More RFP'S or RFQ’s In Freight Transportation

More RFP’S or RFQ’s In Freight Transportation

Lately are hearing  this word more and more, some call it Request of Proposals (RFP) and some refer to it as Request of Quotes ( RFQ ). This time around…

More RFP’S or RFQ’s In Freight Transportation
Are You Importing Legally?

Are You Importing Legally?

The product you are buying might not be as simple to import as you think. Before you order your product, be certain that the product you are importing is allowed…

Are You Importing Legally?
The Government Shutdown

The Government Shutdown

The United States federal government entered a shutdown from October 1 through 16, 2013, and curtailed most routine operations after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014. During the shutdown,…

The Government Shutdown
Cargo Theft

Cargo Theft

It’s not a topic you hear about every day, you may not have heard about cargo theft headlining the news. Crime of such nature had become more organized and more…

Cargo Theft
Abandoned Cargo

Abandoned Cargo

Freight that has not been accepted or claimed by the consignee or is undeliverable due to error or omission on the part of the shipper, consignee, or owner or for…

Abandoned Cargo
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    Wondering About Your Health? Take a Look at Your Feet

    We depend on them every day and most of the time they are hidden away, but often, we take our feet for granted unless they hurt. So it’s hardly surprising that most of us are unaware of how our feet can provide important clues to the state of our health.

    There is an old saying in Chinese, “Foot is your second heart”. Our feet are composed of twenty six major bones and joints. The way we walk depends on how these bones and joints move in relation to each other and the other bones in our bodies. Because of this, flat feet can indicate curvature of the spine and distorted toes can signify rheumatoid-arthritis later in life.
    So when your feet send you a warning sign, don’t ignore it.

    Toes that tip up might be Lung, heart or gastrointestinal problem. It can be one toe or multiple and is usually a red flag for a pulmonary or lung disease, even lung cancer. It can also be a gastro issue, like Crohn’s disease or heart disease. A primary care doctor needs to hone in on what’s going on with additional testing.

    Numbness might indicate Diabetes. Podiatrists perform various types of nerve testing to check a patient’s sharp and dull sensations. People with decreased sensation have a peripheral neuropathy, which may signal diabetes because high sugar impacts the nerves so they don’t function well. If you have neuropathy but good blood sugar checks levels, you may have a misaligned position of the foot where when weight is placed on the foot, it collapses. A nerve that runs along the side of the foot becomes stretched and eventually compressed and leads to losing nerve sensation there.

    Custom orthotics, little inserts in shoes, helps correct the alignment.
    Swelling in your feet or ankles may indicate high blood pressure. Swelling may also indicate the existence of a severe illness such as congestive heart failure, kidney failure or liver failure if your feet and ankles swell, you should check it out.

    Foot cramps and charley horses in the calf are usually a result of low potassium or dehydration. If you have an issue with cramping of feet or legs, eat a banana before vigorous exercise and drink plenty of water before and after. Try stretching feet before sleeping.

    Disappearing hair on toes may indicate poor circulation. Hair follicles don’t have enough circulation to remain intact so they slough off. Often it’s accompanied by a cool foot temperature. It’s typical of vascular disease, most commonly arterial sclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries that brings blood from the heart to the extremities. Poor circulation can also be heart related; a weak heart-pumping mechanism can cause circulatory issues. Patients must see a vascular surgeon for evaluation.

    If it hurts to walk, don’t wait. See your health care provider. A few simple tests can determine the cause and treatment plan and help you start the healing process. Pay attention to your feet and treat them well.

    PHOTO Courtesy of: http://media.mnn.com/sites/default/files/user/132046/happy_feet.jpg

    Misdeclared Containers: A Problem For Dock Workers, Truckers and Shipping Lines

    Misdeclared Overweight containers can have a serious impact on the shipping industry, causing problems far beyond just being too heavy. Approximately 20% of containers in transportation are misdeclared and/or overweight, partially due to poor quality control from the original shipper. Many shippers over-pack the containers in an effort to maximize their bottom line. However, misdeclared overweight containers have the potential to not only be the catalyst in costing more when something goes wrong, it is simply dangerous and can have very serious and real consequences.

