Archives For Japan

Picture1The Japanese-funded e-Customs system known as “VNACCS/VCIS” (Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System) is set to “go live” on April 1, 2014.

Based on the NACCS/CIS of Japan, VNACCS/VCIS is intended to handle e-Declaration, e-Manifest, e-Invoice, e-Payment, e-C/O, selectivity, risk management/criteria, corporate management, goods clearance and release, supervision and inspection.

With the launch of the VNACCS/VCIS, Vietnam Customs is trying to simplify customs clearance procedures, reduce clearance time, enhance the management capacity of customs authorities in line with the standards of modern customs, as well as to cut costs and facilitate trade. VNACCS/VCIS also purports to ensure Vietnam’s compliance with the ASEAN “single window” initiative.

VNACCS/VCIS is intended to improve on the current e-Customs system. For example, the VNACCS/VCIS provides new procedures for the management of pre-clearance, clearance and post-clearance processes, adds new customs procedures such as registration of the duty exemption list, introduces a combined procedure for both commercial and non-commercial goods, simplifies procedures for low unit value goods and offers new management procedures for temporarily exported/imported goods, etc.

After the testing phase (which took place from November 2013 until the end of February 2014), users have been raising concerns regarding the VNACCS/VCIS system’s complexity. VNACCS/VCIS provides a declaration process with 109 export and 133 import data fields, compared to the current 27 export and 38 import declaration fields. Many of them are not compatible with the actual systems of companies, and appear to require from declarers an extensive knowledge of customs-related matters.

Comment – from an outsider’s perspective, besides systems testing, it would seem to appear that insufficient time has been allocated for alignment of industry systems to Vietnam Customs’ new data requirements. This, and the fact that no ‘grace period’ (waiver of sanctions or penalties) will be considered by the customs administration does not bode well for a smooth transition.

VNACCS/VCIS employs the quantity reporting mechanism in the official Units of Measures (“UOMs”), often used in international trade statistics, yet creates significant obstacles to companies that do not have compatible manufacturing, inventory planning and control systems. Vietnam Customs has stated that it will work on improving this issue.

VNACCS/VCIS also applies the declaration of customs values at the unit level. Since unit costs and unit prices used in financial systems of companies may not always be identical to declared values, companies may fail to comply with such requirement. Sanctions may be applied from day 1 of the new systems activation.

Technical difficulties are also a matter of great concerns to business community, e.g. with asset tracking. Currently under VNACCS/VCIS, reporting is limited to 7 digits, incompatible with many companies having asset tracking systems with identification numbers of up to 20 digits. To address concerns raised by the business community about the new system, Japanese experts have agreed to support Vietnam Customs 1 year after the official implementation date of the system.

There are concerns for potential risks of non-compliance for wrong declaration due to lack of an adequate understanding of VNACCS/VCIS. Vietnam Customs has rejected a proposal for “grace period” before applying sanctions upon violations, but encourages companies to actively participate in training programs organized by customs authorities to better avoid potential non-compliance risks.

Another concern is the chance of system failure which may lead to severe interruptions and delays in clearance procedures. Vietnam Customs has ensured business community that they have a back-up contingency mechanism in place to support customs procedures in the event that VNACCS/VCIS fails to operate properly. In the meantime, a new circular detailing the implementation of VNACCS/VCIS is being drafted and should come into effect by the launch date. Various business associations are still trying to find ways to mitigate the likely disruption from the sudden transition to the new system. Source: Baker & McKenzie (Vietnam)

Advertisements

logoLast month (May 2013), the Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (NACCS) released an updated version of guidelines for filing under the Japan 24-hour rule. As the main system for the online processing and procedures related to the new 24-hour rule, NACCS has been updating the guidelines and holding informational sessions across Europe, North America and China since early 2013.

Scheduled to go into force March 2014, Japan Customs and NACCS is encouraging shippers to begin looking at requirements and working towards compliance now. Penalties include Do Not Loads (DNLs) and fines up to 500 thousand JPY.

The NACCS has provided several good resources for the trade to use in familiarizing themselves with the Japan 24-hour Rule:

Therefore, South African shippers, exporters, and carriers of goods to Japan have a few more months to get their systems and processes in order to meet Japanese advance reporting requirements. For those already meeting US, Canadian and EU advance manifest reporting requirements this should not pose too much of a problem.

