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 Natural Rubber Latex Transportation & Packaging

Natural Rubber Latex is shipped from their factories in Asia, South America and North Africa to destinations around the world. As cost of natural rubber has risen significantly, the shipping methods which offer the lowest cost per unit (kg, tonne or pound) are preferred.  Dedending on the destination, warehouse availability, transportation conditions, some methods are more suitable to certain buyers than others.  In international trade, latex rubber is mostly shipped in 20 foot ocean containers. Inside the ocean container, various types of smaller containers are used by factories to store latex rubber.

1. Steel Drums:

55 gallon steel drum205 kilogram or 55 gallon drum steel drums are the traditional method of packaging of natural latex.  The drum is typically made of steel with a rubbed outer to improve rigidity and durability.  A 20 foot container can store 80 of such 55 gallon drums for a net weight of 16.40 metric ton (16,400 kilogram or 36,080 "wet" pound) of latex.  The use of drums allows bulk transportation to save cost yet permits flexibility in retail distribution.  A broker can sell in small quantity such as 1 or 2 drums.

2. ISO Tanks:

These tanks are in fact the ocean container itself.  They all have standard size of 20 foot x 8 foot x 8’6 foot.  Their capacity is between 17,500 to 25,000 liters depending on the cylinder size and shape.  These ISO tanks can also be used for transportation of liquid chemicals and food stuffs.  This is the costliest shipping method, but also provides most convenient handling in some countries.  Usually the buyer has to buy the entire tank to enjoy the benefit of bulk saving.

3. Flexitank or Flexibag inside 20 foot container:

Flexitanks offer a much cheaper method of shipping than ISO tank, and they are widely used nowadays.  The flexitank itself is a big PE bag with a valve to for loading and later, unloading of the liquid content.  The PE bag is placed inside a 20 foot container (picture 1) with proper reinforcement near the container doors (picture 2).  The latex is then pumped into the PE bag (picture 3), which is "blown up" as the amount of liquid increases (picture 4).  Maximum of 21 tons of liquid latex can be stored inside a flexitank as this is a limit weight allowable on public streets and highways in many countries. The container doors are closed, sealed, and are ready for load onto sailing ship.  At destination, the rubber latex is pumped out using hydrolic pumps (picture 5). The flexitank is discarded after use (picture 6.)

ISO tank - 20 foot type

4. Other Methods:

Totes made of PE or corrugated paper of different sizes are sometimes used to transport latex rubber.  Their footprints (bases) are often similar to the size of a standard pallet (40 in x 48 in).  However, these totes are less common as the other methods make the majority of shipment volume in international trades.


