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Q&A with Scott Loudon


What are the key issues and risks faced by shippers of inbound freight to The U.S.? And how can they mitigate against them?

There is a vast range of factors affecting anyone shipping into the US. The size of the country, the complexity of the logistics network, the variety of climatic conditions and the quality demanded by the most advanced marketplace in the world. However, perhaps the most important issue is ensuring that all your shipments clear the initial stages of their arrival seamlessly. Delays here can be costly and potentially damage your brand reputation, so it is imperative that your cargo meets every aspect of the regulatory requirements. The risk of inspection has increased greatly with the advent of trade wars, the imposition of new tariffs and rising concerns about immigration so it is vitally important that cargo securement meets the high standards required.

America’s rail network operates to the very highest global standards. The Association of American Railroads (AAR), who oversee, develop and implement the strict regulations affecting rail in North America, has earned a reputation for safety that is strongly guarded. Cordstrap is a Gold Associate Member of the AAR and has worked closely with their research teams to secure approval for a comprehensive range of cargo protection solutions. As well as ensuring that cargo is protected to the best possible standards, and will pass inspection, deploying Cordstrap solutions has the added advantage of securing full insurance cover for your shipments under the AAR’s terms. 


Two of the key areas of discussion in the breakout sessions at the conference are Open Top Load Securement and Food Product Shipments. What advice would you give inbound shippers on these cargo types to ensure they are compliant and fully protected?

Steel banding has been the traditional method of securing open top cargo, long favored for its strength, however it also presents a number of real problems. It is time-consuming and labor-intensive to apply and requires additional, specialized equipment. It also presents safety risks and has been responsible for many injuries to workers, especially those unloading shipments, who can suffer extreme lacerations when releasing the highly tensioned steel. What’s more, the sharp edges of the banding can also damage the shipments themselves by cutting through protective galvanized and coated surfaces leading to rejection at destination. On top of all this, steel banding is prone to failure, especially when subjected to the constant stresses it will encounter on long journeys.

Cordstrap strapping is just as strong as steel and will not expand and contract when subjected to variations in temperature so it maintains tension more consistently. What’s more, it is easier and faster to apply offering shippers operational cost savings in addition to reduced safety risks. As a result, our solutions have been fully approved by the AAR and are being widely adopted to reduce the cost and improve the safety of open-top loads.

The challenges facing food shipments are just as demanding. Cargo is often delicate and extremely sensitive to moisture and temperature variances. This can be especially problematic for loads travelling across a country the size of the US where distances and climate variations can be huge. Working closely with the AAR, Cordstrap has developed a range of tailor-made securing solutions to protect sensitive cargo in both dry and reefer containers. These have been designed to withstand forces of up to 4G that rail cargo can be subjected to during shunting. Cordstrap also leads the world with an unrivalled range of moisture control products to ensure that delicate cargo arrives in perfect condition.


Rail is an integral part of intermodal freight transportation in North America. How can shippers ensure compliance across all modalities?

Congestion, driver shortages, rising fuel costs and environmental concerns have all combined to make rail the transport of choice for shipments travelling a significant distance across the US. We foresee the break-even distance between road and rail coming down to 500 miles before long and continued investment is set to take rail to an increasingly important role in America’s logistics network. Rail is also the most likely mode of transportation for shipments from sea to inland ports so it’s vital that shipments are prepared for an intermodal rail journey and all the physical and regulatory challenges that represents. The AAR is playing a key role in the growth of rail and we work closely with them to ensure that our customers employ fully approved cargo protection solutions. And because Cordstrap’s solutions are also fully CTU code compliant, and certified by key global bodies such as Germanischer Lloyd, the IMO and Mariterm AB, you can be sure that Cordstrap will ensure your cargo safe passage at sea as well as on its onward journey across America.

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