Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for 2015

NEW Safety at Sea requirements effective July 1, 2016

December 31st, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

A new publication has been developed that addresses a number of questions raised with respect to a new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirement mandating a “verified gross mass” for all shipping containers prior to loading aboard a container ship. The requirement applies to all containers whether carrying dangerous goods or not and will become effective July 1, 2016. The publication was prepared by The World Shipping Council, The TT Club, ICHCA International and The Global Shippers Forum. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted this amendment several years ago in furtherance of its safety mandate, noting that intentional and accidental misdeclaration of container weights has been the source of various marine casualties.

U.S. exporters will need to provide a verified weight of their loaded container(s) to their carrier; carriers will use the information in creating the stowage plan for individual ship sailings, working with marine terminal personnel. Many U.S. exporters are already in compliance, but not all. The brochure describes the two alternative means to obtain a verified weight. U.S. importers need to ensure that their foreign sources are in compliance with the new requirement. The “penalty” for noncompliance is straightforward: the container will not be loaded aboard the ship, and the consequences for supply chains are obvious.

We expect that the U.S. Coast Guard will soon publish guidance for U.S. exporters on obtaining a verified gross mass. DGAC is making arrangements for a Coast Guard speaker to provide an overview of the new requirement and answer questions at our next Quarterly Meeting February 2-4, 2016. A copy of the publication is available HERE.

Worldwide Quality Day at Skolnik

December 24th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter

This past November 18th, and for the 8th consecutive year, Skolnik joined the international celebration of World Quality Day sponsored by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). We believe that the delivery of high-quality products and services is essential. The consequences of failure grow ever more significant in today’s world of increasing customer and regulatory oversight and use of social media to broadcast success or failure. We live in a world where there are still too many quality failures that cause harm to society, damage lives, and waste money. Quality failures at any scale become increasingly unacceptable. World Quality Day is our opportunity to reach out and share the important contribution that quality makes towards Skolnik’s growth and prosperity. The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and to encourage individuals’ and organizations’ growth and prosperity. At Skolnik, World Quality Day included company-wide ISO 2015 training, other safety training sessions, and a catered lunch for all employees. Check out our picture montage of the events. In a global economy where success depends on quality, innovation, and sustainability, World Quality Day is our chance to reinforce these as the foundations of our organization and focus on the importance of quality.

Our Holiday Wine Suggestions

December 17th, 2015 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

With the holidays upon us, we are happy to see so many un-oaked wines showing up on shopping lists for the season. The influence of using stainless steel wine barrels for aging has had a major impact on consumer palates. As tastes and preferences have changed, we have seen a steady increase in the sales of un-oaked whites, including sauvignon blancs and chardonnays. Chardonnays, which were traditionally known for their buttery and oak influences are now showing their crisp and clean side. Here are some wines for your consideration, all made using stainless steel:

  • Four Vines Santa Barbara County Naked Chardonnay (about $13/bottle) — made in 100 percent stainless steel, slightly sweet, very orange-juicy with notes of papaya and melon
  • The Wishing Tree Western Australia Unoaked Chardonnay (about $13/bottle) — full, tart and delicious apple flavors
  • Alpha Domus Hawke’s Bay Unoaked Chardonnay (about $14/bottle) — a lively blend of pineapples and pears, rich but still dry
  • Louis Michel & Fils Chablis (about $28/bottle) — light citrus and minerally, chalky flavors with a mellow apple finish.
  • Mer Soleil “Silver” Santa Lucia Highlands Unoaked Chardonnay (about $35/bottle) — lush tropical-fruit flavors, creamy with bright acidity, and touches of tonic-water bitters

Happy Holidays and cheers!

Holiday Message

December 14th, 2015 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter


At this Holiday Season, I am reflecting back on the blessings of my life and offer a reading that has touched my soul. This year, my nephew, Dan Morris, a professional photographer in Seattle sent me this quote, and I want to share it with my customers, many of whom are also my “beautiful” friends.

Wishing you Healthy and Happy Holidays! —Howard

“I am a professional people looker-atter”

After spending the last 16 years taking pictures of people—people at weddings, people at conferences, people at work, people singing, people with their families, lovers, and babies—I have affirmed my philosophy about people. Everyone is beautiful. Most people have something (often many things) about them that is lovely. A smile or a certain energy. Beautiful eyes, adorable dimples, really great hair. Maybe it’s an evident sense of themselves or an effortless kindness. Those with a few more years under their belt might have an aura of accomplishment. I see people who decide to wear gigantic jewelry, a bright orange suit or a leopard print scarf wrapped around their neck 27 times and it just made me want to know them better. Sometimes beauty is about great cheekbones or amber eyes and red hair…but most of us don’t have those. To my eye, people are beautiful as they are—even when they haven’t won the genetics lottery.

As I write this I find myself asking—as maybe you are—if I am talking about inner beauty vs. outer beauty. Well, my philosophy comes from a profession of looking at people…so wherever it originates I have to call it outer beauty because it can be seen. I am a photographer, not a philosopher. But suffice it to say that I think that you are beautiful and so should you. Take my word for it, I’m a professional.