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June 2019

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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One-of-a-kind business relationship


A ten-year relationship with a partner company is impressive.  A 25-year relationship is rare.  But fewer still have done what Universal Logistics and its UK partner World Transport Agency (WTA) have just celebrated:  a 50th anniversary.

Representatives of Universal Logistics and WTA enjoyed a
50th anniversary celebration party in Venice, Italy.

“This is what happens when you have the best teams at each end of the lane and never lose the commitment to offering the premier service on the UK-North America trade lane,” said Michael Glionna, President, Universal Logistics.  “We just know that lane and pass on the market knowledge to all our clients.”

“Yet another shared strength is the heavy emphasis placed on core family values – respect, integrity and trust”, said Mark Glionna.  “We will never forget our roots while looking forward to the next 50 years, which will involve investing in new digital technology platforms, expanding markets and training and development of our valued employees.  Together, we build customized and innovative logistics solutions to meet the needs of our mutual clients.”

Cheers to WTA, our esteemed partners in the UK.  And Cheers to our many clients who have made the journey a wonderful success!

How to prepare for CBSA Compliance Verifications


The CBSA uses two post-release verification processes to manage trade compliance with the Tariff Classification, Valuation, and Origin programs; Random Verifications and Verification Priorities.

Random Verifications are designed to measure compliance rates and revenue loss and the results may be used for many purposes, including:

  • Risk assessment;
  • Revenue assessment; and
  • Promoting voluntary compliance.

Verification Priorities are determined through a targeted risk-based, evergreen process, meaning that new targets are added throughout the year.  The current verification priorities can be viewed here.

Get started on your compliance plan by appointing a Compliance Coordinator with the following responsibilities:

  • Review your customs-related systems, procedures and mechanisms
  • Assess your level of compliance
  • Implement links between your purchasing, receiving and payables processes
  • Develop, document and implement a Compliance Plan
  • Report all discrepancies to your customs broker to avoid penalty

Your Compliance Coordinator should then review your internal customs systems and implement a voluntary compliance plan before the CBSA comes knocking at your door.  Here’s how to tell whether you need a compliance plan:

  • Can you prove that each import shipment entering your facility has been released by Customs?
  • Do you review your customs declarations to make sure they match what you actually received and paid your vendor for?
  • Do you report all discrepancies in the customs process to Customs?

If you decide to wait until Customs say they are going to perform a “verification review” (their lingo for audit), it is too late to correct past errors and you could be in a penalty position.

The CBSA have issued millions of dollars in penalties to the import/export community since the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) was introduced in October 2002.

You should also know AMPS comes with a “Reason to Believe” clause pertaining to discrepancies in tariff, value and origin.  This means if you have reason to believe an error has occurred, you must submit a voluntary adjustment (not subject to penalty) within 90 days.

AMPS monetary penalties will be issued against errors, including simple errors with no intent to defraud.  This means that even the smallest of clerical errors may be subject to a penalty assessed on either a scale rate or a percentage of the shipment value, depending on the infraction involved.

The penalty list contains 181 items.  Most are on a graduated scale, meaning they will escalate if the number of infractions increases.  Infractions will remain on your customs profile for up to three years.

Universal Logistics can provide all the support you need – from a full-blown compliance review of your systems and processes, to the submission of voluntary adjustments on your behalf to the CBSA.  Part of this support includes monthly customs declaration reports that make it simple and easy to identify and report errors.  We do all the rest, including preparing and submitting the necessary voluntary adjustment to Customs.

Remember, the best way to reduce your risk of penalty is by investing in compliance rather than paying for non-compliance.

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

2019 Food Forum

Each year representatives from Universal Logistics attend a variety of industry related events in order to keep abreast of the latest information available.  Last month, Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, attended the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters (I.E. Canada) 14th Annual Food Forum.

This year’s event was focused on the implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) and providing information to help Canadian food importers, exporters and domestic producers implement Canada’s SFCR which came into effect January 15, 2019.

Under the SFCR, the Good Importing Practices for Food inspections have been replaced by a new set of CFIA Standard Inspection Procedures (SIPs).   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) outlined what the SIPs will involve, and what can be expected when CFIA visits establishments.  They also outlined how to prepare for your next CFIA inspection or audit.