    What Problems do Overweight Containers Cause?

    Due to the increasing growth of international trade, shipping containers are stacked on top of one another, and the number of containers high is continually growing. When loaded, overweight containers can cause injury to dock workers and can also damage containers stored underneath during transportation. Containers that are misdeclared can cause equipment or chassis damage when it reaches the port. Also, an overweight container that travels by boat can alter the balance of the ship, impair the stability, and possibly even worse, all due to incorrect stowage, when the container is believed to be a different weight.

    What is Considered Overweight in the United States?

    For transportation across an American highway, the maximum legal load for cargo in a 20” container and a 40” container is 44,000 lbs. (19,958 kg.) and 44,500 lbs. (20,185 kg.), respectively. All of the cargo weight must be distributed evenly throughout the container, in order to maintain safety regulations and avoid axle weight violations. When combined with the truck and chassis, the vehicles gross weight can’t exceed 80,000 lbs. (36,287 kg.).

    When shipping by rail, the regulations are slightly higher than highway transport – 52,900 lbs. for 20” container, 67,200 lbs. for a 40” container. Certain items, such as steel reels or marble slabs, can place too much weight on the floor of the rail car, which can risk degradation of the floor and possible derailment if cargo falls through.

    How Can The Shipping Line Take Action?

    If an overweight or misdeclared container is found, it should not be transported by any means until the shipper has be notified. The shipping line can force the shipper to transport the cargo at their own expense, if the freight is an overweight inbound container. By doing so, the shipping line clears themselves from any fines or penalties that the cargo acquires. Also, shipping companies can opt to split the cargo between containers, and associate all costs of reloading onto the original shipper. A trucker should never feel pressured to knowingly transport an overweight container.
    Shipping companies should enact a specific clause in the contract of transportation that informs shippers that they will be responsible for charges resulting from overweight containers. It’s important that shipping companies receive the most accurate weight of the container before loading, so as to arrange proper stowage of the cargo.

    At each interchange point, the cargo should be weighed so each new transporter verifies the load they are responsible for. By forcing shippers to be accountable for misdeclared or overweight containers, shipping companies can avoid hefty fines and maintain the safest transportation possible.

    Credit Cards: Enticing and Misleading

    There are claims that credit card companies take advantage of young consumers but first it must be understood how credit card companies make money. Credit card companies make most of their profit from interest charged on outstanding balances. There are also other methods of making revenue that are less profitable such as late payment fees; fees for exceeding your credit limit; balance transfer fees; cash withdrawal fees; annual fees; and transaction fees. Basically, credit card companies make money by charging consumers “punishment” fees. We can assume that since this is a credit card company’s essential form of revenue, companies would hope for their consumers to defy the company’s guidelines; hence consumers will need to pay such fees. Applying this back to the younger consumers who are more inclined to spend irresponsibly, they are more likely to be charged with these fees.

    One might question, is this all mainly for profit? And if so, is this unethical? There are many instances in which credit card companies claim to help their customers. But if a customer is already in a large credit card debt, why would companies introduce more credit card offers to the people? Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor states “by offering several cards with low limits…the odds are increased that cardholders will exceed their limits…juggling several cards also increases the chance on late payment…if cardholders fall behind, they pile over-limit late fees on several cards instead of one.” It seems like this may simply be a tactic that credit card companies use to create profit. Credit card companies claim that their offers are to “help their customers and provide for their needs.” I can believe it if the company issues maybe only one card to the consumer but that usually is not the case. Oftentimes customers are offered multiple credit cards from their banks despite knowledge of any large debt at hand. The pitch would probably sound like opening new credit cards will help pay off any debts, but eventually these people end up juggling multiple credit card balances at once. The customer will then be charged “punishment fees” as I mentioned earlier, and then credit card companies will make their money.