 International Ports in America, Canada and Mexico

Although there are scores of commercial ports in North America, there are less than 40 ports with significant, regularly scheduled "liner" services. Here are some brief notes about the main ports for regularly scheduled international ocean shipping services in North America. These descriptions are made from a North American exporter's point of view, based on the export shipping schedules in SHIPPING DIGEST magazine.
East Coast -- North to South
Although it is located far up the St. Lawrence Seaway, Montreal carriers still offer several scheduled transatlantic services to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Montreal's inland location is actually an advantage U.S. Midwestern shippers sending goods to Europe, because they can save on costs for overland transportation that would be incurred by using ports on the Atlantic.
Because Halifax is closer to Northern Europe than any other major North American port, several carriers use it as the first inbound port or last outbound port in North America. With good rail and truck connections, Halifax is a gateway for New England and the Midwest, as well as for Eastern Canada.
St. John
New Brunswick--Scheduled services are limited, yet St. John has scheduled services to the Caribbean and Latin America with its major tenant, Kent Line. Breakbulk services are also available to Northern Europe. Like other Eastern Canadian ports, St. John is used by U.S. shipper in New England, who can connect with the port via rail or truck.
Scheduled carriers serve Boston with a mix of direct and transshipment services. Some carriers call Boston inbound from Europe before sailing to New York/New Jersey, making Boston a competitive gateway for New England and even the Midwest. Boston-area shippers can still get Boston bills of lading for shipments that move on coastal feeder services to New York/New Jersey or Halifax.
New York/New Jersey
This bi-state port which includes terminals in New York City and across New York Harbor in Elizabeth, N.J. and Newark, N.J. Most scheduled services are from Elizabeth, although some carriers use Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn and Howland Hook Terminal on Staten Island. The intermodal rail connections are in New Jersey; all terminals have extensive trucking options. The Port of New York/New Jersey has more scheduled services to a wider variety of trade lanes than any other port in North America. Virtually every major trade lane is served from the port. It is the leading container volume gateway on the East Coast.
Not a major load center port for liner carriers--mostly because of its proximity to the container terminals of the Port of New York/New Jersey--Philadelphia nevertheless has both container and breakbulk terminals, along with good rail and highway connections. It is especially strong as a Northeast departure point for carriers in the Caribbean islands trades, and for inbound fruit shipments (from Latin America) and meats (from Australia). There have been efforts underway for years to unite Philadelphia and the Port of South Jersey across the Delaware River in Camden, but there is not yet a unified bi-state port along the lines of New York/New Jersey.
Location may be the most important factor in the services offered from the Port of Baltimore. Baltimore is located closer to the Midwest industrial heartland than other major ports. It is about 500 miles from the automakers in the Detroit area--that compares with a trip of more than 650 miles from Detroit to the Port of New York/New Jersey--making Baltimore a premier gateway for auto shipments. That has also attracted other roll-on/roll-off business, because the port has specialized facilities for that cargo. Baltimore also specialized in forest product moves. But it is a major container port, because it feeds its own metro area and nearby cities like Washington and Philadelphia, and because of its proximity to major cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit.
In many respects, the container terminals in the Norfolk, Va. Area, which include Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News, have turned their common Hampton Roads access to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean into the New York/New Jersey of the Mid-Atlantic. Many of the carriers offering services out of the Port of New York/New Jersey call one of the Virginia terminals with the same vessels on the same overseas services. It has had extensive rail connections for years from CSX Transportation and namesake Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Wilmington, N.C.
There are a limited number of carriers offering departures from the Port of Wilmington, N.C., yet the services that are available are noteworthy. There is an "all-water" service to the Far East, meaning Far East cargo is not shipped by intermodal rail to West Coast ports. There are also services to the Mediterranean and the Middle East offered by major players in those markets.
Not one of the East Coast's major metropolitan areas, Charleston is nevertheless the second busiest containerport on the East Coast, trailing only New York/New Jersey in container volumes. Charleston's advanced port facilities and intermodal connections to shippers throughout the South and Midwest, have prompted many major steamship lines to use Charleston as a South Atlantic load center port. Shippers can choose among several scheduled services from Charleston to all the major trade lanes of the world. Many carriers that call New York/New Jersey call Charleston with the same vessels. There are even a number of services from the Gulf Coast that stop at Charleston as part of transatlantic services.
