BCS observations from NCBFAA Annual Conference

Melissa and I were privileged to attend the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s annual conference last month in Orlando, Florida. This even draws leaders of companies as well as top officials from Customs, TSA and the other government agencies which regulate brokers and forwarders. We exhibited at the conference, and after talking to many of the attendees, we came away with the following industry observations.

Hiring will be on the rise.

Most forwarders we spoke with indicated that between Q2 and Q4, they intend to add staff across import and export departments.

Peak season will bring more business.

Everyone struggled through the congestion on the West Coast as the ILWU and PMA negotiated for more than ten months to reach agreement on a new contract. Based on the uptick in the economy, though, peak season this year will be busier than in past years.

Staying informed is more important than ever.

Education plays a large role in the NCBFAA’s mission, including with their Educational Institute. The upcoming deployment of ACE, as well as the recent implementation of the Broker Known Importer Program and CTPAT for exporters reinforces that professionals must continue to educate themselves to stay relevant and current for their customers.

Crossfit? Crosstrain.

Many small to mid-sized forwarders are increasingly requiring that their staff be cross trained to handle both import breakbulk and Customs brokerage. While this does not mean that licensed Customs brokers are required to do breakbulk, they should at least be able to manage a deconsolidation and understand how to prepare an entry for importation with responsible supervision.

M&A isn’t stopping – stay professionally networked.

The past month has seen many acquisitions of companies both in the US and overseas. The impact of this is that when these companies look to shed cost or redundancies, good people are sometimes the unfortunate casualties. It is important to remain professionally networked through LinkedIn as well as by attending events to keep you and your brand top-of-mind with the leaders of companies.

BCS can help.

BCS has access to several educational programs and opportunities, as well as our own deep bench of companies who are seeking recruits. If you are a company  looking for staff or an individual looking to have someone look at your resume, contact us today.

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