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February 2021

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Get ready for CARM Release 1


CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) is a multi-year initiative designed to transform the collection of duties and taxes for goods imported into Canada, providing importers with an online portal to view all their transactions.

All importers will be required to create a CARM Business Account. The CARM Portal is expected to open in CARM Release 1 (May/June 2021) for importers/brokers to register with the CBSA. Mandatory registration for ALL importers will be required in CARM Release 2 (Spring 2022).

As an Importer – What should you do for CARM Release 1?

  • Register in the CARM Client Portal (CCP)
  • Identify your Business Account Manager(s) (BAM)
  • Delegate authority to your customs broker – Universal Logistics – to manage your imports

CARM Client Portal
At Release1 (May/June 2021), the CARM Client Portal will be accessible to importers and customs brokers. Users will be able to:

  • view transactions posted to their accounts
  • make payments by credit card or set up pre-authorized debit
  • delegate portal access to employees and third parties (such as customs brokers) to manage commercial imports activities
  • request and track the progress of rulings electronically
  • classify goods and estimate duties and taxes

Establish your BAM
In preparation for the CARM Portal registration determine who your internal Business Account Managers (BAM) will be. Two contacts are recommended to be established as the primary and alternate BAM within your organization.

  • The Business Account Managers manage the daily customs operations and have full access to all business and program accounts. They are responsible for approving any access requests to your account and for assigning user roles to each new user.

Watch for more updates on CARM coming soon from Universal Logistics.

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

Ocean freight rates set to stabilize but at high levels

Container ship

Ocean freight rates soared in 2020 and into early 2021, following surging demand in global shipping after a swifter-than-expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question now is, will ocean freight rates continue to skyrocket on the Asia/North America trade lane?

No one knows for certain, but some industry experts are predicting spot rates will plateau after the Chinese New Year, however, still remain elevated for some time. While it is not expected that rates will come down sharply, there’s a view they may come down to a level we could refer to as more normal and reasonable. The downward trend should start with the premiums being charged by carriers for equipment and priority loading and, from there, lead to a slow decline of the actual ocean freightrates.

The high level of spot rates will also impact 2021 ocean freight contract rates, as they are currently three to five times lower than today’s FAK (Freight All Kinds) spot rates. The timing of the upcoming contract season favours carriers, as negotiating contract rates when spot rates are so high is an advantage for them.

Most contract rates took a nosedive back in 2016 when markets crashed. Carriers have tried but have been unable to increase contract rates ever since. It seems highly likely that 2021 may be the year when they actually succeed in doing so.

For more information, contact Cathy Fong, Manager – Freight Pricing.

Container shortages


A severe shortage of available empty containers on major trade lanes poses a big challenge for shippers already facing soaring ocean freight rates, tightening vessel capacity and congestion at certain key ports.

With ocean carriers having placed sizable orders in the second half of 2020, there are new containers being delivered all the time, but not always beyond the main ports where many of the worst shortages exist. Carriers prioritize their equipment for the better-paying trade lanes, and this is expected to continue as long as the supply of empty containers remains tight globally. Availability also varies by carrier, where one carrier has equipment and another has none.

Another major contributing factor to this issue is that containers and vessels are moving more slowly due to cancellations of vessel sailings, port congestions, port labour problems caused by COVID-19 outbreaks and chassis unavailability. Port congestion, in particular, ties up a significant part of the ability to reposition the empty containers and bring the two-way flow back into balance.

Industry experts are divided on how long this equipment problem will last into 2021, however, some hold the opinion that until all these issues are resolved, equipment will continue to be in short supply and there may not be an improvement until the second half of the year. Others have a more positive outlook stating that, with Chinese container factories now working at full production and with an aggressive approach by the carriers to reposition their empties back to origin, Chinese New Year could be the turning point for equipment shortages and the situation stabilizing in the coming weeks. Let’s hope they are right.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight

The statue of the bear and the strawberry tree on Puerta del Sol.

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city whose Coat of Arms is a Bear & a Tree

  • Founded around the year 860 A.C..
  • Gets its name from the Arabic "magerit" which means “place of many streams”.
  • Birthplace of celebrities like actress Penelope Cruz and singer Enrique Iglesias.
  • One of the most popular destinations to study abroad.
  • The local football (soccer) team is one of the best in the world.
  • The oldest restaurant in the world is located in thiscity.
  • Great place for museum fanatics – deemed to have a “Golden Triangle” of museums.
  • Has a large bullfighting arena.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Why theft is often a preventable loss

Thieves and pilferers identify high value shipments by looking for descriptive labelling, illustration or prominent trademarks and brand names.

Protect your shipment from theft by using code marking, a quick and simple way to avoid a preventable loss (almost one-third of preventable losses are attributed to theft, pilferage andnon-delivery).

Charlie Herman, Manager – Distribution Services

Charlie Herman, Manager – Distribution Services

At Your Service:Charlie Herman, Manager – Distribution Services

Since joining Universal Logistics in 2015, Charlie Herman has worked with both our Business Development and Airfreight Operations teams.

Over the last couple of years, Charlie’s focus has switched to our Distribution Services operation, where he has been involved in all aspects of distribution, including physical warehouse operations.

In February 2021, Charlie was promoted to the position of Manager – Distribution Services at our Airport office.

Charlie can be reached by phone at (905) 676-2763, ext.2023 or by email.

February 2021

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. 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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