The Port of Savannah is the largest U.S. South Atlantic gateway for Asian cargo. Providing high-volume retailers with the largest selection of all-water services between Asia and the U.S. East Coast, the Port of Savannah offers 23 all-water Asian service, including six that transit the Suez Canal. With no congestion issues, cargo arriving from Shanghai can arrive in Savannah in as little as 22 days, 24 days from Hong Kong, and 22 days from Nhava Sheva, India. Serviced by two Class I rail providers, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railroad, and conveniently located only a few miles from I-95 (north / south) and I-16 (east / west), Savannah is one of the most logistically friendly port cities in the nation. Cargo traveling to hinterland destinations such as Cleveland can arrive in as little as two days via truck and three days via rail, Memphis in one day via truck and three days via rail, and Miami in one day via truck and two via rail.
 Florida Coast -- East to West 
Located on Florida's north Atlantic coast, the Port of Jacksonville serves the state and nation as a southeastern focal point for the intermodal movement of commodities on the world market. Port activities are divided between those under the control of the Port Authority and those owned by private interests. Leading cargoes include containerized and roll-on/roll-off general cargo, automobiles, breakbulk cargoes, and dry and liquid bulk products, including petroleum and phosphate. It is a national gateway to Puerto Rico, handling the overwhelming majority of the volumes in that trade. But there are some services available to all the major trade lanes of the world, with extensive choices available to most major international markets.
Port Canaveral 
Located on the mid-Florida Atlantic coast, Port Canaveral serves both cargo and cruise markets. Primary cargos are liquid (petroleum) and dry (cement and scrap steel) bulk products, and breakbulk, including lumber, salt, newsprint and frozen and fresh citrus. The port is one of the three busiest cruise ports in the world. An operating Foreign Trade Zone offers quadramodal transportation (sea, land, air, and space) and exports the most cargo by dollar value of any in the state.
Port Everglades 
Located near Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Port Everglades ranks as one of the nation's leading container and cruise ports. It has the deepest harbor south of Norfolk, Virginia, and boasts excellent intermodal connections. It handles breakbulk and containerized cargo, as well as petroleum products, other liquid and bulk cargo, yachts and other boats, vehicles and equipment. With more than 30 cruise ships, this second-busiest cruise port in the world offers one-day, one-night, and a range of 3-night to 103-night cruises. The state's first operating Foreign Trade Zone, used by over 100 businesses, is at the port. The port also has the nation's second-largest non-refinery petroleum storage tank farm, serving 12 counties. It is close to I-95 and has rail connections via the Florida East Coast (FEC) railroad, which interfaces with the national carriers at Jacksonville.
Palm Beach 
The Port of Palm Beach, a niche player in the South Florida container trades, serves as an important distribution center for cargo shipped through the larger ports for transshipment to small ports in the Caribbean and Central America. The port also handles liquid and dry bulk cargoes, including petroleum for two power plants, cement imports, and sugar and molasses exports. The Port of Palm Beach is the main port of Tropical Shipping. Cruises round out port operations.
The Port of Miami once known for its Caribbean and Latin American services, has become an important port for the Europe and Asia trades as well. Because of its location, Miami serves as a transshipment point for cargo moving between Europe and Latin America, and between Asia and Latin America. Miami is the world's busiest cruise port, with a fleet of more than 14 ships homeported, including the newest megaships. One of the country's fastest-growing container ports it also handles breakbulk and general cargo, automobiles, and heavy equipment.
Tampa is a major bulk port, handling phosphate and cement. It is a gateway for citrus fruit charters and is a growing importer of steel. The Port of Tampa has breakbulk liner services to Mexico, Central America and the North Coast of South America, as well as container service that transships cargo at Zim's Kingston hub all over the world.
Port Manatee
Port Manatee, located on Tampa Bay, is a niche port in terms of its liner service options. The port is home to some carriers specializing in the Central America trade. Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the Panama Canal, Fresh Del Monte Produce's second largest U.S. port facility and the Southeast's leading forestry product import facility.
Port of Pensacola
As Florida's most western port, Pensacola handles bagged agricultural products, cement, paper, aggregate, power plant and power generation equipment, animal feed and animal feed components, construction supplies and materials, and frozen cargo.
Port of Panama City
Long recognized as a load center for linerboard and wood pulp, the Port Panama City also handles lumber, steel, machinery, copper and dry and liquid bulk. The Port of Panama City is also recognized for one of the nation's most successful Foreign Trade Zones. FTZ 65 is a "manufacturing" hub covering more than 300 acres. 

