CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

Universal Logistics - Take The Right Route Logo with 70 Years Badge

Route Article

North American Labour Strikes Threaten Supply Chains​

North American Labour Strikes Threaten Supply Chains - Route Newsletter: June 2024

Threats of a Canadian rail strike and contract talks for dockworkers in the eastern/southern U.S. and both eastern/western Canada worry companies that don’t want to be caught short-handed heading into the second half of the year​​. These potential labour disruptions pose significant risks to the stability of supply chains across North America.

Key Concerns

  1. Canadian Rail Strike: A possible strike by Canadian rail workers could severely impact the transportation of goods across the country, leading to delays and increased costs.
  2. Dockworker Contract Talks: In the case of the US East Coast, companies fear they may miss Christmas if cargo doesn’t get into East Coast ports before September 30th, which is the expiry date for a labour contract covering US East and Gulf Coast dockworkers​​. Similar concerns exist for ports on the West Coast and in Canada, where negotiations are ongoing.

Impact on Supply Chains

  • Delays in Goods Movement: Strikes and labour disputes can halt operations at key transit points, causing significant delays in the movement of goods.
  • Increased Costs: Companies may incur higher costs due to rerouting shipments, paying premiums for alternative transportation, or storing goods longer than planned.
  • Inventory Management Challenges: Businesses reliant on just-in-time inventory systems may face stock shortages, disrupting production and sales.

Mitigation Strategies

To mitigate the impact of potential labour strikes, businesses can adopt several proactive strategies:

  1. Advance Planning: Increase inventory levels in anticipation of potential disruptions to ensure adequate stock during critical periods.
  2. Alternative Transportation Routes: Identify and plan for alternative routes and modes of transportation to avoid bottlenecks caused by strikes.
  3. Enhanced Communication: Maintain close communication with logistics providers and partners to stay informed about the status of labour negotiations and potential disruptions.

Fear and long-term memories might also be at play. During past disruptions, such as those caused by the pandemic, companies ordered more products and parts than demand warranted, boosting inventories that have since come down. In the midst of the latest surge in container rates, the US government announced more tariffs on Chinese imports – potentially adding to the urgency for companies to stock up now​​. This historical context underscores the importance of preparing for labour-related disruptions in advance.

By staying informed and implementing these strategies, businesses can better navigate the uncertainties posed by labour disputes and maintain resilient supply chains. For more detailed guidance and support, contact Universal Logistics’ experts.

Contact us

Quick Tip #57
When Incoterms are incomplete

The shipping term FOB (Free on Board) is incomplete when the port of shipment and country are omitted. Moreover, you could end up paying extra if an incorrect assumption (guess) is made about your port of shipment (many countries have multiple ports of shipment).

Switch to a Logistics
Partner Who Cares

Click the button below to find out why we’ve been Canada’s most trusted freight forwarder and customs broker for over 75 years.

Professional business people team meeting and working in corporate office concept

Register now to learn more about our

101 Logistics Quick Tips

Available exclusively from Universal Logistics