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February 2020

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Mandatory use of Single Window Initiative begins April 1

Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative (SWI), introduced by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in March 2017, will become mandatory as of April 1, 2020, the date which CBSA plans to decommission existing OGD PARS and RMD service options.

The CBSA created the SWI in order to electronically communicate with Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) to better identify goods with import requirements, and exchange that information with the PGA at time of release.

This single integrated solution is shared with the applicable PGA via an Integrated Import Declaration (IID).  The IID will streamline the importing process while eliminating redundancies in an effort to reduce clearance times.

In simple terms, SWI means import data forwarded to the CBSA will be automatically shared with nine Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) (see list below), and will bring 38 government programs under one roof.  This is expected to be a significant improvement on the old process, which required many importers to make separate submissions of import data to the CBSA and applicable government agencies and departments.

Importers are responsible for providing the required PGA data elements to their customs broker – the broker then transmits the data and, where required, submits documents electronically to the CBSA and PGAs via the Integrated Import Declaration (IID).

Although SWI reduces the manual handling of paper documents and streamlines the CBSA process once the entry is submitted, the initiative also significantly increases the amount of pre-arrival electronic data required for many commodities.

To meet deadlines, ensure readiness for the new data requirements and ensure compliance with the program overall, Canadian customs brokers needed to make significant system and process changes.  Importers will also need to adjust their own internal processes to account for the added data requirements.

Effective April 1, 2020, new service fees will be applicable to customs entries requiring PGA release under the SWI/IID initiative.

Following is a list of the 9 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) and their data requirements under SWI:

Please see below for Data Element Matching Criteria Tables by Participating Government Departments and Agencies, complete with HS Tariff Classification cross-reference:

In order to avoid customs clearance delays post full implementation, Canadian customs clients of Universal Logistics will receive a commodity listing with required PGA data elements to be completed and returned to our office, in advance of the April SWI implementation.

Key questions and answers:

What are the key goals of SWI? 

  • Give the trade community the ability to electronically submit all information required to eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and processes.
  • Reduce the paper burden on the business community and government.
  • Align to the greatest extent possible with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) data model.

When does SWI become effective?

April 1, 2020:  Deadline for importers/brokers to file release requests to CBSA using Single Window for applicable PGA shipments – current OGD PARS and OGD RMD options will be sunset.

How does the submission of import data change under SWI? 

Through Single Window, importers will provide all required documentation to the CBSA electronically, including information required by PGAs with a request for release.  The CBSA then transmits all applicable data elements directly to the respective PGA(s).  Upon receipt, the PGA reviews the transmitted information and provides the release decision back to CBSA which, in turn, transmits this information back to the applicable customs broker.

Will I have to supply more information?

Yes, you will need to report more product information to satisfy the data needs of the applicable PGA(s).  Clients of Universal Logistics may provide this information to us to be kept on file.

Is there any change in the timing of reporting?

Yes, information previously provided to PGAs after (in some cases) the goods are imported into Canada will now be required before the carrier’s arrival at the border.

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

Going to the 2020 London Book Fair?

It’s that time of year again when key Universal executives hit the road to attend major trade shows that are of importance to our valued clients.

London Book Fair
London Book Fair

First stop is the 2020 London Book Fair, which will be held March 10-12 in London, England.  Universal will be represented by Chris Barnard, Vice President – Projects & Market Development and Andrew Doick, Business Development – International.

Contact Chris or Andrew by email if you would like to arrange a meeting at the Universal booth (6B81), which we are sharing with our long-term UK partner, World Transport Agency.

“As always, we look forward to meeting with our client and business partners, who are our best source on what is happening in the book publishing industry,” said Mr. Barnard.

Verification audits for companies claiming CETA benefits

EU-Canada Flags

Are you among the many companies that have claimed CETA benefits following the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) last September?

If the answer is yes, you are certain to receive a CETA Verification Audit by either the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or the European Union (EU), based on whether you were the importer or exporter in the transaction.  You also need to know that Origin verifications under CETA are conducted by Customs in the exporter’s country, i.e. the EU conducts origin verifications of EU exporters and the CBSA conducts verifications of Canadian exporters.

The auditing process is expected to promote more fairness.  It also assures that any origin disputes will be heard in the exporter’s home country rather than being determined by foreign laws and courts.

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

China’s airfreight rates expected to soar

Air cargo

With factories reopening in China after the government imposed extension of the Lunar New Year Holiday, many are concerned that it is the “calm before the storm” in the airfreight industry.  Since demand has been low with factories closed, as well as to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, many carriers have cancelled flights in and out of the region.  Many carriers are not resuming normal schedules until the end of March.

Once factories are back to their normal scale of production, we will see a substantial increase in airfreight rates as demand heightens.  According to some analysts, the increase could be up to 300-400%.  Depending on how quickly the manufacturers rebound, there is also the possibility of some ocean shippers switching to airfreight to try to replenish their stock, which will further add fuel to the carriers to push rates up to make up for the losses in January and February.

Shippers will need to be especially proactive when shipping over the next few months, ensuring they share information with their forwarder, especially in regards to urgent cargo.  Communication will be key to assisting businesses to ensure their supply chains have the best chance to recover from this unprecedented situation.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
The best time of year to view the Aurora Borealis is in the cold months, particularly February & March.

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city that is known as the Polar Bear capital of the world

  • The country’s most northern deep water port.
  • This city is also the Beluga Whale capital of the world.
  • Not accessible by road – the only way to reach it is by train or plane.
  • Tourism and ecotourism are major contributors to the local economy, with polar bear season (October and November) being the largest.
  • The area is popular for birdwatchers and to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

See the answer

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

How to avoid customs penalties for non-compliance

Sooner or later, your business will be audited by Customs (CBSA) to ensure you have not committed violations that are subject to AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) penalties.

Make sure you are ready by:

  • maintaining a documented paper trail of every import/export shipment from purchase order to delivery
  • ensuring all customs declarations, generated from information on the shipping documents, mirror your internal ledgers (i.e. your reporting to Customs must reflect commercial reality)
  • keeping all records relating to customs transactions for the prescribed time limits (six years plus current year)

We offer professional customs consulting services to assist you in becoming fully compliant.  Remember, investing in compliance is always less costly than paying for non-compliance.

Veena Ramesh, Team Leader – Airfreight Services
Veena Ramesh, Team Leader – Airfreight Services

At Your Service: Veena Ramesh, Team Leader – Airfreight Services

Veena Ramesh has been with Universal Logistics since 2014, and brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to her role of Team Leader – Airfreight Services.

Veena goes above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction and handles all aspects of air imports and exports with ease.  This serves our clients well, as air cargo is typically very time sensitive.

Veena works out of Universal’s Toronto Airport office and can be reached by phone at (905) 676-2763, extension 2021 or by email.

February 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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