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August 2018

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions
Frank Glionna Sr.,
Founder Universal Logistics, 1949
Frank Glionna Jr., President Universal Logistics, 1957-1995
The four Glionna brothers currently own and operate the family business. From left: Michael, David, Mark and Paul.

Honouring our founder’s commitment to
family values and client service

Do you know what sets us apart from the competition?  We are the only leading logistics company that drives the success of its clients by simultaneously honouring two commitments:

  • stay true to the family values and client focus established by our founder Frank Glionna Sr., who served as President from 1949 – 1957, and was the first of three generations to run the company
  • deliver innovative logistics solutions

Mr. Glionna Sr. showed us the way when he said, “Everything starts with the client.  Think first about the Client’s business, the Client’s needs and the Client’s opportunities.”

The next generation (Frank Glionna Jr., President 1957 – 1995) honoured that commitment and set the stage for an all-new standard of client service, established by the current generation of Glionnas.  It’s called Client Care, an apt name for a program that makes the client the center of everything we do.

“There are many differences between what we offer the client and what the competition offers,” said Michael Glionna, President and head of the current executive team that also includes David Glionna, Vice President – Finance; Mark Glionna, Vice President – Client Relations & Business Development and Paul Glionna, Vice President – Systems Development & Operations.

“The key difference is that every client is assigned a Client Relations representative, dedicated to understanding the client’s needs and bringing value to the client’s business.  It does not matter whether you have 50 shipments a year or 2,000, you get that level of service.”

Read the entire story.

For more information, contact Michael Glionna, President.

Many steps remaining in NAFTA negotiations

NAFTA storm clouds

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Friday, August 31 that he is launching the lengthy process required to transform NAFTA into a bilateral deal between the U.S. and Mexico.  The many provisions cover key issues such automobile manufacturing (75 percent of auto content must be made in the U.S. and Mexico), labour costs for auto workers (40-45 percent of auto content must be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour), and stronger rules of origin, including for industrial products such as chemicals, steel-intensive products, glass and optical fiber.

Ratification is likely not possible until March 2019 – or later – as multiple steps still need to be completed.  For example, under the rules of NAFTA, the U.S. must give leaders of Canada and Mexico 6 months notice of the plan to withdraw from the trade agreement.  The U.S. Congress also requires 90 days advance notice.

An added complicating factor is the upcoming mid-term elections in the United States, which many observers are forecasting will lead to a Democrats majority firmly against the proposed trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico.  In addition, Mexico is on record as saying it favours a trilateral deal that includes Canada.

Previous Trade War alerts

Watch for updates on the latest developments and remember we are here to help if one of the many trade disputes has had a negative impact on your business.

You can also catch up on what has happened in the last month by reviewing our Trade War Alerts archive

For more information, contact Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs.

Rising rates for east-west ocean freight

Ultra-large container ship

The World Container Index, a measure of world container shipping costs, jumped by 13.5% week on week on August 2, 2018.  The biggest gains were on the Shanghai-Los Angeles and Shanghai-New York lanes, which were up 30% and 18% respectively week on week.

Spot rates for Asia-U.S. east coast freight were up 8.9%, and an even bigger price spike is expected on the Asia-U.S. west coast freight, forecast to reach 10.5%.

Overall, ocean freight rates on the key Asia-North America container trade are expected to increase 10%-15% versus last year, possibly even higher, but ocean carriers remain concerned that the resulting revenue increase will still not be enough to offset rising costs.  Therefore, carriers are indicating more General Rate Increases (GRIs) are to come.  Another key concern is the potential negative impact of an all-out trade war between the U.S. and China, who have already levied tariffs and counter tariffs on each other.

Industry observers say prices are up for a number of reasons:

  • increased demand resulting from a strong U.S. economy and onset of the peak season
  • introduction of carrier GRIs and emergency bunker surcharges
  • continued carrier cancellation of services, reducing capacity
  • series of Asia typhoons that disrupted loadings and resulted in rolled bookings

Rate levels are always dictated by supply and demand.  With capacity tightening and demand increasing, rates will continue on an upward trend.  It is recommended to book freight as early as possible to avoid delays.

For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
This is a common sight – and one of the main reasons why anyone travelling through the territory carries a gun for personal protection.

Global Spotlight Quiz

How many clues do you need to name the territory that has 25 communities, one road and three Tim Hortons?

  • Prior to the recent opening of three Tim Hortons locations, planes landing in the one main airport smelled like donuts because so many residents arrived with boxes of Timbits.
  • The northernmost permanently inhabited community in the world.
  • All-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles outnumber cars, which makes sense since there is only one road and it is only 32 kilometres long.
  • The capital city is so small that every taxi ride costs the same: $6.00.
  • Houses are built on stilts, a necessary step to ensure they don’t sink during the summer months.
  • The annual sealift, which comes in as soon as the winter ice disappears, is celebrated as a holiday.
  • Known worldwide for prints and carvings, the other main industries are mining, fishing and hunting and trapping.

  Click here to see the answer

For more information about shipping freight to or from this city, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.

Quick Tip

Plan B

Always have a back-up plan

Do you have a Plan B when something goes wrong with a shipment?  It happens sooner or later with every company that has regular shipments.  See how well you are prepared by trying to guess the Plan Bs for the following shipping roadblocks:

Problem:  Production run not completed on time.

   Plan B  (Click to reveal answer)

Problem:  Preferred routing is not available because of weather conditions, strikes, peak season surcharges, vessel cancellation or any number of other possible issues.

   Plan B  (Click to reveal answer)

Problem:  Missed vessel sailing for an urgent ocean freight container.

   Plan B  (Click to reveal answer)

To establish your Plan B, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.

At Your Service: Thomas Potter, Truck Services

Thomas Potter, Truck Services
Thomas Potter, Truck Services

There is a good reason why Thomas Potter is a member of our Truck Services team.  He asked to join when he knew they would need to help to handle the many implications of new trucking industry regulations.

“We are lucky to have him,” said William Sanchez,  Manager – Truck Services.  “He thinks ahead and sees the big picture, which is exactly what we want out of every employee.  I can entrust him with any responsibility and know he will give it his all.”

Thomas can be reached by phone (905) 882-4880, ext. 206 or by email.

August 2018

is produced monthly for the clients of Universal Logistics. Reader comment and story ideas are welcome. Comments of general interest to all Route readers will, with the permission of the writer, be published. Copyright ©
Universal Logistics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction for any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Route is produced by Universal Logistics. Editor: Bettina Scharnberg. Email: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein, Universal Logistics accepts no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions. Written correspondence should be forwarded to:

Universal Logistics Inc.
125 Commerce Valley Drive West
Suite 750, Thornhill, Ontario L3T 7W4
Tel: 905-882-4880    Fax: 905-882-2250
Attention: Bettina Scharnberg
Universal Logistics

News and Views for the
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