Hundreds of millions of eCommerce parcels into the US set to be rejected unless higher data quality threshold is met from January 1, 2021

parcels

Several hundred million mail parcels destined for the United States will be rejected when the requirement for a higher threshold of advance electronic data comes into force on January 1, 2021.

Posts have had it confirmed that as of that date any parcels arriving in the US with incorrect or incomplete data will be refused and returned to origin.

Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border eCommerce trade data and compliance technology, says the United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to meet in just a few weeks.

The January 1 deadline marks the latest step in the enforcement of the US STOP Act which is primarily intended to crack down on the importation of illicit opioids into the country.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the STOP Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year.

“From January 1, posts will be expected without exception to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US.

“As things stand that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin.

“This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.

“Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, in turn, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19.

“The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched its easy to integrate Zephyr data enhancement product which allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information all under a single quick check function.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can, on an item by item API call base, provide for a real time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. The screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items that is sent to Hurricane takes no more than 15 minutes.

David Spottiswood, a co-founder of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS deadline is real and is just a few weeks away from being rigorously enforced.

“Our Zephyr solution has been created specifically to meet this challenge and can be activated and delivering enhanced data quickly.

“We know from customer results that Zephyr enables posts to achieve the required data quality threshold.

“Posts which are able to meet the rigorous higher standards being set by the USPS are likely to gain a competitive edge in the world of cross-border trade.”

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Mexico Works The Longest Hours in The World

With numerous studies showing taking regular breaks at work is essential for physical and mental wellbeing, how often do workers around the world take a lunch break at work? Global Workspace Specialists Instant Offices have collated data around the world’s busiest cities and provided insight into how work-life balance has affected the top countries.

The latest research has placed Mexico at the top of the list for most hours worked, with employees in the country putting in 2137 hours annually. This is followed by Costa Rica, at 2059.6 hours a year, Korea at 1967 hours a year, and Greece at 1949 hours a year. At the other end of the scale, Denmark, Germany and Norway have the lowest average annual working hours, all coming in at below 1400.

Between 2015 and 2019, the countries experiencing the sharpest increase in the number of annual hours worked were the Czech Republic, New Zealand and the UK, rising by 32, 28 and 11 hours respectively. Meanwhile, Korea saw the most significant decline in annual working hours in the same period, dropping by 116 hours. This was followed by Costa Rica, with an 88.6-hour decrease, and Chile, with an 84-hour drop.

A survey of 27 countries revealed some key facts about how employees are balancing their days between time spent at their desks, and time spent on breaks. It seems the concept of a “lunch hour” has become a thing of the past, with the average lunch break lasting 35 minutes.

Countries with the most extended lunch break times are predominantly in Asia, while the lowest are mostly found in Europe.

 

Top five countries with the longest lunch breaks:

Country

Lunch Break Duration

Brazil

48 minutes

Malaysia

47 minutes

Japan

46 minutes

Portugal

44 minutes

South Korea

43 minutes

 

Top five countries with the shortest lunch breaks:

Country

Lunch Break Duration

Mexico

30 minutes

New Zealand

30 minutes

Spain

28 minutes

Poland

24 minutes

Greece

19 minutes

 

Being in the top 5 countries for longest annual working hours and shortest daily lunch breaks, Mexico and Greece are some of the world’s busiest (and likely most overworked) cities. Mexico’s annual working hours have remained relatively steady with a small drop of 3 hours since 2015, while Greece’s hours have risen slightly by 5.

With 74% of Greek workers reporting that they get only 15 minutes or no lunch break, Greece is undoubtedly one of the European nations most lacking in a healthy work-life balance.

Not only does Mexico have some of the longest annual hours and shortest break times, but it also currently has the second-worst work-life balance score globally according to Statista (1.1, second only to Colombia at 0.9). The US and the UK were also among the worst-scoring countries, scoring 6 and 6.4 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands, which has some of the lowest annual working hours, is ranked as having the best work-life balance, with a score of 9.5. Denmark and Norway, two more countries listed as having the lowest annual working hours, also made the top 10 for the best work-life balance.