    Credit card companies can “hypnotize” young adults into the addiction of credit card spending. Credit card companies assign young adults a credit limit and after a few on-time payments, their credit is raised. This tempts these young customers to spend more; thus creating a larger balance. The credit card bill would give these young adults a “minimum payment” as low as $10 a month and this creates the illusion for them to think that he/she can afford this $10 payment. What this person might not know is that in the next month’s bill, there will be additional interest fees charged for interest on that previous balance. It is easy for people to lose track of their expenses and overlook these mysterious charges on their bill.

    What some young customers may also not know is that banks may charge an “overdraft charge” or “payment protection” fee which somehow protects the cardholder from going over their credit limit. These protection plans may cost as low as a few dollars each month. Some might find this appealing but if the user goes over even $1, he might be charged a $40 fee for “borrowing” that dollar from the bank. It is absurd how banks and credit card companies market a lot of offers that make customers believe that the banks are trying to help them save money when they actually are not. This can be a result of lack of information on the young consumer’s part; which is what makes them an easy target for credit card companies.

    Considering you do pay on time, and never go over your limit, credit card companies will most likely raise your credit score. This may tempt you to spend more, however if you spend too much in short periods of time, it is not good news for your credit score. In Robert Berner’s article “A Credit Card You Want to Toss,” Berner discusses an issue dealing with raised interest rates done by Bank of America. In January 2008, Bank of America notified cardholders that interest rates would double, skyrocketing rates up to as high as 28%. This applies to all Bank of America cardholders. Many believe that this is unfair especially to those customers that have paid all their credit card balances on time and those that have built up a good credit score. When some customers did call the company for an explanation, they did not receive a justifiable reason nor a clear answer at all. One customer received an answer from a representative that said that his interest rate went up because he had spent 54% of his credit limit. Why is it even called a limit if you get penalized for staying under it? Meanwhile a college student called and she received an answer explaining that she had spent a huge sum and that “her balance was now too high” even though the balance was below her credit limit. Berner describes Bank of America’s raises as “an unjustified, for profit move…analysts say the bank’s move is obviously aimed at shoring up profits.” Reasons why the bank pulled this move may be because the bank’s profit decline during the fourth-quarter. Raising interest rates on existing credit card holders may be just a tactic to redeem the company’s earnings. The issue of ethics becomes in question because customers should not be responsible for the bank’s financial downfall.

    Credit card companies take advantage of uninformed people; it is a slick move that banks and credit card companies use to create revenue. With knowledge of this we can all avoid giving in to such tactics. With the right information, we can avoid falling for banks/credit card company’s ploys because ultimately, the choice to control our spending is our own. With good understanding of the principles of credit cards and being financially literate, there should be no difference in age when it comes to credit card companies trying to take advantage of you. Being wise with your money and well informed keeps even young consumers safe from being taken advantage of.

    Reusing the Products

    In the recent years, increasing awareness of environmental protection and the concept of sustainable development is changing the company’s perspective on environmental issues significantly. In this context, efficient use of resources, waste minimization, recycling, eco- friendly design and packaging are such elements gaining more and more attention.

    Traditionally, reverse logistics were perceived as recycled goods. Today, that definition varies by business or industry. Reverse logistics includes returns, defected goods/materials, containers or boxes and packing materials. It helps those items to be recycled and returned back to the production.

    All recovery options include product collection, reprocessing and redistribution. Accordingly, the product recovery process can be listed as follows:

    Repair: purpose the repair is to make the product usable again. The quality of the repaired products is usually slightly lower compared to the new products quality. Repairs are generally requires very limited disassembling and assembly.

    Product innovation: Product innovation’s aim is to bring used product quality to designated level of quality. Quality standards are not tight as new product. Sometimes, the parts are replaced with renovated, technically better parts and product development (upgrade) is performed. Product innovation improves product quality and extends the life of the product.

    Reproduction: The purpose of reproduction is to bring the used product quality up to new product’s quality standards. Used product completely disassembled, all parts are checked and worn, frayed or technologically old parts are replaced with new parts. During the reproduction, product development can be provided.

    Recycling: The purpose of the above mentioned options is to protect the used product’s features and functionality as much as possible. In recycling, products and components’ features and function is lost. The purpose of recycling is to reuse of the used product and components material.