Gulf Coast -- Southwest to East
Another load center on Mexico's Gulf Coast, Tampico is a scheduled call for some intercontinental services between the Gulf of Mexico port range and destinations in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond. These services call both Mexico and the U.S., treating the Gulf port range as a single departure region.
Mexico's largest port and the first Mexican port to be privatized in the mid-90s, Veracruz is the gateway to Mexico City. It is also a scheduled port of call on several liner services in the Gulf-Europe trade lanes.
Port of Altamira
Another load center on Mexico's east coast, the Port of Altamira is the closest Mexican port to the U.S. Gulf and handles containers, liquid bulk, bulk minerals, agribulk and general cargo.
Port of Brownsville
The Port of Brownsville provides the most efficient services to facilitate the international movement of goods between Mexico and the U.S., linking the land transportation of Mexico with the inland waterway system of the U.S. The port is a staging ground for construction of offshore drilling rigs as well as ship dismantling, steel fabrication, railcar rehabilitation, LPG storage and distribution and waste oil recovery. Cargoes include unfinished and semi-finished steel, liquid bulk terminals and grain handling and storage.
Port of Corpus Christi
Situated midway on the Texas coast, the Port of Corpus Christi is a major bulk port handling petroleum, dry and liquid bulk including grain and chemicals, and a major staging ground for shipment of military equipment.
Port of Galveston
Located at the mouth of Galveston Bay, the Port of Galveston has become a major load center for rolling stock, and also containers, dry and liquid bulk, and breakbulk, refrigerated and project cargoes.
A niche port for the Central America trade, Freeport is the Texas gateway for the liner carriers Dole Ocean Liner Express (DOLE) and Chiquita Brands International's shipping company Great White Fleet. Freeport is also a staging ground for project cargo and has an active foreign trade zone.
As the largest city on the Gulf Coast and one of the largest cities in the U.S., Houston is by far the largest "load center" port for scheduled services from the Gulf Coast, Houston offers a variety of container, breakbulk, and heavy-lift/project cargo services. There are extensive services available to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, South America, Central America, Mexico, the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and Africa. Although Houston's location keeps it out of the transpacific trades for the most part, most major transpacific carriers maintain offices in Houston, and supervise intermodal rail moves from Houston to Southern California, where Houston-area shippers connect with carriers serving the Asian trades. The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) also manages the nearby Port of Galveston.
Port of Port Arthur
The Port of Port Arthur handles a range of forest products that include newsprint, linerboard, wood pulp, paperboard, plywood and lumber. Equipped to handle any type of breakbulk or general cargo, the port also offers open storage and rail accommodations for metals and direct rail transfer for roll-on, roll-off cargo.
Port of Beaumont
A longtime hub for staging military cargo scheduled for deployment overseas or returning from foreign duty, the Port of Beaumont is also a major handler of forest products, grains, project cargo, bagged goods, aggregate, metals and wood chips.
Port of Lake Charles 
The Port of Lake Charles is the 16th largest seaport in the U.S., the 4th largest liner service seaport in the U.S. Gulf and a major West Gulf container load center, handling bagged rice, flour and other food products, paper products, plywood, petroleum coke and other petroleum products, woodchips, barites, and rutile.
New Orleans
Many major scheduled carriers offer services from New Orleans. There are also a number of successful niche carriers operating from the port. Despite of its considerable container shipping business, New Orleans has put a heavy emphasis on breakbulk services, providing specialized warehouses and terminals for carriers who move general cargo ranging from steel and specialty metals to forest products and frozen food. It has exceptional rail connections, prompting shippers from as far away as the Pacific Northwest and New England to use New Orleans as a port for shipments in the north-south trades.
Port of Pascagoula
The Port of Pascagoula exports forest and paper products, frozen foods, general cargo, project cargo, bulk and bagged grains, machinery, vehicles, fertilizer, petroleum products, petroleum coke, and petrochemicals. Imports include general cargo, chemicals, forest products, bulk fish, rubber and crude oil.
This Mississippi port has developed into a strong niche port for liner carriers specializing in handling fruit shipments for major food companies involved in the Central American trades for bananas and other tropical fruits. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Gulfport has accelerated its master plan to rebuild breakbulk cargo handling facilities and storage sheds for frozen foods.
Alabama State Port Authority
Alabama's state-controlled port has traditionally specialized in moving bulk cargoes such as coal and breakbulk cargoes such as forest products and wood pulp. The state's growing auto manufacturing industry has created a growing volume of project and container cargo, while new investment by private interests has made the port a hub for frozen poultry exports. 
West Coast -- South to North
Long Beach
The highest-volume container port in the U.S., Long Beach is the Southern California gateway for many of the global carriers in the U.S./Asia trades. Because Long Beach has established itself as a key load center for many global carriers, it has also made inroads into the Europe and South America trades, although the transpacific is by far its main market.
Los Angeles
Located immediately adjacent to the Port of Long Beach, with an imaginary line through San Pedro Bay separating the two shipping giants, Los Angeles in the second-ranked port in the U.S. in terms of container volumes. It specializes in the U.S./Asia trades, but is also the main port in the U.S. for shipments to Australia/New Zealand, and hosts carriers in the Latin America and Europe trades, as well.
The primary port for Northern California, Oakland has become one of the busiest containerports in the U.S. because it is a load center for carriers in the U.S./Asia trade, the single busiest trade lane in the world. Oakland has developed the extensive container-handling infrastructure that has allowed it to dominate the San Francisco Bay gateway.
San Francisco
Although it does not compare to Oakland in terms of volumes, a handful of scheduled services operate from the Port of San Francisco. Those include carriers serving the West Coast of South America, as well as the South Pacific islands. San Francisco had become an important port in the Australia/New Zealand trade, but those carriers transferred to Oakland in 2001 as the result of a multicarrier vessel sharing agreement. 
As a Pacific Northwest metropolitan area, Portland has attracted a number of major carriers in the transpacific container trades. It has also developed specialized auto handling terminals, attracting carriers involved in that market. Portland is also an important gateway for the shippers who move products by barge on the Columbia-Snake River system.
One of the two load center ports accessible via the Puget Sound, Tacoma has become the Pacific Northwest call for several major global carriers in the transpacific trades. It has an excellent seaport infrastructure, and has good intermodal rail connections, with an intermodal rail yard just off the port. It also has quick access to Interstate 5, with less congestion than the population center of Seattle.
The largest gateway of the Pacific Northwest, most of Seattle's cargo is from the Japan, Korea and China trades. The Puget Sound is much closer to Northeast Asia than the California ports, so many shippers and carriers use Seattle as their gateway between the U.S. and the Far East. It also has good highway and rail connections for intermodal moves throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The single Pacific Coast gateway for Canadian liner services, Vancouver, is served by several major carriers in the transpacific trades. It also has limited services to Europe. The Port of Vancouver, British Columbia is the only Pacific Northwest port called by major liner carriers. The Port of Vancouver, Washington, located across the river from the Port of Portland, does not have liner services. 

