenures with US Customs and Border Protection, Nathan Incorporated, and Crown Agents, making friends on each continent in the world.

The following obituary was posted by a colleague in Jordan –

Bill has been a breath of fresh air that visited our country (Jordan), every once in a while as Customs Consultant. He was an inspiration and a driving force to all,  giving advice when needed, and always willing to help. A proud husband, father and (Opa), that we felt his family was our own, Not to forget, a professional Pita Bread baker,  we were hoping to someday try. One would think, God loved him so,  and wanted him closer more. Bill will always be in our hearts,  a father figure, a teacher, and a colleague holding one of the greatest hearts I’ve known. My deepest condolences to his loving family, and may he rest in peace.   Posted by: Juliette Najjar – Amman – Jordan – Friend / Colleague   Jan 17, 2013.

Sources: WCO, Gallup Funeral Services, and www.tributes.com

The queues at Beit Bridge

The queues at Beit Bridge

Beitbridge Border Post recorded a sharp increase in the number of travellers who passed through during the festive season with statistics indicating that 524 511 people passed through the port of entry between 14 December last year and 7 January this year compared to 392 660 during the same period the previous year. The assistant regional immigration manager in charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Charles Gwede, said they handled  229 023 travellers on the exit side, an 11 percent increase compared to the last festive season when 202 348 people left the country.

On the arrivals side, 295 488 travellers entered the country, a 35 percent surge compared to the last festive season when immigration officials handled 190 312 travellers. The highest number of travellers on the entry side was recorded on 23 December when 42 435 people entered the country through the country’s busiest port of entry. On the departure side, the highest number was recorded on 3 January when 22 625 people left the country.

“This festive season between 14 December and 7 January, we handled 524 511 travellers, marking a 25 percent increase in the number of people who passed through Beitbridge during the festive season compared to the previous year when we handled 392 660 travellers,” said Gwede. Most of the travellers that they handled were Zimbabweans working in South Africa commonly known as injiva, who had visited home for the Christmas holidays. He attributed the increase in the number of travellers to the South African documentation exercise, which saw many Zimbabweans working in that country acquiring permits.

Many of Zimbabweans staying and working in South Africa are now documented after they acquired authentic permits during the regularisation exercise in that country hence they could now travel freely. The documents also enabled them to drive foreign registered vehicles, which is another factor that resulted in an increase in the volume of vehicular traffic during this festive period compared to the previous years. The South African government embarked on the process of documenting Zimbabweans illegally staying in that country between 5 May 2009 and 31 July 2010 during which over 275 000 applications from Zimbabweans were processed while several others were turned down and some are still pending. Source: The Chronical, Zimbabwe

Brazilian ports have been tarnished by corruption

Brazilian ports have been tarnished by corruption

An investigation by Brazil’s federal police has uncovered endemic corruption at ports in Rio, Itaguai, Vitória and Santos, with claims of bribes paid to employees of the Inland Revenue Service and to Customs brokers as a means of expediting the entry of illegal goods.

While the detail of the investigations has not been made public, it is clear that 13 people have been indicted, of which four are businessmen. Politicians may be implicated, too.

Investigations, which first started in the Port of Vitória in 2009, have so far led to six cases being sent to the Federal Court in Rio and Espirito Santo. These involve auditors being asked to delete information from a database, the deliberate falsification of information and turning a blind eye in respect of the importation of explosives. All of the companies implicated in the various prosecutions deny any illegal activity took place. Source: Portstrategy.com

A CBP vehicle patrols the border in Arizona in 2010. (Matt York/AP file photo)

A CBP vehicle patrols the border in Arizona in 2010. (Matt York/AP file photo)

Nearly 150 Customs and Border Protection officers were arrested or indicted for corruption over the last eight years, a new report has found. A majority of the officers were stationed along the Southwest border, the Government Accountability Office determined. An additional 2,170 were arrested for misconduct in the same time period. GAO cited CBP’s lack of review and oversight of its employees and monitoring processes as complicit in allowing corruption to fester within the agency. (Readers please bear in mind that CBP has over 50,000 members)

Incidents of corruption included fraud, harboring aliens, selling immigration documents and allowing loads of narcotics through a port or checkpoint. Of the 144 corruption incidents, 103 — more than 70 percent — were considered “mission-compromising.” CBP even reported some instances of “infiltrators” seeking and gaining employment at the agency for the sole purpose of engaging in mission-compromising activity. For example, an officer stationed in El Paso, Texas, was arrested in 2007 for conspiring to import 5,000 pounds of marijuana each month into the United States. Less than 1 percent of arrests for misconduct, however, were related to CBP’s mission.

