BBM eNews

Sept Mainhead

By Harrell Kerkhoff, Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine Editor


Receiving and sending products from point “A” to point “B” can be a challenge at any distance. This is often compounded when an entire ocean is in the way. Helping business leaders in the mop, broom and brush industries better understand oceanic freight and international logistics was Edwin Comesana, account executive at Kuehne+Nagel Inc. Comesana gave a presentation on this subject during the 2013 National Broom & Mop Meeting in St. Louis on October 4.


Serving as a freight forwarder, Comesana said Kuehne+Nagel, and similar companies, help customers receive and send products throughout the world by providing information, technology and implementing procedures. This freight can be transported by a variety of shipping providers, including oceanic steamship lines.


He noted that many challenges and opportunities remain for those companies that receive and/or send finished goods and raw materials around the world.


“I would imagine that shipping is the backbone for many companies (represented at the National Broom & Mop meeting). At least it’s a certain percentage of your company’s costs,” Comesana said. “What a freight forwarder does is minimize shipping costs as much as possible for both the importer of goods as well as the freight carrier.


“A freight forwarder works to provide the best overall service possible. It may be a little bit more expensive at times, but (the forwarder) will do everything it can to reduce rates for (the importer), while at the same time provide value to partners, which include steamship lines,” Comesana said.


Current Low Demand On The High Seas


One noteworthy trend that has taken place over the past several years centers around the lack of profits for many steamship companies, according to Comesana. Simply put, these steamship lines have been losing money at a staggering rate. Part of the problem, Comesana explained, can be traced to economic hard times that many countries around the world have been experiencing. Therefore, the lack of demand for shipping products due to these economic struggles has left many steamship lines adrift in the red.


“There are people (at steamship lines) having problems filling containers and figuring out how to regain the money that has been lost,” Comesana said.


It’s been reported, he added, that due to an over abundance of steamships in service, and lower demand for shipping in a weak global economy, the value of cargo ships has greatly decreased.


“According to some estimates, as many as half the cargo carriers on the high seas today may no longer be worth as much as the debt they are carrying,” Comesana said.


Because of these economic hardships, several steamship lines have been trying to increase shipping rates via GRI (General Rate Increase) or PSS (Peak Season Surcharge), often to the surprise of an importer. There is also the BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor), which is a surcharge designed to offset the price of fuel.


“There are (importers) who might think they are receiving a good oceanic freight rate until they see a surcharge that has been added. A freight forwarder has to pass these charges on, but it does stay in constant communication with steamship lines and works to mitigate added costs as much as possible,” Comesana said.


He said the lack of shipping demand, however, is causing many rates to decrease despite added fees. This, of course, benefits those companies today that are importing products and raw materials.


Comesana stressed that getting a low rate should not always be the ultimate goal. Service is also vital as not all steamship lines are created equal.


“There are those steamship lines which have more equipment available to them and tend to be more expensive. Therefore, you will pay more for better service,” Comesana said. “There are also smaller steamship lines that may offer a lower rate, but transit times might be longer. I don’t know if you would want to throw all of your eggs in one basket and choose the cheapest steamship line.


“It’s the freight forwarder’s job to coach and educate company representatives (looking to import goods) in order to make smart decisions, gain business and become more profitable.”


One tactic some steamship lines have been using to save on fuel costs is called “slow steaming.” Just as it sounds, it’s the practice of slowing the speed of a vessel in order to improve fuel efficiency. This, of course, adds to the lead time of goods in transport from a “slow steamer.”


(Continued in top right column.)

Las Vegas Convention Center

Edwin Comesana.


“We have also seen a decrease in orders for new vessels. It’s another sign of a weak global economy and lack of demand,” Comesana said. “Many steamship lines are subsidized by governments which pump money into the lines in order for them to avoid bankruptcy.”


He noted that steamship lines face a business climate that is capital intensive. This includes high fixed costs and a sensitivity to oil prices during day-to-day operations. Their business is also cyclical.


“Therefore, rates are often volatile —going up and down,” Comesana said.


The best case scenario for everybody concerned, he added, is when this volatility lessens and rates stabilize.


Looking ahead, Comesana said that if the global economy remains cool, overall shipping rates may continue to slightly decrease. Volatility with these rates, however, always remains a factor.


Comesana discussed during the National Broom & Mop Meeting the importance of working with one or two reliable freight forwarders that have a global presence established in such places as Asia and the United States. Comesana said one major benefit to working with such a forwarder is being able to receive a freight rate quote in a timely manner. This helps the importer pass the quote to its own customer as soon as possible.


Comesana also addressed the Panama Canal expansion project which is expected to be completed in 2015. He said this expansion could increase shipping traffic through the canal by approximately 20 percent. How this will influence shipping rates is yet to be fully determined, but an increase is expected.


“The expansion will create more traffic (through the canal) and slow transit times to certain destinations, but it also gives customers an extra option,” Comesana said.


For example, he added, if there is a major strike at a port on the U.S. West Coast, the expanded Panama Canal will provide a good way for shippers to avoid such a trouble spot.


Comesana also addressed the importance of having the International Security Form (ISF) in place when it comes to importing products from other countries. The form has been required for several years and comes with heady fines if everything is not in place. Fortunately, Comesana added, there was a long grace period at the start of the ISF program before the fines began.


“Any shipment headed to the United States must have ISF confirmation prior to leaving a country from overseas,” he said. “There are fines that will be issued if (the ISF) does not get completed. One of our jobs, as a freight forwarder, is to help shippers, exporters and importers with this process.”


In a followup interview on Oct. 17, Comesana added that the recent U.S. federal government shutdown had a slight influence on his company’s business since it does work with such government agencies as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


“The shutdown had a slight effect, but it did not impact our overall business in a major way,” he said.