 Country Profile - Vietnam

Natural Rubber has a long history in Vietnam; the first plantation was founded in 1897, during the era of French colonialism. With the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese government set out to once again establish Vietnam as a major exporter of Natural Rubber.

The industry was reinvigorated by a US$ 32 million loan from the World Bank in 1996 to improve rubber latex processing technology to international standards. Rubber tree plantations are located in the tropical South of the country. Vietnam output of Natural Rubber is growing at a rate 15% per year as additional hectares are planted and young trees reach maturity and are put into rubber latex production. Further expansion into Laos and Cambodia by joint-ventures are also planned.

At present, Vietnam largest rubber company is the state owned Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), popularly known as GERUCO, which holds 22 subsidiary rubber companies. In 2007, GERUCO is striving to process around 320,000 tons of rubber, with SVR 3L accounting for 40 per cent, and latex for 25 per cent, in 2007. The total processed rubber output is expected to increase to 440,000 tons in 2010.  Private-sectors and provincial companies produced the other 180,000 tons. Total Vietnam rubber productions are expected to grow dramatically in the years ahead with plan to increase production to 1 million tons by year 2015.

Related links
-23Apr2007 Vietnam PM Asks for Further Rubber Sector Development

 Country Profile - Thailand

Throughout the last decade, Thailand has become the largest natural rubber producer and exporter in the world. The south, starting in Chumpon Province (about 500 km south of Bangkok) and continuing to the border with Malaysia, is the heart of rubber production in Thailand, with smaller crops grown in the Eastern and Northeastern regions. Thailand produced 2.065 millions tons of rubber in 1998, exporting 1.84 million tons of the yield earning US$ 1.46 billion. The leading export markets for Thai rubber are Japan, the USA, China, Malaysia and South Korea. Rubber plantations in Thailand are dominated by the small-holding sector, characterized as production cultivated from four hectares or less.

Tire and tube manufacturers are the largest users of natural rubber in the country, accounting for 47 percent of domestic rubber consumption. Other large manufacturing industries make rubber gloves, condoms, balloons, auto parts, cushions and elastic bands.

Plans are underway to further expand the rubber industry into the northeast of Thailand. Small farmers are being offered incentives and guidance to help them improve the quality of the rubber, and shift towards production of rubber blocks and concentrate. Thailand is under pressure to maintain rubber as an important part of its economy and needs to upgrade the production technology to meet market trends, and further develop supporting industries to add value and maximize the resource’s benefit to the country.

 Country Profile - Malaysia

How the rubber industry began
Of all the wonderful tales brought back by Christopher Columbus in 1496 after his second voyage to the New World, none was stranger than the tale of a ball, which bounced. The people of Haiti made these playballs from the gum of a tree.

Although they did not realise it, Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to see this unique substance  rubber. It did not get its name until much later  in 1770, an eminent English chemist, Joseph Priestley, noted the ability of this substance to ‘rub out’ pencil marks, and ever since it has been called rubber in the English language. This is curious, because ‘rubbing out’ has never been an important use of rubber.

In spite of the interest it aroused very little use was made of the new discovery. This was mainly because no one knew how to prevent the rubber becoming sticky in summer and brittle in winter.

In the early nineteenth century, all this changed. In 1820, Thomas Hancock, an Englishman invented a machine, which would soften, mix and shape rubber. It was then possible to dissolve rubber and start making useful products. By coating cloth with the rubber solution it could be made waterproof; the first ‘Mackintosh’ was made in 1823. Soon after there was another important discovery, this time by an American. In 1839, Charles Goodyear found by accident that raw rubber could be improved by heating it with sulphur. The new material produced, called vulcanized rubber, was no longer affected by changes in temperature.

As other inventors found uses for rubber the demand grew. Some of the first products to be made from rubber were hose, conveyor belts, flooring and footwear  these still use rubber today. In the middle of the nineteenth century rubber came from South America, where the hot wet climate suited the wild rubber tree, but it was very difficult to collect it from the dense jungle. It soon became obvious that more rubber would have to be grown elsewhere to meet the demand.

In 1876, Sir Henry Wickham, at the request of the India Office, collected and shipped from Brazil 70,000 seeds from the wild rubber tree. These were rushed to Kew Gardens in London and planted in specially prepared hot-houses. The small number, which survived, were taken in 1877 to Ceylon and later to Malaysia and other countries of South-east Asia.

The rubber tree quickly flourished in Malaysia; large areas of jungle were cut down and planted with rubber trees. Henry Nicholas Ridley, who was appointed Director of the Singapore botanic gardens in 1888, was one of the pioneers of those times and did perhaps more than anybody to encourage planting of this new crop.

By the end of the nineteenth century there were 2500 hectares of rubber in Asia. Shortly afterwards Henry Ford started making his famous motorcar and the demand for rubber  to make tyres  rocketed. The trees in the South American jungle could not possibly produce enough rubber and so the new plantations of Asia found that the world wanted all the rubber they could produce, and more. By 1910 there were ½ million hectares of rubber planted and the countries of Asia had now become the main suppliers of rubber.

With the spread of motoring to every country in the world, even today’s enormous acreage of rubber (about 6 million hectares in all) cannot supply enough. There is not enough natural rubber to go around. Scientists have developed man-made rubbers from petroleum. These are often mixed with natural rubber. For some products, however, only natural rubber can be used.

More rubber from better trees
Peninsular Malaysia  comprising 12 of the 14 states in the Malaysian federation  is among the world’s most important rubber growing areas. Rubber is also grown in Sabah (formerly North Borneo) and Sarawak, which, known together as East Malaysia make up Malaysia.

