Tag: Independent Freight

May 3, 2017   Posted by: Indy

A Real Life Cloaking Device for your office ?

A new window film from Designtex takes its cues from science fiction.

Open offices are privacy nightmares, especially if you’re trying to hide sensitive data on screens. But since open offices aren’t going away any time soon, there’s Casper: a new product from the applied materials company Designtex that works like a cloaking device.

When applied to a glass wall or a window, Casper blacks out screens behind it. The transparent window film blocks light waves transmitted through LCD and LED screens. This makes them look like they’re turned off. Everything else in the room looks completely normal. While privacy screens have existed for laptops and individual monitors for quite sometime, Casper brings it to the architectural scale. It’s like a Romulan cloaking device come to life.

Courtesy : Fastcodesign Full article here

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October 5, 2016   Posted by: Indy

Overseas Markets appoints Independent Freight as Logistics Partner

Independent Freight is extremely pleased to announce our partnership with Overseas Markets LLC, founded to work together with North American manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities being presented for their products in international markets.

As featured in this week’s edition of Business of Furniture, the company is focused on providing instant expertise in global trade to manufacturers in the Commercial Interiors Industry, without the manufacturer requiring any existing in-house resource or expertise.

Uniquely, Overseas Markets provides services on a transactional basis, working outside of traditional sales structures, allowing manufacturers to take advantage of international opportunities as they may arise without risk, complexity or commitment.

On behalf of the manufacturer, OM qualifies international inquiries, identifying requirements, processing proposals, handling documentation, shipping and securing payment – taking full responsibility for the transaction throughout without any cost to the manufacturer.

Overseas Markets has partnered with Independent Freight to provide the logistics expertise for their transactions, and will provide warehousing, customs and documentation consultancy and support, shipping, end user logistics, installation and project planning to all points worldwide.

We are extremely pleased to work in close partnership with OM in bringing North American products to international customers and wish them all best wishes on their activities.

For further information on Overseas Markets LLC, contact :

Beth Hassler, Executive Director, Overseas Markets LLC
beth@om-us.com, Tel : +1 (312) 242 1600

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June 28, 2016   Posted by: Indy

SOLAS Rule – Update June 28


What is the SOLAS Container Weight Rule?

In brief, the SOLAS Rules from the IMO state that, effective July 1 2016, ocean freight carriers worldwide will be prohibited from loading a container aboard vessels in 162 countries worldwide unless the shipper has provided the carrier with the verified gross mass (VGM) of the container. The VGM must be provided to the carrier either digitally or signed and noted on the bill of lading prior to vessel loading.

How is the new SOLAS Rule being implemented for US export shipments with effect from July 1 2016?

With a few exceptions, as it stands today the standard rules as published by the shipping lines require their receipt from the shipper of a certified VGM prior to the container arriving in to port for onward shipment, otherwise cost may be incurred for delay and/or port handling. Currently the VGM should be determined using either Method 1 or 2 as per our previous message on the subject and remains the responsibility of the shipper as per the B/L.

What, if anything, has changed ?

With just days before the SOLAS container weight rule takes effect, ports, marine terminals and container lines are coming closer to creating a system that will use pre-existing weighing processes to alleviate the burden on U.S. exporters. Regulators have given the go-ahead that allows a group of six East and Gulf coast ports and 19 ocean carriers to develop a common strategy for using existing weighing processes that satisfy federal regulations to meet the new international rule, and with multiple shipping lines backing the approach and the head of the Federal Maritime Commission urging the industry to embrace the same path, more announcements from terminals and carriers are expected before the rule takes effect on Friday.
In fact, a number of shipping lines have today confirmed that they will receive the certified scaled weight electronically from the terminal, and this will be used as the VGM.

As a shipper, do I still need to ensure that a VGM is correctly submitted on my behalf ?

Yes, until we have clear confirmation otherwise – the new rule’s rollout is just days away, but guidance from operating ports, carriers, terminal operators and nation states has been variable and prone to change with little or no notice.

What happens next ?

We believe that the process, standards and responsibilities for the implementation for the VGM rule under SOLAS rule will become less arduous to the commercial shipper over the next few days, weeks and months but would recommend close compliance with current methodology in the meantime until such time as any new regulations are finalised.We will continue to keep you updated on developments, and please be assured that we will work with everyone on a case by case basis to ensure that shipments are in compliance with the new rulings, and avoid unnecessary cost or delay on export.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to let us know if we can help in any way !

