Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Security seals are the integral part of shipping and logistics industry in the world. The general concern for Terrorism, cargo theft, adulteration, piracy & tampering can be deterring and detecting only by applying high security seals in cargo movement. In addition this will be an effective tool to reduce the unauthorized access.

The High Security Seals is used to stop counterfeits and provides safety for manufacturers to sell their products in original condition. Further on the other side, the consumer who consumes the products can feel the originality and get a shelter out of adulteration and duplication.

The outreach of security seals is widespread in many organisations with several reasons. Certain companies are using these methods to safeguard their brand name & valuable documents too. The latest technology & its implication helps to incorporating multiple security features that boosts protection as well as visual appeal of seals. These seals are supplied with tamper evidence property, thus providing clear warning of any attempt of elimination of seals.

Generally the security seals are called in different names in relation to its application and designs. Most comely known security seals are Bolt Seals, Truck Seal, Container Seals, Plastic Seals, Wire Seals, Padlock Seals, Truck Security Seals, MeterSeal, Cable Seals, Metal seals etc. These seals are heavily used in Shipping, Logistics, Mining, Banking, Electricity, Oil & Gas, Super Market and Food Supply industries across the globe.

Bolt Seals:- Bolt Seals are the Highly Secured way of sealing mechanism in securing the shipping containers. The bolt seal has mainly two parts. First one is plastic coated bolt and second one is locking bush. Further both are lazer marked with unique serial numbers for traceability. This type of seals can be locked manually by pushing the bolt inside the locking bush. They can be customized by colour, print, and bar-coding for additional security layers. These seals are ideal for containers, trailer door latches, and cross border shipments. These heavy duty seals require a bolt cutter to be removed. It is recommended to use ISO 17712:2013(E) certified Bolt Seals to ensure high level of security. Further these seals are also called in different names vis. Truck Seal, Container Bolt Seal, Cargo Bolt Seal, Lorry Seal, Container Seal Lock etc.

Cable Seals:- The cable seal has pull tight locking mechanism an internal locking mechanism prevents the cable from being retracted. They consist of a metal strip with a punched hole, attached to a housing section. When the strip is bent and threaded through the hole, a ball inside the housing section locks it in place. Most cable type seals belong only to the indicative levels. The cable seals are ideal to use in sealing Trucks, Lorry, oil drums, chemical bags, mining equipment, machinery equipment, valves, train cars, domestic containers etc. The cable seals are also available in ISO 17712 complied and can use for international cargo shipping too. This type of security cable seals are available in different cable lengths ranging from 1.5 MM to 6 MM based on customization. This is types of seals are also available in different designs and famous in names like Hexagonal Cable Seal, Square Cable Seal etc.
Plastic Seal:-The plastic seals or Plastic security seals have pull tight locking mechanism in gripping each effort. These types of seals are manufactured with plastic and have metal blade locking mechanism. This is an inexpensive way of security cargo’s with medium level of security and a good option when cost is a concernplastic seals can be used for sealing Hazardous waste, Fire Extinguishers, Cash bags, Vegetable bin, Courier bags etc. This type of seals are also called as Plastic Grip Seals, Plastic Security Tag, Plastic Security Seal, Plastic OTL, Plastic Tag etc.
Wire Seals:- Wire seals are similar to bolt seals in design and has metal galvanized wire connected to both male & female part viz. bolt & locking bush. The wire seals are also knows as Rope Wire Seal, Container Wire Seal, and Truck Wire Lock. These are ideal for container duel door locking, train cargo door locking, truck locking etc.
Strap Seals:- The Strap Seals are manufactured with metal and similar to plastic seals. Their material makes them more durable than plastic strap seals. This type of seal can give better security than the plastic seals. Further this can also available in customized mode like Printing, Customized Numbering, Brand Printing & Bar-code Printing. Strap seals are a good choice for trucking cargo, Containers, Drum Locking etc.
Padlock Seals:- Padlock seals are comparatively small seals and are really easy to use. Typically they are used to prevent doors from being opened and are available in both Metal & Plastics. The Metal Padlock Seals ideal for securing vehicle door, Truck door, meters and drums, while plastic padlock seals are ideal for securing food and beverage carts, first aid kits, and zipper bags etc. These seals are also known as Container Padlock Seals, Truck Padlock Seals, Lorry Padlock Seals, Security Padlock Seals, Mini Padlock Seals etc.

Installation & Implementation

The important feature of these types of seals are which can be used only once as One Time Lock. The seals are used once cannot be re-used again. If the seals are locked, the destination can remove only with high quality cutter based on item materials.

It is highly recommended for every shipping container to have at least one seal before a shipping line allows the container to be shipped. The shipper can choose the security seals based on their application which may vary from embossed lead wire seals to metal strip seals and metal bullet seals to padlocks.  All of which have been used by customers to safeguard the precious cargo that is shipped in containers.

Depending on the shipping line or the exporter and the level of safeguard required, containers may be sealed with any of the above combination of commonly known Security Seals. The objective of the High Security Seals or One Time Lock is not just to minimize the risk of someone accessing the container and taking cargo out; but also to avoid someone putting illegal stuff into the container such as drugs, weapons of mass destruction, contraband, counterfeit etc.