Altogether Malaysia produces almost 20% of the world’s natural rubber. A good deal of Malaysia’s rubber (over half) comes from thousands of privately owned plots of land called smallholdings, which are usually about 2 hectares. The rest is grown on big estates owned by various companies; each can cover over a thousand hectares. Altogether, Malaysia has 1.7 million hectares of rubber.

In recent years most of the older trees have been replaced by newer varieties which yield up to ten times as much rubber, thanks to scientific cross-breeding and careful cultivation.

If you were a rubber tapper you would have to get up very early in the morning, as the rubber latex flows more easily before the heat of the day begins. Latex is a milk-like fluid contained in tiny cells situated beneath the outer bark of the rubber tree. The latex is obtained from the tree by tapping that is cutting away a thin shaving of the bark about 2 mm thick. This cut, which is made with a special tapping knife, pierces the cells and the latex oozes slowly out to a collecting cup placed below. The tapper needs great skill with his knife as the tree is easily damaged if the bark is cut too deeply.

In two or three hours the flow of latex ceases. By the time the tapper has cut his last tree for the day the latex collecting cup of the first is ready to be emptied into a larger container. When all the cups have been emptied the full containers are taken to the factory, where the latex is turned into raw rubber.

Rubber trees are not tapped until about five years after planting; by then they can produce enough rubber to make tapping worthwhile.

If you were working on your own smallholding you would probably take your latex to a group processing centre to process the latex into sheets or sell it to Mardec, a government agency which processes rubber into technically specified form. The big estates have their own machines. After processing it is sent to one of Malaysia’s ports to be shipped overseas. Malaysian rubber goes to every country in the world and is recognised to be the best.

Rubber in industry and the home
Rubber is elastic, flexible, airtight, watertight, long lasting and insulating, to mention just a few of its properties. There are thousands of products, which take advantage of these useful properties. Some will be familiar to you, others less so because many rubber products do their work unseen.

Most of the world’s rubber is used in tyres, ever since John Boyd Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre in 1888. A tyre is not just a hunk of rubber, it is skillfully designed to do its job and it is made, not only of rubber, but also of other materials; fibres, steel and various chemicals. Some tyres use man-made rubber but for the toughest kinds of tyre only natural rubber will do. Aircraft tyres are a good example; these have to take tremendous punishment during landings and take-offs. They get very hot, hotter than boiling water, and natural rubber is always used to stand up to these conditions. The same is true for giant lorry tyres. The tyres on your family car have an easier life and they will have a lot of man- made rubber in them but they will also use some natural rubber in those parts of the tyre where it is needed.

As well as tyres, modern cars and lorries use a lot of rubber in other ways. Engines are mounted on rubber to cut down vibration. Some lorries and cars have rubber springs instead of steel ones. Then there are radiator hoses, windscreen wiper blades, car mats, seals and all sorts of small components such as bushes and gaskets hidden away under the bonnet or in the suspension.

Many motorway bridges are mounted on large blocks of natural rubber to allow the bridge to expand and contract when the temperature goes up or down. Some buildings are now built on similar rubber blocks to help stop vibration, particularly if they are near railways. In this and many other ways rubber helps to make life quieter and more comfortable.

Throughout the industry, rubber does all kinds of different jobs. Hose to carry liquids; conveyor belts to carry coal, gravel, ores; seals for machinery and so on. The list is endless.

In everyday life you make more use of rubber than you perhaps realise. Did you know that the adhesive on transparent sticky tape is made of rubber? More obvious, many sports balls are made of rubber and the carpets and rugs in your home may have a foam rubber backing underneath. Your shoes may have rubber soles, and, if you travel on London’s underground, you may like to know that the escalator handrail is made of rubber and the trains have rubber springs.

Source: Malaysia Rubber Board web site

 Research: Technological Properties of Latex and Natural Rubber Of Hevea Brasiliensis Clones

ABSTRACT: Rubber industry has increased the requirements for quality and uniformity of natural rubberproduced in Brazil. Technological properties of latex and natural rubber of clones GT 1, PB 235, IAN 873and RRIM 600 [Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. Former Adr. de Juss.) Muell.- Arg] were evaluated by standardmethods of the dry rubber content (DRC%), percentage of nitrogen (N%) and percentage of ashes (ASH%) intwo consecutive years; data were correlated with temperature and precipitation. Properties of latex and naturalrubber varied (P < 0.01) as a function of clone type and among tappings. DRC decreased in the beginning ofthe dry season (May to June) and N% and ASH% increased in the same period. April to June was a criticalperiod, when N% was above 0.60%, out of standards established by the technical standard ABNT/NBR inBrazil. Clone RRIM 600 was less susceptible to climatic variations.Key words: rubber tree, standard methods, productivity, environmental conditions