GAO recommended CBP — part of the Homeland Security Department — better track which pre-employment screens assist in identifying unacceptable job applicants. CBP currently conducts background investigations and polygraph examinations for potential hires, but does not monitor which tactics are the most effective. GAO also suggested CBP assess the feasibility of expanding the polygraph program to include occasional tests for current employees. Additionally, the auditors said the agency should improve the quality assurance of its screenings and set a timetable to complete a comprehensive employee-integrity strategy. CBP concurred with all of GAO’s recommendations, saying while an overwhelming majority of its employees are honest and hardworking, there is little room for error. “Any act of employee corruption interferes with the agency’s mission to secure the nation’s borders against all threats and facilitate legitimate travel and trade,” Jim Crumpacker, DHS’ chief liaison to GAO, wrote in a letter to the auditors. Source: www.govexec.com

TKCThe first live demonstration of an end-to-end customs connectivity solution was successfully completed in Windhoek, Namibia on December 12, 2012. Customs Connectivity enables customs administrations from different countries to share information seamlessly and instantly across borders: reducing processing time and improving access to reliable, real-time trade statistics.

The demonstration was witnessed by the Commissioners of Botswana (BURS) and Namibia Customs (NRA), senior managers and operational teams. The demonstration involved moving information from an ASYCUDA++ entry in Botswana via the Cloud-based User Portal to an ASYCUDA++ entry in Namibia, and vice-versa from Namibia to Botswana. It demonstrated how clearing agents/traders would manage the flow of their information via the secure online User Portal.

The demonstration marked a “watershed moment” in turning Customs Connectivity into reality. The next steps for the pilot project include full system testing and documentation before end-user training commences. Full implementation is scheduled to take place during the first half of 2013.

Customs Connectivity offers countries in the region a historic opportunity to engage cutting-edge technology and modern tools to facilitate trade throughout Southern Africa, enhancing economic growth and promoting food security. The pilot project is being implemented by Botswana and Namibia, supported by the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub. Source: SATH

Request – Perhaps some of the TKC clearing agents, NRA and BURS customs staff would like to comment on their experience thus far? 

Multimodal Freight

Just to keep them on their toes – the following will undoubtedly play a factor in many customs administration’s risk management and intel systems.

Air freight rates slipped in December as the trade returned to business-as-usual following the volume boost of earlier hi-tech product launches, according to Drewry’s new monthly report, Sea & Air Shipper Insight. Drewry’s recently launched East-West Air Freight Price Index, a weighted average of air freight rates across 21 east-west trades, fell by 1.4 points from November to reach 110.8 in December, bringing to an end four consecutive months of gains in the index. “The waning effect of new hi-tech product launches on traffic demand was the primary contributor to declining rates from Asia into North America and Europe,” said Simon Heaney, research manager at Drewry. “Drewry expects pricing on routes out of Asia to decline further, though the impact will be softened by an uptick in demand levels in advance of Chinese New Year.”

Evidence of a tentative recovery in air freight demand comes in the form of a 2% year-on-year rise (the first such increase in 16 months) in November of worldwide semiconductor sales, a traditional bellwether for air cargo. Air cargo demand could also see a temporary boost at the expense of the ocean market. With ocean currently facing capacity issues such as the looming threat of strike action at US ports and carriers cancelling voyages, some shippers, particularly those wanting to move higher-value goods, might well be tempted to shift some cargo to the air. Demand growth for air cargo has lagged behind ocean, which Drewry believes is due to a combination of shippers having access to better IT systems, leaner inventory strategies and greater faith in liner service reliability, which has been improving steadily in the last year or so.

Recent issues in the ocean sector are testing that faith, although of course shippers that do switch to air freight will have to pay a considerable premium. East-west air freight rates and comparable ocean rates have almost mirrored their ups and downs since May 2012, with air prices showing a steeper upswing since October. However, the fall in air freight pricing and a corresponding rise in container shipping rates in December sent Drewry’s east-west air freight price multiplier down 1.3 points to 11.8. The multiplier measures the relationship between the cost of shipping by air relative to sea. “Air cargo is not a viable Plan B for all shippers,” said Heaney, “but for those moving expensive goods it remains a justifiable alternative, particularly at a time when the reliability of the ocean supply chain is threatened.”  Source: Lloyds List

Saldanha Fabrication Centre, Port of Saldanha

Saldanha Fabrication Centre, Port of Saldanha

After all the negative criticism of the South African IDZ programme over the years, its remarkable that the latest offering situated at Saldanna Bay is plagued by the same misrepresentations as preceding zones. When will the IDZ Operators and their marketing/communication teams learn that the South African government does not provide ‘free ports’ within its IDZ programme. For that matter neither does the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) facility. Such statements are misleading and in effect only create confusion for investors.

Ports.co.za recently reported that, as a result of the sub-lessees failing to secure any business (lack of business benefits and government incentives?), the facility that was built as the Saldanha Fabrication Centre in 2007 is now to be converted into a multi-disciplinary facility to support the sectors of Oil & Gas; Petrochemicals; Renewable Energy Power; Desalination; Mineral Mining, Environmental & Chemical Industries.