    Today’s competitive environment of a business, pre-sales and sales performance is not sufficient to be able to make a difference. Thanks to evolving technological possibilities many companies operating in the same sector are able to provide similar quality services on those stages. Companies that understand the importance of consumer-oriented businesses, along with the sale of a product, keep the relationship with the customer throughout the life of the product.

    After-sales services become the most effective method to make the difference and one of the most important components of them is the repair and maintenance services.
    These types of services and activities efficiency is mainly based on well-organized reverse logistics operations.

    Since reverse logistics operations and supply chain is more complex than traditional manufacturing supply chain, companies that can cope with the difficulties that may occur during the operations would have an advantage that can not be easily imitated by their competitors.

    Spook-tacular Halloween!

    With Halloween right around the corner, everyone is getting ready for fright-tastic events. It isn’t just a holiday enjoyable for kids; it is a month-long celebration that is suitable for adults, families, and friends of all ages. Activities like pumpkin carving, costume-making, and Halloween decorations are in full swing. Grab your costume and let the spooky festivities begin!

    One of the most popular events for Halloween is the parade that people get to express their creative and artistic side through costumes. New York City is hosting the 41st Annual Village Halloween Parade on October 31st, 2014 in Greenwich Village. Anyone and everyone are welcome to participate in the parade as long as they have a costume. This is great affair not only for families but for party-goers as they can parade down Sixth Avenue and end the night at the Webster Hall; where the official after party is held.
    If you are looking for a thrill ride for the little ones, look no further than our very own Luna Park Halloween Festival held in Coney Island. Head on over there on a weekend to enjoy fall. They offer family-friendly activities like pumpkin-picking and pie-eating contests. Along with that, go on a thrill ride like the Thunderbolt or Soaring Eagle. Of course, there are also carnival games for everyone to relish in.

    Halloween would not be complete without a visit to the Six Flags Great Adventure 23rd Annual Fright Fest. The family-friendly thrills during the day featuring events like the Spooktacular Street Party and Trick or Treat Trail turns into more intense frights by night in which the park becomes full of the living dead as 200 zombies are released into the park. There are also haunted houses to explore, terror trails like Total Darkness, and Monstertainment which are night time shows. Of course, the best part of this experience is riding the roller coasters in the dark not knowing what changes they’ve made into the rides.

    For those interested in a weekend getaway, Sleepy Hollow is one of the best options for October. It is only an hour drive from NYC and there are buses and trains that can take you there. There are numerous historic sites to see like the famous Headless Horseman Bridge or the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse. A must-see event is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze which features over five thousand hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins set against the mysterious backdrop of Van Cortlandt Manor’s 18th-century buildings and riverside landscape. If you are a fan of the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, then you must attend the Horseman’s Hollow event which takes place in the historic Philipsburg Manor. It has scenes of the town with witches, vampires, undead soldiers and more that don’t want the visitors to leave.

    With that being said, Halloween is an exciting time for family and friends to enjoy outdoor festivities together. From Luna Park’s family-oriented activities to Webster Hall’s partying, there is something for everyone. So plan your October weekends accordingly for all these great events!

    MTS Logistics at Bike MS New York City 2014!

    This year Bike MS New York City 2014 was such a great success! All volunteers’ hard work and participation made 2014 Bike MS NYC very memorable! We as MTS Logistics, are proud for being a part of this great event to help raise funds for people living with MS.

    More than $2.2 million was raised so far, making 75% progress to reach the goal of raising $3 million to fund comprehensive support and programs for people who live with MS, or their family and friends.

    Multiple sclerosis or MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation, such as numbness. With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system. Thus, the condition is called an autoimmune disease.

    This year volunteers and fund raisers biked 30, 55, or 100 miles. Bike MS New York City 2014 was held on Sunday, October 5, 2014 where approximately 5,000 cyclists expected to participate. This event offers a traffic-free 30 mile route circling Manhattan, or a traffic-free ride through the Holland Tunnel, to experience the 55 or 100 mile routes that wind through New Jersey, and Rockland County.

