Transportation Research Board Appointment

I am honored to accept appointment to this committee.

Dear Mr. Mitch Kostoulakos,

On behalf of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), I am pleased to offer you the following appointment:

Member, Main Member Slot — Standing Committee on International Trade and Transportation — AT020

NOTE: The name and code of this committee may be subject to change due to the committee restructuring scheduled to go into effect after April 15th.

Term – April 15, 2020 – April 14, 2023

TRB is one of seven program units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which provides independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conducts other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. Members of the National Academies’ technical committees serve as individuals, not as representatives of the organizations by which they are employed or of which they may be members. Through their appointment, members agree to actively participate in and support the committee’s activities, including those that will require volunteer work. More information about the roles and responsibilities of committee membership is available at

What’s an Acct Exec to do?

The current business environment has a post 9/11 feel to it. LSP account executives are off the road along with everyone else. Operations and customer service are disrupted. I am hearing the frustration from providers and their clients. The challenge for account execs is to maintain their account base and assist with operations and service issues without face to face contact.

This is not the time for sales pitches or cold calling. Clients are likely working from home and would not welcome this approach. Accounts execs can add value by problem solving and customer service support if clients will give them the opportunity.

My suggestions are for acct execs to hold off on the sales pitch for now and build the relationship through service. For clients, you would be smart to take the LSP rep’s phone calls and let them help you. Remember, they are trying to do their job and you can always cut the call short if it turns into a sales pitch.

From CBP Website

Customs Brokers

UPDATE  Due to the unprecedented situation related to coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, and the closure of our testing centers, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regretfully must postpone the April 1, 2020 Customs Broker License Exam (CBLE).   CBP will provide additional information in the coming days, so please check website for updates.   For immediate concerns regarding the broker exam, you may email Broker Management Branch at

Comment on LinkedIn

Heather Noggle • 2ndExport Compliance Data Expert | Master Data Integration Consultant | CEO Exits, Inc. | Helping Companies Manage Data4d • 4 days agoI’ve been working with a remote team for the last 14 years. We serve customers everywhere without a central location. Tips for the new home-based workers: 1) A regular meal in the middle of the day with the other humans around you does wonders. 2) Laundry and other small chores are great for brain processing. Do not feel guilty doing symbiotic chores/thinking. 3) You’ll need to remind yourself to move more often. 4) It’s very easy to lose track of time. You’re more productive at home – typically – and the movements and conversations of others aren’t present and cueing some of your own social behaviors. 5) This one’s new – stop reading about the Coronavirus every hour. I think this one I am directing at myself. Cheers to all. hashtag#remoteworkhashtag#remoteculture

Mitch Kostoulakos, LCB   Licensed Customs Broker, International Logistics Consultant

Agree….I have been working remotely for a number of years. What may come as a surprise is how much more productive you can be! Mitch Kostoulakos, LCB’S comment

Got Service?

When business slows down Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) must adjust staffing to match reduced volume and this presents challenges to their clients. Trusted LSPs and 3PLs are valuable resources for any business. They are the arteries through which supply chains function. Hopefully staffing cuts are temporary but, for now, they do add risk for clients.

Exporters, not LSPs, bear primary responsibility for compliance with regulations. In reality, though, many exporters rely on their freight forwarders to manage compliance for them. This has always been a mistake but even more so when the LSP reduces staffing. Documentation errors, misclassification, and failure to check licensing requirements are examples of the risk for exporters. Best practices in this area would be to review all documentation produced by LSPs, check shipments for “red flags”, and consider establishing a formal Export Compliance Program for the future. Here are some previous blog posts for reference:

Manage the Risk, 1/15/2020

How to Determine ECCN, 12/6/2019

Compliance Nuts and Bolts, 11/30/2019

Reviewed Your CI Lately? 11/3/2019

Red Flags, 9/29/2019 and 10/6/2019

Basic service levels are also impacted by LSP staffing cuts. Pick up and delivery routes will be combined so drivers are covering wider zones. This can mean late deliveries, missed pick ups, or late pick ups requiring overtime for the client. Remaining clerical staff may struggle to field customer service requests on a timely basis. Best practices here include gaining a comfort level with your providers’ on-line resources and developing problem solving protocols to save time. Blog posts for reference are:

Manage Your Carrier Relationships, 8/8/2019

Got Protocols? 4/6/2019

Need Help? contact mitch@

LinkedIn Comments

Pete Mento • 2ndManaging Director Global Customs and Duties, Crowe LLP1d • Edited • 1 day agoYou can freak out a little about this: Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE engaged in cross border trade needs to do two things right now – learn everything they can about “Force Majeure” clauses AND start combing through all of their contracts to see where they are and how they will be impacted by them. Because that term is about to get swung around like a bottle of Jager at a bachelor party. Like Hunter Thompson always said – “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro….” hS

Mitch’s Comment

good reminder to check the boilerplate

Are You Unmanaging?

Many of my clients are hard-working owners or operators of small businesses. They don’t have in-house compliance or logistics expertise so must wear several hats. Day to day activities or unexpected issues take up most working hours. As a result, functions such as logistics planning and import/export compliance are often unmanaged.

Making sure that your business is in compliance with import and export regulations is good risk management as well as good business. Think of it as insurance. I have written about compliance as risk management in previous blog posts. Here are a few:

  • Manage the Risk, 01/15/2020
  • Start off 2020 With a Customs Review, 01/09/2020
  • Compliance Nuts and Bolts, 11/30/2019
  • Red Flags, 09/29 and 10/06/2019
  • Let Shippers Ship, 06/13/2019

Logistics consists of equal parts planning, execution, problem solving, review/adjust, rinse and repeat. If you find yourself spending a lot of time problem solving then planning and/or execution need to be improved. Trusted LSPs (Logistics Service Providers) and 3PLs are valuable resources. At the very least, however, they need to be managed through monthly or quarterly review meetings for which you set the agenda. Here are a few more blog posts for reference:

  • Negotiate Value Before Price, 09/10/2019
  • Managing Carrier Relationships, 08/08/2019
  • Got Protocols? 04/16/2019

Don’t be an unmanager!

For help contact mitch@