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May 31, 2016   Posted by: Indy

Images from the workspace at INDEX Show Dubai 2016

A big thanks to the exhibitors, attendees and organisers of 2016 workspace at INDEX for a fabulous show in Dubai 23-26 May 2016. Some images below !

IMG_0046IMG_0040 IMG_0080IMG_0061IMG_0002 IMG_0062IMG_0065IMG_0023IMG_0059 IMG_0038 IMG_0036 IMG_0033 IMG_0032 IMG_0079IMG_0042IMG_0077IMG_0030 IMG_0029 IMG_0028 IMG_0027 IMG_0026 IMG_0024  IMG_0001 IMG_0071 IMG_0068     IMG_0043IMG_0042 IMG_0037 IMG_0018 IMG_0047

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January 15, 2016   Posted by: Indy

Finally !

This year’s traditional bet between the Chicago Bears fans at Independent and the fans of division rivals Packers for once did not go to plan for their Green Bay based furniture clients.

Whilst in the final analysis the Green Bay Packers finished the season almost winning the division, and the Chicago Bears ended up in last place, the Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams did not go well for Green Bay !

As a result, Green Bay Packers fan Beth Hassler of Axess International fulfilled the terms of the wager by wearing Bears team gear and allowing the picture to be posted here.

Sorry Beth - I hope they let you back in to Lambeau Field after this picture

Sorry Beth – I hope they let you back in to Lambeau Field after this picture is made public

For once, the Bears fans at Independent are looking forward to doing it all again next season !


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December 4, 2014   Posted by: Indy

Entrepreneur Looks To Build The Amazon Of The Arab World

When Ronaldo Mouchawar was working in a Boston engineering firm he dreamed of moving back to the Arab world. Born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, he had come to the U.S. to study, then got a high-paying job, but he believed he “owed something” to his home region.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, a native of Syria, is the founder of Souq.com, which is now considered the leading e-commerce site in the region. He says his company, which is based in Dubai, reflects a quiet transformation that is taking places in parts of the Arab world.

It turned out his ticket back was a smart idea at the right time. He founded Souq.com in 2006 and settled in Dubai, the financial capital of the United Arab Emirates. Now he’s the CEO of what’s considered the most successful e-commerce site in the region. He recently raised $150 million in capital to expand. The 44-year-old entrepreneur says commerce is part of his DNA.

“I studied engineering, my dad was a really strong trader merchant, so the combo was a no-brainer for me.”

Setting up a business in many Arab countries is difficult, which made business-friendly Dubai an obvious base. Internet penetration had reached 20 percent in the UAE by the time he moved there. His e-business took off a few years later when the regional cell phone revolution connected millions more to the net.

“Suddenly, you go from 30 million users to 130 million users” in the Arab world, he says in his glass-walled office in Dubai. This meant potential customers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “The Arab world massively embraced mobile technology. There is 70 percent penetration in the Gulf. That was prime territory for us.”

A Quiet Transformation

In a region where war, political turmoil and oil prices dominate the headlines, technology quietly is transforming the Middle East, says Mouchawar. He recognized the potential early and is riding the wave. Now, Internet start-up companies in Dubai attract millions of dollars from venture capitalists who come from Silicon Valley and from the Middle East.

“For those of us who sit in the middle of it, we already feel it,” says Fadi Ghandour, the founder of Aramex, a logistics company based in Amman, Jordan. He moved his operation to Dubia and spends most days listening to start-up pitches. He’s now a full-time investor in a movement he believes will reshape the region.

“You can feel the crescendo,” he says. “People will start to feel that energy that you saw in Tahrir Square, in Egypt,” he says, referring to an Arab democracy movement that started in 2011. “This is the energy of the start-up community across the region.”

Technology is embraced by the young generation in a region where 60% of the population is under 35. “Youth empowerment, this was a driver for us,” says Mouchawar.

Jobs for this generation are scare. Youth unemployment is in double digits in all Arab states. Tech jobs can change the statistics by leveling the playing field for educated tech specialists in a part of the world where family connections are often the key to a decent job.