    Bikers began at 12th Avenue (West Side Highway) and W. 46th St., New York. The finish line festival was at Pier 92/94 – 711 12th Avenue, New York. Once again we thank everyone for their incredible efforts and for joining the Bike MS New York City 2014 movement to have a world free of MS.

    For pictures from the 2014 Bike MS New York City ride please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.829205843797118.1073741838.129371117113931&type=1

    We look forward to contribute and see you next year at Bike MS NYC 2015!

     

    Cuba Embargo Holding Up U.S. Economic Progress

    Can you imagine if the U.S. make it illegal for importers and exporters to do any business with China?

    Of course, we don’t want to, but we have to follow the law despite the money we might be losing out. Let’s hope that it doesn’t happen, because it will do no good for any of the countries. Now this is the case, prior to the Embargo against Cuba was put into place, U.S. supplied most of Cuba’s international trade. If this would happen to you, it will put your company to ruins. Luckily, we are the suppliers. There are so many things we want to sell them, however we can’t. This Embargo had hurt both Cuba and U.S., especially for the farmers, businesses, and workers, therefore we all should up lift this ban against Cuba for both the countries’ mutual benefits.

    On February 3, 1962 President J.F. Kennedy signed Proclamation 3447: Embargo Against Cuba. Under this law, it prohibits any one from the U.S. to travel or do any trade with them. It had been over 50 years since the Embargo was put into place.  According to the U.S. chamber of commerce, U.S. had accounted 70% of Cuba international trade prior of this embargo. It had come to light that this around year 2000. They had lighted its grip on the embargo. In 2000, they began exporting majorly agriculture and medical products under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA). As you can see from the chart from U.S. Consensus, after the reform, our trade with Cuba rose substantially as chart shown. In the 90’s trade there were under $10 million per year, while during 2000’s, trade rose over $300 million on average, with $711 million in 2008.

    Chart in Millions

    chart

    Did you know, despite the pressure from international communities, U.S. still won’t fully uplift this ban? In 2013, United Nation had voted 188 to 2 to fully uplift the embargo, only U.S. and Israel voted against it. This embargo had already cost American farmers, businesses, and workers, ranging from $1.2 to $4.54 billion per year according a study conducted in a 2010 study by Texas A&M University. It is estimated U.S. Lost between $60 billion to $270 billion within the 50 years ban. As we can see from above chart, after year 2000 our export had rose substantially after the partial lift of the ban. It doesn’t make economic sense to not fully lift this ban, unless you are Cuban cigar dealer.

    Cuba is a market suspended in time. We are virtually the biggest contender to control their supply market, only 90 miles from the Florida; Do not miss out, or you will lose out from this piece of pie. If we wait too long, there is nothing left for us beside crumbs.

    3 Easy Steps to Find Out Your Net Worth

    In order to get on the path of the financial success you absolutely need to know your net worth. Simple calculation may help give you a clearer picture of your financial well-being so you can make more informed decisions about your future.
    One of the easiest ways to evaluate your finances is to create an Excel Spreadsheet where you can input all the data and it is usually makes it very easy to calculate numbers. Obviously, if you are not the biggest fan of technology you can definitely use blank peace of paper.

    Below are the three steps, which you need to do in order to calculate your net worth:

    1. Evaluate your assets. Think about all the assets that you own and write them down. Start with your house- if own it, continue with a savings, checking or any other accounts that you have. Also include any retirement, company stock accounts or anything else that you can think of that you own.

    2. Evaluate your debts. Make a list of everything that you owe to anyone else including all the credit card debt, college loans, car loans and so on. In my opinion you should not include mortgage on this list though because it a secured loan, which means if you don’t pay it your house will be taken away but you won’t lose any of your savings or retirement money from it. But definitely, don’t forget to account for any debt that you own to your parents, siblings, or friends because this is an important part of your financial picture as well.

    3. Subtract your debts from your assets. This is the most important step because it will give you the total value of your net worth. The reason why this step is so important because without knowing where exactly you are starting it is impossible to improve your current financial situation. And this step will help you not only see the good side, which is your assets but also incorporate the other side which is your debt into your financial portfolio.