July 2013 Imports/Exports


Import/Export trade data is provided to Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine by the U.S. Census Bureau.



June 2013 IE Data


Click here for entireJuly Export/Import Statistics



California Assembly Awards
Commendation To Gordon Brush


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Gordon Brush President and CEO Ken Rakusin is shown in front of his company's facility in Commerce, CA.


Gordon Brush has announced that the company received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Honorable Cristina Garcia, member of the California State Assembly, 58th District, California State Legislature for providing quality American-made products.


Gordon Brush President and CEO Ken Rakusin said, “It is a great honor to receive this commendation. We have had to work extremely hard, make sacrifices and find creative ways to compete with other countries so that we could be profitable within the California regulatory environment.


“This commendation acknowledges Gordon Brush’s commitment to making high quality American-made products and to keep jobs in California and the United States. We are proud to be an American manufacturer,” Rakusin added. “Our commitment to maintaining our plant in Commerce, CA, resisting temptations to relocate to other states or offshore, hasn't been easy. But when I look at the faces of my devoted crew, and the high quality they produce, it’s all worth it.”


Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc. is an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer of specialty, custom and standard brushes for industrial and consumer purposes. The company makes the FootMate® System as well as over 15,000 other medical, industrial, janitorial and electronic brushes at its 51,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Commerce. It stocks over 2,000 different brushes for same day shipment selling to a variety of industries including medical, electronics, manufacturing, military, aerospace and pharmaceutical.


Visit for more information.





Nexstep Introduces The MaxiRoll™ Waste Receptacle


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Nexstep's new 26-gallon MaxiRoll™ waste receptacle.



Nexstep Commercial Products (exclusive licensee of O-Cedar) introduces the MaxiRoll™ Waste Receptacle, which according to the company, is perfect for restaurants or bars. Its slim design makes it ideal for a back-of-the house trash can, according to the company. This 26-gallon waste receptacle holds a lot, yet its sturdy grip handles and rear wheels make it easy to maneuver. It is made of high impact plastic, and the receptacle can be easily sanitized.


The MaxiRoll™ Waste Receptacle is made entirely of recycled materials and is manufactured in the United States.
Nexstep Commercial Products spokespeople say it is dedicated to providing customers with quality eco-friendly products that “Make Your Life Easier®.”


Visit for more information.



Abtex Corporation Adds Brandon Boyd
As Design Engineer



Brandon Boyd has joined Abtex Corporation’s systems group as a design engineer. In his new position, Boyd, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from SUNY College in Alfred, NY, is designing the company’s automated deburring systems.

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Brandon Boyd, Abtex Corporation's new design engineer.


Abtex Corporation, which was established in 1980 and located in Dresden, NY, manufactures application specific, abrasive filament brushes and automated systems for deburring and finishing metal parts. The systems group designs and manufactures manual, automatic and robotic machine systems that use Abtex abrasive filament brushes and other abrasive products to deburr and finish metal.


Visit for more information.




Tuway American Group Shows Support
Of Breast Cancer Awareness


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Tuway American Group will begin donating a portion of the company’s sales to the northwest Ohio affiliate of the Susan G. Komen organization, the start of an ongoing partnership, according to the company.


Portions from the sales of the following items will be donated to support the fight against breast cancer: Super S Dust Mop, MFL Dust Mop with Ties, and the MRL Wet Mop (White).


Since 1982, Komen has been raising awareness, support and funding research for the fight against breast cancer in the United States.


“It is an honor and a privilege for the Tuway American Group to become a partner with Susan G. Komen,” Douglas J. Koester, company president, said.


Headquartered in Troy, MI, with manufacturing facilities in Rockford, OH, Tuway American Group is a family operated company that has specialized in the development and manufacturing of innovative textile cleaning products and programs since 1923. Visit for more information.


For more information about the northwest Ohio affiliate of Susan G. Komen, visit





Butler Home Products Offers
Black & Decker Step-On-It® Dustpan


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Butler Home Products, LLC, a licensee of Black & Decker, says it is improving on its patented Step-On-It® Dustpan design. A larger foot opening with a non-slip rubberized foot plate has been added to make the product easier and safer to use.


Company spokespeople say this design helps to make sweeping up messes simple for one person by minimizing the need to continually bend over to reposition the dust pan. The foot hole has been molded into the design allowing the user to guide the dustpan into position and hold it in place while sweeping.


It also features a large capacity which aids the user to pick up a large amount of debris without having to empty too often. There are improved molded teeth along the side of the product to help clean material out of a broom, and a molded soft rubber edge that helps make a tight seal with the floor so that dirt gets swept into the pan and not under it, according to the company. When not in use, it can be clipped to a Black & Decker broom for storage.


Butler Home Products, LLC, headquartered in Marlborough, MA, is a division of Bradshaw International, and markets an assortment of cleaning and household products. It is marketed under the Butler, Mr. Clean, Charmin, Dawn, Black & Decker, Seventh Generation, and Twist brand names.


Visit for more information.





The Malish Corporation Opens Facility In The Netherlands, Expands Rotational Molding Capabilities In China


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The Malish Corporation has opened a new European facility, located in Oosterhout, The Netherlands.
The new operation, Malish Europe BV, is a distribution support center.


In addition to housing a warehouse for distributor inventory, Malish Europe will also serve as the primary hub for European sales operations. Rene Sohier, European sales director, will oversee the European operations.


The Malish Corporation also announced the company is adding rotational molding capabilities to its Dongguan, China, facility.


Since opening its first plant in China in 1998, The Malish Corporation says it has witnessed rapid growth within the region. Malish currently occupies a 90,000-square-foot facility located in the city of Dongguan in the Guangdong province of southern China.


Visit for more information.





Sept 2013 Calendar