Extract courtesy of NPR / Morning Edition – full Story at NPR / Morning Edition Here




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February 5, 2014   Posted by: Indy

Severe winter weather impacts cargo operations

Another winter storm is moving through the US Midwest and Northeast.  As a result of this, several port, rail and container yard facilities have either closed or have limited operations.  Delays to cargo moving to or through this geography should be expected.
As of February 5, the following locations are impacted by adverse weather conditions.  Please note that terminals will continue to assess conditions as the weather impact changes.
NY/NJ – Maher Terminal – Closed and extending free time one day; APMT – Delayed opening; Global – open; APL CY – Closed
Indianapolis – CY – Closed
Open but with restricted operations due to snow and ice:  Cincinnati CY, Columbus CY, Cleveland CY, Detroit CY, Louisville CY, Pittsburg CY, St. Louis CY, Kansas City CYs, Omaha CY

The series of winter storms has resulted in rail car imbalances that are negatively impacting cargo movement via rail throughout the US and Canada.  Additionally, truck power has been extremely hard hit by the series of storms and facility closures, and line offices continue to operate with reduced staffing levels.

Shipping lines are working with their venders to minimize the impact of these extreme weather conditions on the movement of cargo.  However, please plan for several days delay for cargo movement in or through ports in the US Northeast coast.

We are working with customers on the impact to specific shipments, and will advise further as soon as we are able.

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May 3, 2013   Posted by: Indy

Living Inside the Box !

Courtesy of NPR / Science Friday – full video here



Michele Bertomen and David Boyle bought an empty 20-by-40-foot lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They planned to build something traditional, but when the bid for the masonary envelope (the building without plumbing, electricity) came back at over $300,000, they re-evaluated. Inspired by Bertomen’s students at New York Institute of Technology, the couple decided to try building their home from shipping containers–which cost them about $50,000 for the building envelope.  Bertomen, an architect, and Boyle, the general contractor, designed and oversaw construction of their home. We stopped by for a tour.
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November 29, 2012   Posted by: Indy

UAE mulls 100% foreign ownership of companies

Officials in the UAE are reviewing a draft commercial law that will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some companies.

Officials in the UAE are reviewing a draft commercial law that will allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some companies, Bloomberg reported, citing the undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The Abu Dhabi government and others within the UAE are reviewing the draft legislation, which would allow some sectors to operate outside of free zones, said Mohamed Omar Abdulla.

“We recognise the importance of the foreign companies to have 100 percent ownership, but within specific rules and conditions,” he said.

Companies that are eligible would “have to be within the industries that have certain priorities within the economy, like petrochemicals, communications, logistics, aerospace, financial, and others,” he added.

Under UAE law, only nationals are allowed full ownership of companies operating outside of free zones. The law currently requires foreign citizens to have a UAE national as a partner or sponsor to conduct business.

The Gulf state has been trying to diversify and modernise its economy, developing areas including tourism and finance, in a bid to reduce its dependence on oil exports.

The UAE’s state news agency in December said the cabinet had approved a draft companies law that may allow foreign ownership above 49 percent.

The legislation lays down a framework for the governance of public companies, ensuring transparency and disclosure of financial data as well as the efficiency and integrity of the board of directors, WAM said

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April 24, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Office Expo Conversations with Rob Kirkbride of the MMQB

Office Expo Conversations
Monday April 23, 2012
by Rob Kirkbride

For most who work in the North American office furniture industry, Dubai is a long, long way from home — about 15 hours of flying time from the industry’s Midwest hub. So why bother with The Office Exhibition 2012, the Middle East’s largest office furniture show? To most attending and exhibiting at The Office Exhibition 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Center May 15-17, it is a matter of numbers. The Gulf Cooperation Council region, which consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Yemen, is expected to spend $56 billion on interior projects.

That’s why The Office Exhibition is attracting new exhibitors like Global, Allseating, Loft, JDD and Bisley along with a large number of North American, European, African and Asian office furniture makers. The show will also see participation from top UAE suppliers including Mobili Emirates Furniture, United Furniture and Ritmo Furniture with the “Doimo Office” range. With representation from almost every continent in the world, The Office Exhibition 2012 will include more than 140 new-to-region products and a wide array of award-winning designs.