RESUMO: A indústria da borracha está cada vez mais exigente em relação à qualidade e a uniformidade daborracha natural produzida no Brasil. Neste trabalho as propriedades tecnológicas do látex e da borrachanatural dos clones de seringueira GT 1, PB 235, IAN 873 e RRIM 600 [Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex Adr. deJuss.) Muell.-.Arg] foram avaliadas pelos ensaios padrões do conteúdo de borracha seca (DRC%), porcentagemde nitrogênio (N%) e porcentagem de cinzas (CNZ%) por dois anos consecutivos; os dados obtidos foramcorrelacionados com dados de temperatura e precipitação. As propriedades do látex e da borracha naturalvariaram (P < 0.01) em função do tipo de clone e entre coletas. O DRC% diminuiu no início da estação seca(maio a junho), enquanto N% e CNZ% aumentaram. O período de abril a junho revelou ser crítico, pois osvalores da N% oscilaram acima 0,60%, fora dos padrões estabelecidos pela norma técnica brasileira ABNT/NBR. O clone RRIM 600 foi menos suscetível às variações climáticas.Palavras-chave: seringueira, ensaios padrões, produtividade, condições climáticas

Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária, C.P. 74 - 13560-970 - São Carlos, SP - Brasil.2USP - Interunidades em Ciência e Engenharia de Materiais - 13566-590 - São Carlos,SP - Brasil.3IAC, C.P. 28 - 13020-902 - Campinas, SP - Brasil.*Corresponding author <>

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 Mexico: About City of Veracruz


The City of Veracruz, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 500,000, is the largest city in the state of the same name. The population of the state of Veracruz is 7,054,167, which represents 7.4 percent of the total population in the country.


The territory of the state borders with 7 states and with the Gulf of Mexico. The large coastal line of Veracruz is the longest among the many states of the Gulf of Mexico. It has an extension of 425 Mi. The climate varies drastically, offering humid warm zones and year round snow at the highest peaks. Yet, most of the territory is located in the tropics and it results in humid warm weather, with rain during the summer and an annual average temperature of 77F. The state is divided into 210 municipalities. More than 1,200 archaeological sites constitute the prehispanic heritage of the state. Approximately 35% of Mexican rivers flow across Veracruz.


The City of Veracruz is strategically located and has excellent highway connections to the local area and beyond via the modern federal and state highway network. Import and export freight coming to the city is moved over an extensive system of highways to Mexico City, and also the states of Puebla, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Chiapas, Tabasco, to name a few.


The port of Veracruz has a capacity of 12.0 million tons per year. It serves as the main gateway of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The Port of Veracruz is linked by highway and railroad to the country’s capital, Mexico City. The Gulf Basin represents a potential market of 30.0 million people. Many trucking companies offer overnight delivery to and from the lucrative Mexico City market at competitive rates. There is also rail service with future on dock and double stack capability between the port, Mexico City and beyond.


Direct commercial air service is now available to the United States, through Houston, Texas. The following are distances from Veracruz:

Austin, Texas
miles 947
Corpus Christi, Texas
miles 783
Dallas, Texas
miles 1140
Houston, Texas
miles 977
San Antonio. Texas
miles 873
Tijuana, BCN
miles 2,084
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
miles 643
Merida, Yucatan
miles 637
Guadalajara, Tabasco
miles 630
Queretaro, Queretaro
miles 402
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
miles 1,152


Veracruz received USD$49.7 million from foreign investment between 1994 and 1997. Between 1996 and 1997, 22 foreign companies were established in Veracruz. The major sources of foreign investment are from the United States, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Panama, and Germany. There are 129 companies with foreign capital based in the state.


Veracruz has an abundant, trainable and industrial-oriented labor force and an excellent labor climate. Veracruz is in third place regarding population. The state represents 7.4 percent of the total population of the country. The population density of the state is 99 habitants per square mile.
The open unemployment rate averages 2.6%, per year representative of its growing number of maquila jobs. (Source INEGI 1999)
The Mexican Government considers an employed individual, anyone who is 12 years of age or older and who has worked 1 hour or 1 day during the reference week.
During the second quarter of 1999, 2.6% of the economically active population either was out of work or earned less than the minimum wage of $55 pesos/day or $5.90 U.S. dollars per day, excluding mandatory benefits. (Source INEGI 1999)


There are major facilities in the Industrial City for personnel training at all levels, available for use by incoming companies. These are in addition to the quality universities, technological institutes and vocational training schools located in the city of Veracruz.


No official numbers are available for turnover rates we estimate them to be low, between  per month, depending on the type of operation.