    So now that you know what exactly to do construct your own net worth portfolio in order to find out where you stand financially and how to get where you want to be. Reviewing your net worth statements over time can give you encouragement when you are heading in the right direction (i.e. reducing debt while increasing assets) and provide a wake-up call if you are not on track.

    Chaos in Twin Ports

    I am sure as a reader of our blog you heard about the fire at Twin Ports last week. LA and Long Beach ports, which are the busiest in the USA, faced the largest mayhem in decades on Monday night last week. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the container warehouses luckily did catch fire, but the dock beneath them was severely burned. Four employees were evacuated and large cargo ships were asked to move away from nearby berths.

    International trade is one of the most important economic powers of California. LA and Long Beach ports are the busiest ports in terms of volume in the USA and approximately 44% of all cargo arriving in the USA by ship passes through these ports. On Tuesday 23rd of September 2014, the Port of Los Angeles announced that all container terminals were shut down due to air quality concerns, and this caused congestion of the ports, long lines at the gates and it is announced that it will take some time until the situation gets solved and containers move efficiently through the port. We received lots of calls from our clients, who were concerned about the delay, congestion fees, detention fees that ports or carriers may apply. The good news is, some of the carriers announced that they will extend the time and waive the charges which may occur. No need to worry about that!

    One of the reasons which importers are so worried about is the possible supply chain delays due to the incident since we are getting closer to the holiday season, in which the timely delivery of  the cargoes are now even more important. All importers are looking up to keep maximum inventory to satisfy their customers’ demands. It is very important to manage the supply chain flow efficiently at this time of the year. In situations like these, the operational capability and expertise of your logistics provider becomes more crucial.

    Here in MTS Logistics, we are always ready to help you to manage your supply chain efficiently!

    Tea: Its History & Benefits

    Tea is widely used in the world. It’s the second most consumed beverage in the world, right behind water. In Japan, tea was introduced around 800 AD. Buddhist Priest Yeisei brought the beverage to the country, and had seen the benefits of a tea on religious ceremonies and activities including meditation. Thanks to his influence, tea spread rapidly through monasteries and royalty.

    Soon, drinking tea was elevated to an art form which is still used today. To perform the tea ceremony in Japan, an individual must have years of training to achieve the right level of grace, charm and manners. In China, around the 16th century, tea started as a medical drink for patients to control bleeding, heal wounds, aid digestion, improve heart/mental health and regulate body temperature. It’s also known that the use of green tea for lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) is very significant.

    Tea made its way to England in the 1650s. It wasn’t long after that the Duchess of Bedford, introduced the country to a third meal. Prior to tea time, only breakfast and dinner had been served. The Duchess invited friends over in the afternoons for tea time and a walk. The concept caught on quickly and soon many of the women had adopted tea time. Tea was served in a sterling tea service and poured in to fine porcelain from China. As tea became less expensive, tea time was adopted by all levels of society. Nobles enjoyed “low tea” which was tea served with delicacies while peasants and others enjoyed “high tea” which included a full meal along with tea. Tea gardens soon followed which were the first public area where mixing social classes was considered acceptable.

    People who drink tea reap astounding benefits from it, these include but are not limited to:

    Cancer – According to the National Cancer Institute, the polyphenols in tea have been shown to decrease tumor growth in laboratory and animal studies and may protect against damage caused by ultraviolet UVB radiation.

    In countries where green tea consumption is high cancer rates tend to be lower, but it is impossible to know for sure whether it is the green tea that prevents cancer in these specific populations or other lifestyle factors.

    Heart Disease – A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that green tea consumption is associated with reduced mortality due to all causes, including cardiovascular disease. The study followed over 40,000 Japanese participants between the ages of 40 and 79 for 11 years, starting in 1994.The participants who drank at least 5 cups of green tea per day had a significantly lower risk of dying (especially from cardiovascular disease) than those who drank less than one cup of tea per day.

    Type 2 Diabetes – Studies concerning the relationship between green tea and diabetes have been inconsistent. Some have shown a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes for green tea drinkers than for those who consumed no tea.

    Source:  http://www.revolutiontea.com/tea-articles.html

    http://www.naturalnews.com/green_tea.html