The Monday Morning Quarterback caught up with David Wilson, exhibition director at The Office Exhibition 2012, to talk about the upcoming show.

What makes this year’s event different? What’s new and improved for exhibitors and attendees?

“The Office Exhibition 2012 is now in its 11th year and has developed into the premier trade event for every aspect of office design and fit-out. It is a must-attend event for the architecture and design community, attracting some of the most recognized brands in office furniture from every continent in the world.

“We have continued our knowledge partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) who will collaborate with the American University of Sharjah on our Design Seminar and Workshop program. Knowledge exchange is a very important part of The Office Exhibition and this year we are delighted to partner with leading architects, designers, fit-out contractors and manufacturers to deliver a full three-day program of stimulating presentations and panel discussions. We have also expanded our focus on education and healthcare products, a reflection of the regional growth in those sectors.

“The Office Exhibition is an all-encompassing trade show – we showcase the best in office design from around the world, educate the region about the latest office trends, and provide invaluable industry networking opportunities.”

How many exhibitors are committed to the show this year? Is that number up or down compared to last year? What is driving the growth?

“The Office Exhibition 2012 has attracted the participation of 130 exhibitors from every continent in the world. We have seen an increase of 15 percent in exhibitor numbers from last year especially from Italy, Germany, Portugal, Canada and the U.S.

“Many of these countries are faced with depressed or flat home economies and the recovery trend in certain GCC real estate markets is encouraging top international interior brands to target this region.

“International manufacturers and distributors have won significant projects in the Middle East and North Africa region through the Office Exhibition. The show is an important gateway through which companies can tap into market opportunities in the wider region.”

How many are expected to visit the show this year? Is that number expected to be up or down?

“Last year, we had a 62 percent increase in the number of visitors to the show over 2010. We are expecting that to increase further this year. With a wider range of innovative design products and solutions and an exciting roster of activities at the show, we have already recorded strong pre-registration visitor numbers.

What are you doing to make the show as dynamic and worthwhile as possible for visitors and exhibitors alike?

“The 11th edition of The Office Exhibition will see the largest participation of design companies from every continent in the world bringing with them an exciting range of new-to-region and award-winning products.

“We believe that market education is as important as offering business opportunities to visitors. In addition to providing access to top design firms, we have introduced a number of activities to help foster learning and encourage knowledge exchange among visitors. Part of this commitment is our ongoing partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), which we have continued this year to offer international design expertise to our regional architectural and design community.”

What can visitors to the show expect?

“We have a number of activities that make The Office Exhibition 2012 a must-attend event for architects, designers, fit-out specialist and business decision makers.

“Earlier this year, we opened entries for The Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition, overseen and judged by our knowledge partner IIDA. The competition has expanded to the Middle East this year and aims to recognize outstanding design projects in the region completed in the last three years. IIDA will announce winning projects across eight categories on the opening day of the show.

“Last year was the first time we introduced an industry roundtable discussion into The Office Exhibition program. Following its success, we have expanded this into a series of workshops and seminars on topics ranging from ‘The Evolution of the Corporate Workplace in the Middle East’ to ‘Reinventing the Classroom.’ Any registered visitor to The Office Exhibition 2012 is able to attend these complimentary sessions.

“In addition, Summertown Interiors, the only LEED Gold certified fit-out contractor in the UAE will be running the ‘Green Day,’ a series of panel discussions and case studies that will address issues regarding sustainability in workplace design. The sessions will feature leading names in the architecture and design industry.

“Visitors will also have access to a wide range of innovative, award-winning products and design options to suit their varying needs, be it for corporate, healthcare, education, aviation or hospitality environments.

“Our first time participants include industry heavyweights Global Group and Allseating from Canada, Trendway and Indiana Furniture from the U.S., as well as Loft, JDD and Bisley from the U.K. Also returning to the show for the first time since 2007 is Japanese manufacturer Okamura, widely celebrated for its game changing Contessa Chair – an elegant and ergonomically designed mesh chair with a synchro-reclining mechanism.

“We also have increased participation from the Middle East, including UAE distributors Mobili Emirates Furniture, Ritmo Furniture, Human Space, Williams from Egypt and Office Division from Lebanon.”

What can show exhibitors expect?

