Industry News

Trade and Business Update
March 31, 2020

Office Update

Regardless of our business, we are all highly impacted by COVID-19 and its worldwide impact on our health, safety and economy. I’m sure, like us, you are being deluged with information from vendors and news media. M.E. Dey hopes to provide you with relevant updates on how this pandemic affects your import and export shipments. We hope to be a valuable resource to you to help make decisions regarding your supply chain during these very dynamic and uncertain times. Please follow our updates for changes on Customs procedures, port closures, and freight market updates. If you have specific questions about certain countries, ports, or your cargo, please contact us.

Our office remains fully operational with 90% of our staff working remotely. Some staff are working flexible schedules to accommodate children at home. Please be patient if you cannot reach your party immediately. You can contact our main office (414)747-7000 at any time to get immediate answers or email

Stay safe and healthy and stay connected.

Sandi Siegel

M.E. Dey & Co., Inc.

Trade Related Updates

U.S. Customs:

CBP continues to process cargo without additional exams or concerns due to the increase of COVID-19 cases. However, it could impact CBP staffing levels at some ports which in-turn could cause external stakeholders to experience delays in the processing of vessels, crew, and cargo. Additionally, some ports have implemented a change in processing in the collection of duties. If you submit your duties directly to CBP by check, be sure you know the new collection process and hours of service.

Some of the port terminals are reducing hours or closing on certain days due to decreased volume. Seagrit in Baltimore is closed today and tomorrow and reducing hours. LA/Long Beach terminals are adjusting second shift gate hours from 6pm to 3am to 7pm to 4am to allow for cleaning from 4:45pm to 7pm – Many LCL terminals have also reduced their hours for pickup.

For a very brief period, CBP was accepting requests for deferral of duty payments for businesses impacted by COVID-19 and granting extensions on a case-by-case basis. CBP is no longer accepting requests for additional days at this time. CBP is continuing to work with federal and private sector partners to identify appropriate mechanisms to manage the operational impacts of COVID-19.

Canadian Customs is allowing extension of Duty Payments and GST

General Information and Resources

What if you can’t deliver Cargo to your customer because they are shut down? 

We have had many customers wondering who picks up extra fees or what happens if you can’t deliver your export shipment to your customer because they are shut down or the ports are closed. The below information from our friends at IB&M insurance will help give you guidance on insurance coverage and whether or not a Force Majeure declaration will protect you. It is important to review your contractual agreement with your buyer or seller to determine if your contact allows for a force majeure declaration.

From our friends at IB&M, Ltd. Cargo Insurance Providers regarding Force Majeure and COVID-19:
Force Majeure is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when unforeseen circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term act of God, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

It is important to understand that marine insurance provides coverage for loss or damage to cargo from an external cause. The impact of the Coronavirus will most likely be from the delay, non-delivery, and/or re-routing of cargo where there is no damage. Most policies will include a Deviation Clause. This clause states that coverage will not be vitiated by any deviation, change of voyage or any other interruption of the ordinary course of transit from a cause beyond the control of the Assured. Therefore, cargo will continue to be insured for physical loss or damage. As always, it is important to review and understand your policy.

Also, as supply chains are further strained, review contracts you have in place with customers to make sure you haven’t entered agreements that may be tough to fulfill.

EXIM Takes Action in Response to COVID-19 to Support U.S. Exporters and Jobs with Financing Flexibility
On March 25, the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ (EXIM) Board of Director’s announced they would provide relief to U.S. businesses, their buyers, financial institutions, and American workers negatively impacted by COVID-19 with the following programs:

  • Bridge Financing Program;
  • Pre-Delivery / Pre-Export Financing Program;
  • Supply Chain Financing Guarantee Program; and
  • Working Capital Guarantee Program

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus: 
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
Click here for the full PDF.
Click here for your local contact at SBA.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
Questions and Answers

M.E. Dey is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to keep you updated.
Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your freight at