For this precise reason, receivers of the cargo/container must make sure that the seal number shown on the bill of lading/manifest and the seal and seal number present on the container when they receive it are exactly matches the same. If there is a seal or seal number discrepancy between manifest and container, the receiver should immediately advise the shipping line of the same and invite them for a joint survey of the container. Hence the simple, unassuming container seal or security seal plays a very important role in global trade and global security.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Cargo handlers respond to forwarder criticism of Covid-19 surcharge

Cargo handlers Menzies Aviation and Swissport have respond to freight forwarders’ criticism of surcharges introduced following the coronavirus outbreak.
The handlers explained to Air Cargo News that the cost of their cargo operations had increased as a result of the reduction in passenger flights.
Swissport said that the primary objective of its surcharge is to maintain supply chains.
“Due to the loss of almost all passenger flights and their cargo capacities, we can no longer rely on stable and recurrent flight schedules on the basis of which we plan capacities,” Swissport explained. “Today we have primarily irregular peaks (charter). This leads to a dramatically worse cost structure at Swissport. We now have to pass on some of these additional costs to our customers.”
Menzies Aviation said that it had announced surcharges in some markets across our global cargo network as a direct result of the significant downturn in global cargo volumes caused by Covid-19.
“This does not include any cargo classified on the airwaybill as Covid-19 such as medicines, medical equipment, PPE etc,” the handler explained.
“We have determined that this measure is necessary to keep our operations going at those key stations where we have experienced the most significant volume reductions. We are keen to play our part in maintaining movement in global supply chains.”
The statement added that the surcharge is not intended to fully absolve us of the impact of Covid-19 and that it has not implemented across all locations but is required to help “contribute to our ability to maintain our operations in the most severely impacted markets”.
Earlier this week, UK freight forwarder association BIFA hit out at the introduction of the surcharge.
“BIFA members are now faced with the task of explaining the surcharges to their customers, which are also struggling, without understanding, nor necessarily agreeing with, the rationale behind them,” the organisation said.
“They deserve a full explanation of why and how the surcharges were decided upon, and evidence that ground handlers are not just using the opportunities presented by the difficulties to increase charges for services already provided.”
The group went on to question whether competition authorities could be interested in the surcharges as “the ground handling companies made their announcements, which are remarkably similar in content and value, around the same date”.
In response to this, Menzies said that it could not comment on the decisions of any other cargo handlers “nor any rationale for their actions as we don’t have sight of that”.
“Our intent with our decision is simply to ensure our stations remain operational,” the company added.
It is not just in the UK where forwarders have questioned the surcharge. In Germany,  Air Cargo News sister title DVZ reported that The Federal Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics (DSLV) has pointed out that “a contract would first be required in order to be entitled to compensation or surcharge” after Swissport introduced a surcharge in the country.
For reasons of legal security, all those addressed should avoid the impression that “they are (tacitly) ready to pay the required special levy”, the association said.
The association therefore believes that it makes sense for affected companies to make it clear to Swissport “that there is no entitlement to the surcharge neither from a contract nor from any other legal reason and that they are unwilling to pay it”.
DVZ reported that Swissport now charges a surcharge of €19 for shipments of up to 500 kg. The amount increases up to €30 for shipments over five tonnes.
Cargo in connection with Covid-19, for which the special treatment code “COV” is stated on the air waybill, is excluded.

Inland logistics players' volume may fall 10-15% in current financial year: India Ratings

MUMBAI: Even as the government has announced some relief in the lockdown, inland logistics companies' volume is likely to fall 10-15 per cent in the financial year 2020-21 as the consumption demand could take a longer time for recovery, according to India Ratings.

According to the agency, operational recovery for logistics players will be gradual and prolonged over 2020-21, as against a sharp V-shaped recovery.

While the volume of inland logistics players is expected to be down by 10-15 per cent year-on-year in 2020-21, the first quarter of the year is likely to see a 40-60 per fall as the lockdown has been extended till May 3.

"The volume decline will be asymmetric across the value chain, with standalone truck operators showing the highest stress, followed by inland logistics players, ports and warehouses," the agency said.

It added that even if the government announces some relief in the lockdown, India's export-import trade may remain subdued in the current financial year, "as consumption demand could take even longer to recover, while exports volumes remain muted amid a weak global growth outlook".

Also, the impact on profitability and cash flows is uncertain due to lack of clarity over realisations, cost reduction initiatives taken by players, and government support, it said.

The agency further noted that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak will certainly necessitate meaningful revisions to India Rating's base case assumptions for 2020-21.

For 2021-22, Ind-Ra expects almost the entire value chain to recover above the pre-COVID-19 levels, except standalone freight operators, who will continue to struggle amid low volumes and high debt.

"Despite logistics being categorised as essential services, we expect volumes to decline, given the first ..

While the arrivals of vessels were normal in March 2020, the agency expects port volumes to reduce materially between May and June 2020 as global trade volumes shrink.

"China and the US have a market share of 18-22 per cent together in India's total trade volumes, thereby putting India's overall port volumes at risk. We expect almost the entire value chain to recover to the pre-COVID levels in FY22. However, standalone freight operators may continue to struggle amid possible higher delinquencies resulting from high debt levels and poor capacity utilisations," the agency said.

The agency pointed out that between 2016-17 and 2018-19, the logistics space in India experienced a large amount of consolidation and the share of integrated logistics players increased substantially, which has led to a rise in leverage levels across the sector.

It further said invocation of force majeure clause may increase contingent liability risk.

"In an economic downturn, logistics players not only face a lower demand for their services but also are exposed to the risk of a fall in market tariffs/rentals. Even in cases where revenues are backed by medium- to long-term contracts, unprecedented events such as a global pandemic, often allows the counterparty to invoke force majeure provisions.

"The likelihood of such an event and its impact varies significantly across issuers depending on the credit profile of their counterparty, performance of the industry and the nature of services provided by them," Ind-Ra added.
As the overall level of economic activity remains subdued, the rating agency expects continued muted freight rates over the next 6-9 months.

Additionally, the overall demand for freight transportation services is expected to contract in 2020-21.