“The most valuable thing for exhibitors at the show is having direct access to a focused and targeted audience from not only the UAE but the wider Middle East and North Africa region. Participating companies have won significant contracts on the show floor previously and we expect this trend to continue in 2012.

“The Office Exhibition is also co-located with The Hotel Show, the largest hospitality trade show for the Middle East and North Africa region. Exhibitors at both shows benefit from the cross-over of visitors.

“In addition to being an excellent business and networking platform, the show aims to provide design inspiration and expertise to exhibitors. As well as the Interior Design project competition, IIDA has invited exhibitors at The Office Exhibition and The Hotel Show to participate in the Middle East Office & Hospitality Product Design Awards. The competition aims to recognise excellence and innovation in product design for the commercial office and hotel industries.”

Many exhibitors also use the time in Dubai to work on other business opportunities.

What is the general business climate in Dubai?

“Dubai is one of the world’s top 10 business destinations, with more than half of the world’s largest companies running their regional offices from the city. An estimated 75 million square meters of office space in Dubai is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012, with 1.2 million square meters in Abu Dhabi due to come online in 2013, according to a 2011 report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

“In addition, the Arab Spring has encouraged governments across the region to increase spending on development projects, in a bid to head off unrest and improve infrastructure. Riyadh’s project expenditure is expected to almost triple by 2016 compared with $100 billion in 2005. Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar are also set to double their expenditure rates over the same period.

“Dubai’s excellent location, infrastructure and logistical facilities have established the city as a hub for conducting business in the wider region. In the wake of the Arab Spring, more companies have moved their offices to Dubai given that it is free from political instability and offers a safer environment to conduct business.

Is project activity high for office, educational, healthcare, hospitality furniture in the region? Please explain how it compares to past years.

“We are definitely seeing increased project activity in the GCC healthcare and education sectors. In a recent report issued by Alpen Capital, the GCC’s healthcare sector is set to grow by an annual rate of 11 percent and will be worth nearly $44 billion by 2015. The Sharjah Government and DM healthcare have also recently announced plans to make significant investments in the healthcare sector.

“With regards to education projects, there are a number of international universities setting up campuses in the region and large projects such as Qatar’s Education City and Saudi Arabia’s Tatweer Education project are underway.

“Owing to increasing demand in these sectors, The Office Exhibition has expanded its focus on healthcare and education products this year. We have a number of exhibitors who will be showcasing products that are best suited to these environments. For instance, Canada’s Allseating is launching its award-winning Tuck stacking chair in the region. Tuck is ideal for education and training facilities due to its lightweight, easy-to-clean surface, durability and the ability to be ‘tucked away’ without taking up too much space.

“The 1972 classic Polo chair is another product that has been used worldwide in a number of applications within the education sectors and will be launched in the region for the first time by its U.K. based manufacturer and distributor, Loft in collaboration with Human Space. Human Space will also be showcasing furniture ranges suitable for medical centers and clinical facilities designed by the Dauphin Human Design Group.

“We also have a number of launches for the standard corporate office including acoustic wall partitions, technologically integrated desking systems, executive furniture ranges, conference room facilities and ergonomic chairs.”

Why should North American companies attend and exhibit at the show?

“The Office Exhibition is the only dedicated show for office fit-outs and commercial interior design in the Middle East. The show is an important gateway through which international companies can source real business opportunities in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Returning exhibitors and significant projects won by participating companies are a testament to what The Office Exhibition offers; excellent business and networking opportunities for exhibitors and visitors.

Is it worthwhile for North American office furniture manufacturers to expand into the region? Why?

“As the GCC continues to invest in major infrastructure projects, demand for commercial interior design and fit out services will grow apace.

“More than $300 billion worth of major projects are expected to be awarded across the Middle East by 2012, according to a 2011 report from MEED Middle East Projects Forecast & Review. Qatar’s successful 2022 FIFA World Cup bid will also drive considerable commercial development over the next decade. In addition, the Arab Spring has propelled governments across the region to increase spending on development projects, in a bid to head off unrest and improve infrastructure.

“This is a very buoyant projects market when compared to the U.S. or other international markets and there is an increasing awareness and appreciation of good quality design. North American manufacturers would do very well here.”

Thanks to www.mmqb.com

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