To view the full list of which countries are working the longest hours, click here: https://www.instantoffices.com/blog/featured/worlds-busiest-countries/

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Latin GRAMMY-Winning Singer/Songwriter Ricardo Montaner on His Motivation, His Mission and His Music

ricardo mon

Ricardo Montaner is one of the best-selling Latin singer/songwriters of all time. A versatile musician and preeminent romantic balladeer, Montaner has composed and edited over 300 hundred songs, released over 24 studio albums, sold over 65 million records worldwide, broken attendance records at arenas all over the globe, and boasts one of the most recognizable voices in the Spanish-speaking world. He was born in Argentina but moved to Venezuela as a small child, where he first got his start singing in a church music group. From there, music became his driving passion, a calling that has taken him to a level of artistic renown few can match.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Montaner has sent numerous singles to the top of the charts, including perennial favorites like “Me Va a Extrañar,” “Dejame Llorar,” “La Gloria de Dios,” “La Cima Del Cielo,” “Castillo Azul,” “Quisiera,” “Vasito de Agua” and many more. His song “Tan Enamorados” occupied the No.1 spot of Billboard ’s Hot Latin Songs chart for 47 weeks. In October 2011, the magazine cited him as one of the ten most outstanding Latin American artists in the last 25 years. Montaner continues to evolve as an artist, innovating with new styles and collaborating with contemporary hitmakers like Tainy, Farruko, and J Balvin. Along the way, Montaner’s picked up several prestigious accolades, including a Latin GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Beyond his music, Montaner has always put an emphasis on giving back. A tireless advocate for children, Montaner’s philanthropic efforts have earned him Billboard’s Hope Award, a Global Ambassadorship for the Special Olympics, and the soon to be announced title of Ambassador for Peace on behalf of Peace Tech Lab, an international award-winning organization established by the United States Institute of Peace, dedicated to raising awareness about the need to use technology for social good.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Broadcast Music caught up with this celebrated music creator to learn how he’s made it all work.

 

Since first starting your career in the 1980s, you’ve become one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time. How has your creative process evolved over the years?

I feel that the creative process mutates from the personal growth of the individual. We cannot forget that those of us who write develop stories based on our experiences. Therefore, I believe that it is a matter of evolution and with each year that passes, creativity gives you new elements with which to write a song.

 

After 24 albums, you’ve managed to stay current — what has been your secret?

There is no secret formula for staying relevant. I try to adapt to what is musically current without losing the legitimacy of my poetry. But, at the same time, those same life experiences that I spoke about earlier have a lot to do with keeping you aware of what’s happening — how things feel, how couples live, what they live for, how their relationships change according to what’s happening in the world.

Along with writing most of your own songs, you’ve collaborated with some incredible songwriters. What, in your experience, is the key to a successful collaboration?

I think a successful collaboration happens when you shake your egos off on the doormat. When you get the opportunity to write with someone, the secret for something wonderful to result from it is to check your ego at the door. You pick it back up when you leave the place. That’s the best way I can answer that question.

 

You have won countless accolades, including the Lifetime Achievement award at the Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2016. What accomplishment in your career are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the respect… of my fans, my colleagues, whom I respect with all my heart and conscience. There is no more beautiful prize for any human being than the respect of others.

 

You have managed to use your fame as a music creator as a powerful platform for your philanthropy via your two foundations, Hijos Del Sol and Ventana de Los Cielos, endeavors that earned you Billboard’s Spirit of Hope Award in 2010. How important to you is the concept of giving back?

We were designed to serve. When God brought us into the world, He brought us with the idea of ​​living in brotherhood and serving one another. In my family, we take this very seriously and, in many cases, it translates through our foundations. But it also translates into the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing that you have brought a smile to someone or that you have brought relief to someone. For me, philanthropy is like an immense title, but service is a title that I regard with greater pride and satisfaction.

 

Speak a little bit about your involvement with Peace Tech Lab? How did you get involved with that?

Peace Tech Lab is a non-profit organization whose mission is the construction of peace. Throughout my experience as a spokesperson and ambassador of different organizations such as UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Special Olympics, to name a few, one of my greatest satisfactions has been knowing that any advocacy work that one does echoes and manifests itself with an impact. Peace Tech Lab seeks that: to impact people’s lives around the world. I am very proud and happy to know there are results every time we run a campaign.

 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

I think Hispanic Heritage is nothing more than a reminder celebration of where we come from, of our dignified presence, and our achievements in this country.

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Has Donald Trump Influenced the American Dream?

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Donald John Trump is the 45thpresident of the United States of America, securing victory in the November 2016 election.

Ever since taking office on 20th January, 2017, the Republican leader has caused quite the stir with both his domestic policies and through his approach to international relations with the wider world. But how has he impacted the core American ideals and cultural beliefs, such as the historically divisive ‘American Dream’, and to what extent has this permeated into the lives of civilians?


