NEW YORK A growing number of U.S. scrap exporters have expressed confusion and frustration over stepped-up inspection procedures put in place by China Certification & Inspection Co. Ltd. (CCIC).
The agency, which describes itself as an impartial, third-party "trade-service enterprise specializing in survey and inspection," is largely responsible for enforcing the regulations set forth in Chinas "Operation Green Fence," a program designed to cut down on imports of banned substances.
The problem isnt with Chinas new environmental initiatives, but with the constantly changing enforcement of regulations, exporters said.
"They (CCIC) are making up these rules as they go along," one exporter told AMM, noting that CCIC executives at the beginning of August began increasing oversight on shipments of scrap and requesting detailed photos of containers. "If you fail to take all of the appropriate photos, they will deny paperwork, which will lead to the load getting rejected at port."
Shippers had been allowed some leniency prior to August if container photos were omitted from the pre-load inspection package. Now, CCIC has begun to actively enforce a clause in the existing regulations requiring exporters to provide pictures of the empty container prior to loading, the container with half of the material inside, the container with two-thirds the material inside and multiple pictures of the fully loaded container showing container doors open and closed. The regulation also mandates that shippers provide two additional photographs of material shipped in boxes or supersacks.
Recent dealings with CCIC have been difficult to navigate, a second exporter said. "If they are missing anything or need additional information, CCIC can refuse to send the original shipping certificate, which will cause the load to get rejected in China."
If a mistake is found or a photo omitted, a letter of guarantee is no longer sufficient evidence to ensure acceptance at the port, the second exporter added. "They are really cracking down on these rules and its making things extra difficult," he said.
Executives from CCICs U.S. headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., declined to comment on any changes to enforcement procedures on imports of scrap.
A third exporter explained that he was in favor of environmental crackdowns in China, but was bothered by the "fire alarm system" used to enforce the policies. "China used to be the Wild West and people would get away with all kinds of things," he said. "But any country that has an industrial infrastructure has to use a set of rules by which to play."
China has yet to establish a proper system for enforcing those rules, he added.
The best way to establish a strong relationship with CCIC and its inspectors is to simply comply with every rule, several shippers said.
"I already know that CCIC is not to be trifled with," a fourth exporter said. "Basically, we make sure not to mess with them."