firstname.lastname@example.org Fate appears to have been kind to Hong Kong during the Lunar New Year, or was it a little bit of luck and large dose of the can-do attitude which has made this port the busiest container hub in the world. For all the bluster and predictions of port-side chaos, it appears the new regulations enforced on February 2 by United States Customs Service for the shipment of US-bound goods took effect with a minimum of disruption. It was no small feat considering that three weeks ago, during the two-month grace period from penalties, carriers began loudly ringing alarm bells after discovering that only 10 per cent of exports they were loading complied with the new rules. The prospect of thousands of rejected boxes piling up at the port loomed large. The reality, it appears, cast a much smaller shadow. In the first week after the deadline, less than 3 per cent of US-bound boxes were rejected for a lack of information on their cargo manifests; most of those made their intended sailing after a few phone calls for more data. According to one trade management portal which boasts 12 of the world's busiest shipping lines as customers, US Customs handed down eight 'no load' orders to carriers between February 2 and 5. All were loaded on to same vessel after manifest additions. The carriers themselves undoubtedly rejected many more; one shipping line estimated data non-compliance, and therefore shipment rejection, hovered at about 6 per cent in the first week. 'The carriers are fairly comfortable with the way things are going,' said one liner conference executive. Below Deck can imagine they might be, considering the shipping lines were facing the brunt of the cost for penalties and costly network disruptions, even though compliance was largely out of their hands. Several factors contributed to Hong Kong's soft landing. US Customs may have been blissfully unaware the timing of its deadline fell on Lunar New Year, but luck appears to not have forgotten to visit the SAR to welcome in the Year of the Goat. According to a terminal operator at Kwai Chung, containers moved across his docks at about 80 per cent of the average rate and would continue to be slow for at least another two weeks, before picking up for the Easter rush. The holiday also brought to rest the tens of thousands of small manufacturers across the border, for whom the electronic submission of cargo manifests was always a challenge. Those still pumping out goods during the break were mostly Western-owned factories run by multinational corporations which have long been supplying shipment data electronically. It is only when the mom and pop shops start shipping goods and paperwork again this week that the new regulation's real impact on local trade can be assessed. As luck would have it, that will come at the slowest time of the year for exports to the US. But perhaps the biggest factor which cushioned what was projected to be a huge blow to exporters and their transport providers was the resilience of the local business community. Pragmatic to the last, when their profits became clearly threatened most shippers and forwarders of all sizes found a way to be compliant with US demands. 'The carriers did a very good job of getting us to comply,' said one shipper, begrudgingly. 'They made it very clear our goods would be left behind if the information did not comply with US Customs demands for manifest information and timing.' But Hong Kong may still be a long way from compliant with the electronic manifest regulations; amendments made after the goods have left port are still 'a little on the high side', according to one carrier executive.