Excellent highway connections to the port and beyond via the modern federal and state highway network. Import/export freight arriving to the Port is shipped over an extensive system of highways to Mexico City and other states including Puebla, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Chiapas, and Tabasco among others
Veracruz is connected to Mexico City through two railroad lines, via Xalapa and via Cordoba.
The Heriberto Jara International Airport of Veracruz offers domestic and connecting international service with frequent arrivals and departures to Mexico City, Tampico, Merida, Cancun and others.
A railroad road spur connects directly with the main Veracruz-Mexico City rail line.
There are four industrial parks in Veracruz. The industrial city Bruno Plagiai, located in Veraruz, the industrial park Ixtac, located in Cordoba-Orizaba area, the Cordoba-Amtlan park, located in Amatlan township, and the Morelos Petrochemical Park, which is located in Coatzacoalcos.


Each separate custom agent determines customs expenses in Veracruz and they adjust according to quantity, nature of, and destination of the goods. Mexican customs staffs an office at the port of Veracruz


Veracruz has four industrial parks, Bruno Plagiai, Ixtac, Cordoba-Amatlan, Morelos Petrochemical Park. Veracruz is also the most important producer of electric power in Mexico due to the nuclear plant of Laguna Verde. Veracruz has two neighboring port cities of great value, Coatzacoalcos and Tuxpan. All of these factors, combined with Veracruz’s close proximity to Mexico City and the surrounding area which represent approximately 30 million people, make it a very attractive city.


The State of Veracruz is ideal for establishing strategic alliances with The United States of America, Canada and The European Continent, due to its important port.
More than adequate shipping services and suppliers.
An opportunity exists to reach 30 million people in the nearby Mexico City area.


Specialized service support infrastructure.
There is no American Consulate Office in Veracruz.
The industrial parks of Veracruz offer no shelter programs, fire station or water treatment plant.

Veracruz has great potential for industry, especially any operation that relies on shipping of goods. The state of Veracruz is trying to attract new industry along with the majority of cities in Mexico also the state government offers substantial advantages to those companies interested in investing here.

 Shipping CIF at Destination versus FOB at Source

One of the fundamental decisions of international trade is how to structure the terms of sale between buyers and sellers.  In the case of imports, American companies can either allow their overseas suppliers to handle the shipping and insurance of goods or they can take these responsibilities on themselves. There are benefits and downsides to each, so it important to understand how these factors may affect your business. This overview is intended to provide clarity among these issues so that you may utilize the most advantageous method for your situation.

The following definitions are taken from the Globe Express Services Dictionary of International Trade (Incoterms 2000):

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) – An international trade term of sale in which, for the quoted price, the seller/exporter/manufacturer clears the goods past the ship’s rail at the port of shipment (not destination). The seller is also responsible for paying for the costs associated with transport of the goods to the named port at destination. However, once the goods pass the ship’s rail at the port of shipment, the buyer assumes responsibility for risk of loss or damage as well as any additional transport costs. The seller is also responsible for procuring and paying for marine insurance in the buyer’s name for the shipment. The Cost and Freight term is used only for ocean or inland waterway transport.

Free On Board (FOB)
– An international trade term of sale in which, for the quoted price, the seller/exporter/manufacturer clears the goods for export and is responsible for the costs and risks of delivering the goods past the ship’s rail at the named port of shipment. The Free On Board term is used only for ocean or inland waterway transport.

Why ship CIF?
Generally speaking, importers prefer CIF terms when either they’re new to international trade or they have relatively little freight volume. These importers often find CIF simpler in that their suppliers are responsible for arranging freight and insurance details. Under these terms the importer relinquishes control of choosing freight carriers, routing and other shipping specifics. For these companies, convenience outweighs the need for enhanced shipment control and associated freight savings.

Shipping CIF grows increasingly difficult as companies increase their number of overseas suppliers and overall freight volume. The greater the number of CIF shipments, the more problems can occur with obtaining accurate shipment information. Overseas suppliers are not well positioned to handle service issues that develop in-transit. What’s more, they are not required to arrange anything past the port of destination, so final delivery concerns, monitoring of penalty situations (demurrage, per diem), etc. are all the responsibility of the importer. Regular importers quickly grow tired of the hassle of relying on suppliers and their freight agents for shipment information.

Why ship FOB?
Buying Free On Board has two major benefits over CIF, more competitive freight rates and enhanced shipment control. When shipping CIF, companies must be careful that they’re shipping rates are competitive since overseas suppliers are inclined to mark up their freight cost for the extra service provided in arranging shipments. U.S. importers quickly learn that they can obtain very competitive shipping rates even with small to medium freight volumes. While cost is always important, there is another major reason for buying FOB.

Increased supply chain visibility and control is a critical FOB benefit. By taking title to the goods as they cross the ship’s rail at the overseas port of shipment, importers are better able to obtain accurate and timely shipment information by working with the third party logistics provider of their choosing. In this way, they are assured their freight partner is working in their best interest, not that of their supplier’s.