Self-made and Successful: the American Dream

The American Dream is a term which dates back to 1931 when historian James Truslow Adams defined it for the first time in his book Epic of America. One of the most famous quotes derived from it is as follows: “the American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” This sums up the ethos in its original form, as a plight for earned success under which Americans receive their potential and enjoy happiness.

However, the concept has been deconstructed by many social and ethnic groups, and it has become a point of disparity and injustice over the course of history. There have also been a string of dramatisations of the concept embodied in television and cinema, with examples such as The Pursuit of Happiness, Forrest Gump, The Great Gatsby, and The Social Network all providing different representations of the notion and its values.

Its premise, however, is supposed to govern an all-American mentality, and we’re going to take a look at how Donald Trump’s presidency has affected this so far, focusing mainly on the ideas of self-made success.


Can Trump truly advocate the American Dream?

Effectively, the American dream hinges on a rags to riches story — a started at the bottom and built it up philosophy. That said, is this something Trump could technically promote?

Born in Queens, New York, it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that Donald had a considerably easier path to success, than shall we say, his predecessor and perhaps his biggest targeted enemy, Barack Obama.

The republican president didn’t spend his childhood on the streets — quite the opposite. He was born into a rather wealthy family. He was sent to private boarding school, before attending military academy, and later university in Philadelphia.

During his time at university he began working for the family real-estate business, which managed middle-class properties in Brooklyn and Queens. Some would be quick to suggest, “but he took the family business and transformed it into something spectacular”, which yes, he did but, can that really be considered a prime example of the so-called ‘American Dream’?

When he first entered the Forbes Rich List back in 1982 with a net worth of a more than meek $200 million, he was aged only 36 — impressive by any measurement. Although, one must remember, the springboard was already in place and it was two generations ahead of Donald. It wasn’t about employing carpe diem, this was simply a case of taking what you’re given and bettering it.

Now, of course, this wholly depends on how you perceive this concept of dreaming and we don’t believe that Trump fits within the mould.


American Business

Footfall in American malls has declined significantly over 2019, with 8,600 stores being forecast to close. Around 66 per cent of Americans hope to open their own small business. The main reasons holding people back are financial security and fear of failure at 45 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively.

In an attempt to stimulate economic growth, Trump altered the tax landscape in America by cutting taxes for corporations and small businesses, which further enriched the wealthiest while not helping the average person. Tax relief for the rich to middle classes highlights the rising financial inequality that the American Dream is trying to dispel.


Fashion Choices

Remembering that classic quote, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’? It would appear that American fashion choice is reflected in business goals of the American Dream. Sales data from CT Shirts, retailer for men’s suits, have illustrated that, in general, American customers have a much more formal style when compared to their UK sales data.

The highest spend over the last year for formal shirts was plain. Solid colours were the front runner — is it a coincidence that Trump is only seen in plain shirts? The Washington Post claimed that they have sifted through archives and cannot find any images of Trump in jeans over the last 20 years, and American men are certainly presenting themselves as smart in the office.

Casual shirts sold the most in check pattern, a much less conventional style when thinking of the American Dream. Are a more diverse range of people being influenced by the notion of the American Dream and prosperity?

Pink shirts were among the highest spend for both New York and California, with research finding that pink shirts have connotations of being qualified, having more confidence, and earning more money — both locations having some of America’s wealthiest areas. Unsurprisingly, white shirts remained high across both locations, a classic, timeless choice for many sectors, helping those access a successful appearance with a staple garment of clothing.

Long sleeves outsold short sleeves in both cities, an undeniably professional look. Even though California experiences high temperatures, short sleeves were bought less by customers who opted for more sophisticated choices of clothing. Slim fit formal shirts were also the most popular, giving the illusion of a tailored fit.

So then, if, as we mentioned earlier, the American Dream was originally attributed to loving and enjoying life thanks to what one had earnestly worked for, it doesn’t seem unfair to say that Donald Trump didn’t earn everything he’s got from scratch.

Yes, Trump may have rolled up his sleeves to build his empire and he may have worked his way through life as a businessman, but it’s also true  that he had an advantage that many Americans don’t always have at the start of their lives. Starting off as a young businessman, Donald Trump had that little push, an established family business, which offered him a little step onto the ladder from which he then built his empire.

Looking at the American population, a huge percentage of Americans lack exactly that starting point, which would give them access to the American Dream advocated by their president. Donald Trump’s story has somehow altered the original idea of the American Dream, meaning some groups are put into a privileged position and have more chances to living the American Dream.

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