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December 2020

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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That’s a wrap 2020

Goodbye 2020

No one could dispute that 2020 was one of the most challenging years of recent times.  The Coronavirus pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives, but there is real hope that with the arrival of the vaccine, life will return to normal in 2021.

COVID-19 also did not spare the economy or the business world, ripping them both apart.  There were no manuals or SOPs, detailing how a business should manage themselves and continue to function during an epic event like a pandemic.  Everything had to be learned on the go and the experiences were used to continue to provide our clients with superior client service levels.

Universal is proud of our employees; how they handled the adversities of the pandemic and continued conducting business as usual.  Despite the challenges of working remotely, the Universal employee team stepped up to ensure there were no disruptions in service.  They never lost sight of the importance of focusing on our clients’ needs.

In addition, we are very thankful to our clients for the continued support and loyalty shown to us during these challenging times.  We appreciate this greatly and are very much looking forward to handling your logistics requirements in 2021.

On behalf of the Universal team, Happy Holidays and best wishes for a safe and healthy New Year!

Michael Glionna

Community Giving

Hockey Helps the Homeless
Mark, Michael, David & Paul Glionna and
Universal’s HHTH Employee Fundraising Thermometer.

Our corporate wide adherence to family values includes an unending commitment to giving back that peaks during the holiday season.

Despite the challenging times we currently live in, we were able to once again this year hold a highly successful fundraiser for Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH), a Canadian charity that organizes and runs fantasy hockey tournaments across the country, and raises money to help fund the work of over 40 homeless support agencies.  The funds raised by Universal benefit 360Kids ( and Blue Door Shelters (, two local organizations committed to ending homelessness

In October and November, the Universal employee group rallied together to raise an incredible $14,060.  Together with the company’s funds matching program and participation as sponsor for HHTH’s upcoming York Region event, a total contribution exceeding $44,000 was made by the Universal group.

Even more giving took place in December as our employees were enthusiastic supporters of two other charities we support annually: the Vaughan Food Bank and the Toy Mountain gift drive.  “It is a great feeling knowing that the bags and bags of food and gifts contributed by our employees will bring joy this holiday season to those who are less fortunate,” said Mark Glionna, Vice President – Client Relations & Business Development.

Forwarders see cargo bumped as vaccine shipments take off

Air cargo loading

This is the moment the world has anxiously been waiting for – the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine.  The recent announcements authorizing its use in Canada, the U.S. and UK are now followed by a massive logistics challenge to get the vaccines to each country’s immunization sites.

The logistics of flying billions of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines around the world will be complex.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that the size of the vaccine delivery operation is enormous, estimating that, “just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 B747 cargo aircraft”.  This is all happening in a time of diminished cargo capacity in the global air transport industry.  With the severe downturn in passenger traffic, airlines have downsized networks and put many aircraft into remote long term storage.

The additional demand for capacity to fly COVID-19 vaccines is expected to have a significant effect on airfreight rates going into 2021.  There are also some indications that vaccine shipments may be given priority over less urgent or lower-yielding cargo, potentially pushing up rates as the vaccines begin to ship.  While it is not expected that we will see the same rate levels as in the spring of 2020, it is likely airfreight rates will stay at elevated levels throughout 2021.  Originally, it was feared a rush to fly the vaccine would overwhelm air carriers, but the airfreight industry is confident that the significant volumes will be manageable.

The technology, strategy and operations excellence needed will be on a scale not seen before, with some logistics industry specialists calling it “the most complex logistical challenge ever faced”.

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

Why you need to have cargo insurance

Containers damage

The recent incident involving the 14,000 TEU Ocean Network Express containership ONE Apus is a prime example of why you should always plan for the unexpected when it comes to arranging cargo insurance.

While en route from Yantian, China to the Port of Long Beach, California on November 30, 2020, the ship encountered a violent storm producing gale-force winds and large swells, which caused the vessel to roll heavily and resulted in the loss of 1,816 containers at sea and what could be thousands of damaged containers on the ship’s deck.

This unfortunate event comes during the last big rush to get Chinese exports to US consumers before Christmas.  Shippers without cargo insurance will be faced with substantial losses for their goods and significant delays are expected for any goods not damaged or lost.

The vessel turned back and docked safely in the Port of Kobe, Japan on December 8th.  It is expected to take some time to offload the dislodged containers that remain on board.  A thorough assessment will be made on the exact number and type of containers that have been lost or damaged, followed by a full investigation by the relevant maritime authorities.  Speculation is the cargo claims could top $50 million.

This incident is thought to be the largest loss of boxes in a single event that did not involve a fire or sinking.  It exceeds the average number of containers lost in an entire year from all vessels around the globe.

Shippers with cargo on board the ONE Apus have been warned to expect General Average to be declared on the casualty.  When the vessel owner declares a general average, the owner and all the cargo shippers are obliged by law to share, on a pro-rata basis, the expenses associated with the general average declaration.  The cost per uninsured shipper can be catastrophic, even if the value of their shipment is low.  By ensuring you have adequate cargo insurance in place, which includes coverage for General Average, you are protected from such overwhelming financial risks.

For information and tips on cargo insurance, be sure to read our special edition of RouteAll about Cargo Insurance.  And remember…it always pays to be insured for the unexpected!

For more information, contact David Lychek, Manager – Ocean & Air Services.

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city whose oldest
structure is the Babylon fortress

  • The only city that still has a remaining ancient wonder of the world.
  • Boasts one of the tallest structures made by human hands.
  • Hosts the largest food court in the world.
  • Home to one of the most famous bazaars in the world.
  • Is said to be the cradle of mankind.
  • There are believed to be over 4.5 million cars in this city.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Carefully inspect all freight to identify deficiencies in packaging

Problems that seem small at the time of loading can get much worse in transit, sometimes resulting in damage to the entire load.  For example, a small leak can contaminate the whole shipment; a collapsed carton can let the whole shipment move around enough to damage many other cartons.

Proper packaging helps protect your shipments from preventable cargo losses.

Ian Goulbourne, Customs Operations
Ian Goulbourne,
Customs Operations

At Your Service:  Ian Goulbourne, Customs Operations

This year, Ian Goulbourne celebrates 25 years with Universal Logistics.  He is a dedicated, hardworking member of our Canadian Customs Operations team.  Ian is responsible for processing Canadian import truck releases for shipments crossing at ports across Canada.

Ian can be reached by phone at (905) 882-4880, ext. 1222 or by email.

December 2020

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

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