Source: Integrationpoint.com

w20130617_581636_51bf7444348dFollowing up on the unvelievable events which saw the MOL COMFORT split in two, see previous post “Container Ship Breaks in Half and Sinks“,  Michael Grey (former Editor of Lloyd’s List and Fairplay, currently the London Correspondent of BIMCO and holder of a British FG Master’s Certificate) writes “How on earth does a 5 year old 90,000 ton containership, built by one of Japan’s finest shipyards and operated by a tip-top liner company, come to be floating in two bits 19 miles apart? Was it the Weather, Welding,  or perhaps one of those 100 year waves the Met. Offices are warning us about are rather more frequent?”

He goes on to maintain that the smart money must surely be on the stresses induced by under-declared container weights, which shippers routinely refuse to take with any seriousness whatsoever.

Always supposing that there is a good run through the IMO, it has been suggested that it could be another three or four years before SOLAS Regulation VI/2, which provides for the “verification” of container weights, comes into effect. As the distinguished delegates undertake their deliberations on this matter, a huge picture of the after part of the MOL Comfort sitting forlornly in the Arabian Gulf might usefully be displayed on the Council Chamber screens to help focus their minds.

It is now more than six years since the emergency in the English Channel when the MSC Napoli nearly sank through an ingress of water.

It is worth underlining the views of the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which painstakingly required all the boxes retrieved from the wreck to be weighed, and note its suggestion that overweight boxes contributed to the loss of that ship.

Wheels often grind slowly in marine safety mills, but there have surely been enough warnings about excessive container weights to wake everyone up. Feeders have been regularly rolling over, fortunately in shallow water or against the quay. This clearly expensive incident which has put 25 lives and more than 4000 containers at risk ought to clarify the issues.

But we shouldn’t bet on it.

Shippers’ organisations, which have been defending their flawed position on container weights for forty years or more will still be arguing about the responsibilities for verification until the bitter end. If the salvors manage to save this ship, let us hope that every one of those boxes retrieved is weighed, and compared with the manifested declaration.

Sources: article posted in gCaptain.com with original credit to the Clay Maitland blog

Image credit: Nakilat

Image credit: Nakilat

With soaring energy costs, Japan appears to have a pretty uniform goal, to invest as much as possible in other sources of energy and energy supply chains around the world. Many others like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are following suit and hedging themselves for what is turning out to be a reversal of their business model. Even the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which connects the world’s largest oil tankers with over half of the United States’ refining capacity is readjusting its business model for the changing flow of energy. With the eventual opening of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) flood gates from the US however, coupled with Free Trade Agreements to places such as Japan, American energy firms and tax payers stand to cash in on the huge price gap that exists between the price of gas in the U.S. versus that which exists overseas.

At the moment, there’s a fairly good balance between supply and demand when it comes to the supply of ships and the demand for LNG product to be carried. Qatar, for example, uses 54 LNG carriers to transport their 77 million metric tons per year of LNG. Qatar also has a 70% stake in the Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas. Additional exports from the US Gulf Coast will directly equal increased demand for more LNG carriers.

While regulators in the US trudge through the LNG export approval process, energy firms like Anadarko charge ahead with an ambitious LNG agenda offshore Mozambique in a field which was recently found to have at least 65 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserves. Places like Mozambique, and offshore Israel, have the potential to really change the LNG marketplace given the sheer size of their fields and their proximity to the Asian and European markets respectively.

In Mozambique, two 5 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) LNG trains are currently under construction to support the huge conventional gas finds located 25 miles offshore. Their partners on the project include Mozambiquan state oil company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, E.P., India’s state-owned Bharat PetroResources Ltd, Indian private equity firm Videocon Hydrocarbon Holdings, Ltd, Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production, and Mitsui & Co. Considering the partners involved, their target market will predominantly be India and Japan. First LNG production is planned for 2018 and their plans are to eventually ramp up production to 50 million mtpa, or 2/3rds of the current production of Qatar.

What does that mean for LNG shipping? A lot more ships. To handle 50 million mtpa, upwards of 35 LNG carriers may be needed for transportation if you compare the ratio between Qatar’s fleet size and their total LNG exports. Source: gcaptain.com

BackhanderTwo Japanese freight forwarders have agreed to pay a total of $18.9 million in criminal fines for their role in a price-fixing scheme, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Over the course of at least five years, Yusen Logistics Co. and “K” Line Logistics Ltd. conspired to fix freight forwarding fees, including security fees and fuel surcharges, on air cargo shipments from Japan to the U.S., the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. The two are just the latest in a string of 16 freight forwarding companies that have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing and pay criminal fines totaling more than $120 million.

“Consumers were forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy every day as a result of the noncompetitive and collusive service fees charged by these companies,” Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Prosecuting these kinds of global, price-fixing conspiracies continues to be a top priority of the Antitrust Division.”