This facility will be in the Customs Controlled Area (CCA) and will therefore enjoy ‘free-port’ status. The CCA will then be extended as the IDZ phases in the port’s hinterland come into being. Oh really?

KNM Grinaker-LTA will be retaining a certain area including the 25 metre high Bay 1 and Bay 2 workshops. This is intended to house equipment for the Oil & Gas majors which will require the height to be increased. Their work will be fabrication.

The facility has its own dedicated jetty, ideally for loading large diameter, heavy and long vessels, jackets and modules. KNM Grinaker-LTA Fabrication remains the sole local fabricator for the untapped market of pressure vessels above 100mm thicknesses.

The other areas, workshops, etc, are available for leasing on a long-term basis and the rental rates will be determined by the size of area required and the length of the lease. Saldanha Freight Services (SFS) are working with KNM Grinaker-LTA in searching for potential lessees. The screening of lessees will be intensive as the core activities must fit with the KNM Grinaker-LTA vision.

This facility is leased from and located in the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) zone designated primarily for the oil & gas sector. West of this facility (off-picture) is an area earmarked for a large graving dock, should such a dock be deemed sustainable in the long-term. East of the facility is open land also designated by TNPA for Oil & Gas developments.

This is the area where the Oil & Gas Base will be established. It will be linked to the shore-front with workshops and other facilities as well as deep-drafted quayside (berths) and lay-down areas suited to the maintenance & repair of vessels in the oil & gas industry.

The roads to the 4-berth multi-purpose terminal (MPT will be upgraded in the short-term to facilitate handing of imports & exports over this terminal. This land is available for leasing from TNPA and SFS is in a position to facilitate this for interested parties. These developments are planned for the 0-5 year and 6-10 year period commencing in 2013.

Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Artistic impression of the Club K Missile System

Critical Logistics, an informative blog, reported an interesting if not disturbing article on the development of a new weapon’s system which uses the ubiquity of shipping containers as it is housed in a 40-footer. It is known as the Club-K Container Missile System.

An article by concerned commentator, Lajos F. Szaszdi, (The Heritage Network) raises several valid concerns in his article “The Club-K: A Deadly “Pandora’s Box” of Cruise Missiles”, which are summarised in the following paragraphs.

[…] Fittingly, the marketing name given to the system is “Pandora’s Box.” The container-looking weapon system can be fired from a container ship, a train cart, or a container truck. By appearing externally as a simple container, the Club-K can be positioned covertly, ready to unleash a surprise attack, probably firing simultaneously from more than one container.

[…] Container ships carrying the Club-K system could be used to attack commercial shipping, particularly in choke points like the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca. These container ships would be acting like Germany’s auxiliary cruisers of the First and Second World Wars, which were armed merchant ships used for commerce raiding. Cargo ships armed with the Club-K could be equipped with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to provide airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

Even though use by Hezbollah is a possibility, the greatest potential threat could come from China, which reportedly was already interested in acquiring Club missiles for its submarines of the Type 041 Yuan class, the nuclear-powered Type 093 Shang class, and Russian-made Kilo class subs. China could load container ships with land-attack missiles, with E-Bombs for a surprise attack against Taiwan, and armed with nuclear warheads and E-Bombs to strike the port facilities used by the U.S. Navy in Singapore, the U.S. West Coast, the Panama Canal, etc. Chinese missiles could be launched from container trucks sent secretly to Mexico mixed with legitimate containers. India, another customer of the SS-N-27, could use the Club-K system against Pakistan or China as a first or second strike weapon. Iran could be another customer for the Club-K, once U.N. sanctions are lifted.

The Club-K is a highly destabilizing weapon system. Due to the nature of international trade, with millions of containers being shipped worldwide, transported by train and particularly by trucks, it would be very hard to detect, and an attack could happen at any time on any day without warning. The military and intelligence services of the U.S. and its allies must keep a close watch on this Pandora’s Box, to make sure it will never be opened in anger against them.

A promotional video of the system by (oddly named) manufacturer Concern Agat appears below. http://

For more details on the system visit their website – http://www.concern-agat.com/products/defense-products/81-concern-agat/189-club-k

The fluid transition from sea to land

The fluid transition from sea to land

Here’s an interesting view on containers, presented by Alex Colas from Birkbeck University, USA. Colas highlights that containers have been fundamental drivers of global processes and have had an unprecedented effect on logistics and labour organisations. Moreover Colas demonstrates that containers as well as being transformative objects in themselves, have also transformed the way in which circulatory barriers have been overcome through seamless transitions from water to land. Containers are a worthy protagonist of material analysis in international systems and there is much room in academic discourse for the full story of the container to unfold. Herewith the link to the article Thinking Inside the Box, available on the blog – Geopolitics & Security.