As the U.S. Army prepares to leave Afghanistan in 2014, many logistics providers also are pulling out. Logenix is staying. A specialist in war-torn and remote regions, it sees opportunities in the building boom that is affecting Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has long experience managing the risks and vagaries of war-torn regions. It recently opened two new offices in Kabul and Karachi, and has a history of successful operations in Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Uganda, Kenya, Russia and other nations.
As Logenix CEO Ron Cruse tells WT100, “The amount of development and funding going into the region is huge. Pakistan, despite being a nuclear power, needs power programs, and Afghanistan has all sorts of development underway.” He says Afghanistan and Pakistan currently are the two leading recipients of development funding in the world.
While developing regions may require particular caution, even allied nations like Canada and the United Kingdom are on control lists for certain items. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the Commerce Department each stress the importance of knowing the shipper and the ultimate recipient for the goods. “Look into your client. If you ship to Dubai but those items make their way to Iran…” Cruse points out, there will be legal consequences.
Logistics providers remain the government’s last line of defense when it comes to enforcing export controls. Although shippers are becoming more responsible for their own export documents and are developing internal compliance departments, logistics providers that have erred when preparing export documents have found themselves severely fined. Therefore, Cruse recommends checking vendor information carefully, including the packing lists and destinations. “If you think it may need licensing, check,” Cruse emphasizes. CBP may want to inspect the export license and even the goods themselves before they leave the United States.
Export controls affect all sorts of goods. Armaments are obvious items on export control lists, but there also are controls placed on ball bearings, disk drives, fertilizer, protective gloves, handcuffs, heat exchangers, life jackets, weaving machines and a huge list of other goods. Additional export controls also apply to certain countries, individuals and companies.
Export control regulations are evolving as export control items move between the departments of State and Commerce and as items are removed or added to the lists. Therefore, relying upon yesterday’s information is insufficient. “With export controls, you always should check,” Cruse stresses.
Getting the goods into the destination country is the reciprocal challenge. “Receiving health ministry certification to get goods into developing countries is a big compliance issue. Each country is different and operates individually,” Cruse says. Generally, the process is more labor intensive and sometimes requires import bonds.
Shipping among developing nations also requires attention. “We do a lot of shipments out of India and China. Not every vendor is licensed to export and, in China, the exporter must be a trading house. Therefore, ensure you have proper export documents.” The documents that are issued aren’t always good enough to clear customs at the destination, he adds. Documents must be very specific. “Industrial parts” is not sufficiently detailed. Instead, have itemized packing lists and invoices.
He also advises getting the documents as early as possible and having them translated into English, even if they are moving among developing countries – India to Bangladesh, for example. Translating documents into the destination language is less important.