The CFIA gave a very informative presentation to guide food importers and domestic producers on what should be included in a Preventive Control Plan (PCP) and what CFIA will be looking for when they audit a PCP.

“Events where members of government are directly available to share their knowledge are of utmost value” said Mr. Rowe.  “We value what we can bring to the table for our clients, from discussing challenges not only with government officials directly but also with insight gained from other importers and exporters.”

In addition, the CFIA gave presentations on:

  • Single Window: Impact of Single Window on importation of CFIA regulated goods
  • Importer responsibilities under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
  • Next wave of SFCR: Licencing of the non-federally registered sector, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Proposed amendments to the cannabis regulations: edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and cannabis topicals
  • FDA inspections under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act: What to expect, lessons learned, how to prepare
  • Food Fraud: CFIA’s new emphasis on and plans to curb food fraud

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

Time for truckers to prepare for the
Canadian Electronic Logging Device

Trucker with tablet

Canadian truck companies must start making the transition to the new Canadian Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate which will roll out this month, with full implementation on June 12, 2021.  The ELD is a piece of hardware that connects to the truck’s engine control module and tracks the driver’s hours-of-service.  High fines and delays for both drivers and trucking companies are possible for non-compliance.

The purpose of an ELD is not limited to logging hours.  Additional goals include:

  • Ensuring drivers adhere to health and safety standards
  • Developing better working conditions
  • Improving understanding of cross border relations
  • Improving understanding of regulatory requirements
  • Promoting fair competition by fleet operators

For more information, contact William Sanchez, Manager – Truck Services.

Chinese exporters are working around U.S. tariffs

Dueling Chinese-US containers

Despite the imposition of heavy U.S tariffs on products destined for U.S consumers, many Chinese manufacturers are still able to reach the U.S. by first moving final manufacturing through other countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico – then moving the finished goods into the U.S..

Have a look at these trade shifts in the first quarter for 2019:  China to Vietnam – up $1.5 billion; Vietnam to U.S. – up $2.7 billion; China to Taiwan – up $1.4 billion; Taiwan to U.S – up  $2 billion.  Mexico’s numbers are up as well and could still increase.  At the same time, there is concern about fake “roundabouts”, where a product from country “A” avoids a tariff by saying it is from a country that is not subject to tariffs.

Not sure whether these shifts in trade routes could be good or difficult for your business?  Get the answers you need by speaking with Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs.

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
What you will rarely find on a city subway platform – a single person.

Global Spotlight Quiz

What city has a railway station that handles about 3.7 million passengers – a day

How many clues do you need to name the city that seems to do everything big.

  • The city is home to some of the most acclaimed and expensive restaurants in the world.
  • Has the largest metropolitan area in the world, hosting over 38 million people.
  • Has the busiest and largest fish market in the world.
  • Vending machines are available every 12 metres, selling everything from food to fashion.
  • Has the busiest intersection in the world with up to 1,000 people crossing at the same time.

The world famous spring festival in April lasts for one or two weeks.

  See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Stay on schedule by staying informed

As a client of Universal Logistics, you will always be among the first to learn about key events that could influence the shipping of your imports or exports.

That’s because we issue Email Alerts! whenever something important happens.  It could be a terrorist act on a major trade lane, extreme weather, a labour dispute, a trade sanction or a natural disaster, such as SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Ebola.

Make sure you read our alerts as soon as possible because you never know when an alert contains information that impacts your business.  Learn even more by taking a moment to read this monthly newsletter and other key sources of industry information, such as private sector and government magazines and websites.

Remember you always have the option of calling your Client Care rep, who is available to answer questions and, in some situations, may be your very best source of market intelligence.

Nicole West
Nicole West

At Your Service: Nicole West

Nicole West joined the Universal Logistics Customs Operations team in 2011, working at our Niagara Falls and Fort Erie branch offices before moving to head office, where she currently handles ocean and air clearances.

Nicole was recently promoted to the role of Team Leader – Ocean & Air Clearances.  Nicole’s team is responsible for the customs clearance of ocean and air shipments, including freight routed through Universal’s ocean and airfreight services.

Nicole has completed two key training courses, Certified Customs Specialist (2014) and the initial CIFFA Certificate (2013).

Nicole can be reached by phone at (905) 882-4880, ext. 228 or by email.

June 2019

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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