Recently implemented policies based on National Cotton Council resolutions regarding warehouse bale shipment reporting are aimed at enhancing the industry’s reputation for timely delivery by getting U.S. raw cotton into customers’ hands faster.
The policies, which are now included in the USDA Cotton Storage Agreement, call for warehouses to 1) report their weekly shipments electronically in a more detailed manner and 2) respond promptly to shipping orders from merchants via computer.
One provision addresses bales made available for shipment (known as BMAS) which warehouses currently report weekly to USDA. Warehouses will continue to report this number weekly under the provisions of the Cotton Storage Agreement. However, bales not picked up (BNPU) cannot be counted as BMAS for longer than one week.
To keep track of whether a bale already has been counted, warehouses are required to send a summary file of all bale permanent bale identification (PBI) numbers weekly to EWR, Inc. -- the primary handler of electronic warehouse receipts in the U.S. cotton industry. EWR coordinates with USDA which reviews the weekly BMAS numbers and monitors warehouses’ compliance with the bale reporting rules.
The second policy change pertains to merchants’ shipping orders or staging shipping orders. The USDA now requires warehouses to respond to any shipping order or staging shipping order received from a merchant with a “Shipping Order Update” file within two business days. All shipment file communications will be provided to USDA, so the agency can monitor warehouses’ compliance. USDA has indicated that it also will be watching to determine whether shippers are replying (when necessary) to the warehouse with a Shipping Order Update file.
Lauren Krogman, the NCC’s manager of Marketing and Processing Technology, said, “Implementation of policy recommendations will provide USDA with additional resources when reviewing warehouses’ performance. These changes should also help to alleviate miscommunication between warehouses and merchants and assist in providing traceability of data.”
EWR, which was contracted by the NCC to develop the computer software for helping USDA track BMAS and shipping order information, plans to hold software use training classes. The classes are scheduled for: July 25 in Tulare, Calif.; August 13 in Tunica, Miss.; August 20 in Tifton, Ga.; and August 27 in Lubbock, Texas. The classes are free but anyone planning to attend is asked to register in advance at www.ewrinc.com.
EWR President/CEO Joe Wyrick said, “The software will not be hard to utilize, especially if someone attends one of the scheduled sessions to receive proper training.”
Questions can be directed to:
National Cotton Council
Chief, License & Storage Contract Branch
Warehouse & Commodity Management Division
Agricultural Marketing Service
United States Department of Agriculture