The DOJ seems to have been successful in pursuing that priority. In the 2012 fiscal year, the antitrust division collected a record-breaking $1.35 billion in criminal fines, nearly 60 percent of which came from Asia-Pacific-based companies. Source: Insidecounsel.com

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/Eurostat/OECD/UN/International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Financial Statistics (IFS)Note: Purchasing Power Parity has been used as this is a method of measuring the relative purchasing power of different countries' currencies over the same types of goods and services, thus allowing a more accurate comparison of living standards.

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics/Eurostat/OECD/UN/International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Financial Statistics (IFS)Note: Purchasing Power Parity has been used as this is a method of measuring the relative purchasing power of different countries’ currencies over the same types of goods and services, thus allowing a more accurate comparison of living standards.

By 2020, three of the world’s five largest economies will be emerging countries, accounting for 30.4% of global GDP in PPP terms. Advanced economies are being displaced by emerging market superpowers, notably the BRIC countries, which has been accelerated by the seismic effects of the global economic downturn of 2008-2009. Euromonitor International predicts that China will become the world’s largest economy in PPP terms in 2017.

Additionally, Russia will overtake Germany as the fifth largest economy in 2016. These shifts will influence global politics, business environments and investment flows while consumer markets in developing countries will rise in importance as the middle class expands.

1. China: Set to become world’s largest economy in 2017

A large manufacturing base, cheap labour costs, the world’s largest population and economies of scale have resulted in unprecedented economic growth in China. Although growth is slowing, the delayed recovery in advanced economies from the global economic downturn means China will overtake the USA as the world’s biggest economy in 2017, and account for 19.0% of global GDP in PPP terms by 2020. Challenges loom large, however, including rising labour costs, pollution, a potential real estate bubble and rapid ageing arising from the government’s one child policy. Euromonitor predicts that China’s working age population (aged 15-64) will decline from 2014.

2. USA: End of the American dream?

The USA will lose its position as the world’s number one economy in 2017. In 1990, the USA accounted for a quarter of global GDP in PPP terms but we forecast this to plummet to 16.0% by 2020. The country was where the global financial crisis began in 2008 and it has failed to recover to its potential while also slipping in global competitiveness rankings. Although the government avoided the “fiscal cliff” in 2012, one of the biggest challenges remains a budget deficit reduction strategy, without the ensuing political gridlock. Nevertheless, the USA retains advantages, namely as the world’s largest consumer market and a leader of technological innovation.

3. India: Demographic dividend to benefit country beyond 2020

India overtook Japan as the world’s third largest economy in PPP terms in 2011 and its demographic advantage means the country could become the world’s biggest economy in the coming decades. India has a young population where it is benefitting from its demographic dividend (when there are more people of working age and the proportion of the child population declines). Euromonitor forecasts that India will become the world’s largest population by 2025 and that its working-age population will increase by 11.6% in 2013-2020 compared to -3.1% in China. However, India lags in major indicators including educational attainment and infrastructure development.

4. Japan: Paying the price for decades of economic stagnation

Structural problems beset Japan, with decades of weak economic growth and deflation while it has totalled the highest proportion of public debt in the world at 235% of GDP in 2012. Although the country has not yet suffered a eurozone-style sovereign debt crisis, as the majority of its debt is domestically-owned, an increase of foreign debt could trigger a Japanese debt crisis. It has the oldest population globally (mean age of 44.7 in 2012) and a shrinking labour force which will add considerable strain on government finances, while a strong currency makes its exports uncompetitive. Yet Japan’s location within Asia means it can take advantage of cheaper production costs in the region and growing demand for its high-tech products from a burgeoning Asian middle class. Like the USA, it is a global technological leader, giving it a competitive edge over its emerging neighbours.

5. Russia: Overtakes Germany as fifth largest economy in 2016

Russia will become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2016 in PPP terms, driven by its energy sector, as one of the top oil and natural gas producers worldwide. It also offers potential in its rapidly expanding consumer market, which Euromonitor forecasts will be the ninth largest globally in real terms in 2020. Its accession to the World Trade Organisation in August 2012 further cements its integration into the global economy. The lack of economic diversification and modernisation remain key long-term challenges with government policy aiming to tackle this, for example, by investing in the Skolkovo Innovation Centre Project, Russia’s equivalent to Silicon Valley. Corruption, state control and bureaucracy also hamper the business environment in Russia. Like elsewhere in Eastern Europe, the Russian working-age population is in decline (-4.5% in 2013-2020) despite a short-term baby boom, which will pose a demographic challenge to sustaining non-oil economic growth. Source: Euromonitor.com