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June 2022

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Trucking/Rail Terminal issues remain

Containers Loading on Ship

Congestion at ports and inland terminals across Canada remains an ongoing hurdle for both importers and exporters, anxious to receive their shipments or move cargo abroad.  The Ports of Vancouver, Halifax and Montreal continue to struggle with excessive volumes, resulting in the delay of cargo moving to inland terminals by rail and creating issues for exporters trying to connect with departing vessels.

In terms of imports, once cargo does arrive at destination terminals, issues related to drayage persist, as cartage companies are also having difficulty efficiently handling the increased cargo volume.  Most cartage companies are overbooked and are only able to schedule deliveries 1-2 weeks from arrival date, and because of the long waiting time at terminals, they are increasing fees to offset higher costs.  As a result, shipper’s costs are increasing, as their shipments are subject to a myriad of additional fees, such as waiting time, rail/yard storage, demurrage and chassis detention fees.

The drayage situation is being exacerbated by a shortage of cartage carriers, which are not able to evacuate containers out of the terminals in an efficient manner.  One of the reasons for this is many owner operators are moving away from unprofitable intermodal deliveries to more lucrative options such as seasonal construction deliveries.  Coupled with this, specialized equipment such as gen sets, which power reefer containers, are in such short supply that deliveries for these containers can be delayed by weeks.  Finally, returning empty containers once offloaded by the consignee is also becoming an issue, again related to high volumes on hand affecting the continued flow of cargo.

For exporters the main issue relates to maxed out rail receiving terminals and very limited return time slots for loaded export containers.  As a result, in many cases cargo is missing scheduled sailing times and incurring additional costs, related to storage and demurrage, as cargo is booked to subsequent vessels.

How this situation plays out over the coming months is anyone’s guess, but there does not seem to be any relief in sight, as we are approaching the busy summer/fall peak season for international cargo.  With even more cargo entering an already compromised logistics chain, the issues are expected to persist at least for the near future.

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

Main Peak Shipping Season expected to be challenging

Container Ship at Sea

The “main” peak shipping season happens during the second half of the year between the months of August – October.  This is due to importers seeking to increase their inventories in anticipation of Black Friday, Cyber-Monday and Christmas holiday sales.  This period is known for high, volatile rates, rolled cargo, trucking delays, and other supply chain interruptions that we are all very familiar with.

Many had predicted that since the lockdowns in Shanghai had been lifted, there would be a large amount of cargo which would swamp the market this summer, potentially making this year’s peak season “even more chaotic” than last year.  So far, this did not transpire and operations in Shanghai have returned to normal, with port congestion easing throughout China.

While some experts are predicting a worsening of the bottlenecks as peak season unfolds, there are other indications that a drop in import demand may be in sight.

Skyrocketing energy prices and inflation, combined with a reversal of consumer spending patterns, favour services rather than physical goods, which could lead to an inventory overshoot and a drastic drop in demand.  At the same time, many companies have already built up excessive amounts of inventory, further reducing the need for replenishment at this time.

While everyone would like clarity on which of these two scenarios we will end up seeing, the reality is that the market is teetering on an edge between the two, and it will be a little while before it becomes clear which one it is.

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

US Customs enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

US Customs and Border Protection

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a release announcing that the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) has launched the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) enforcement strategy, which took effect June 21, 2022.

The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), or produced by certain entities, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.

To rebut this presumptive ban, importers must show: (1) their compliance with all of the Act’s implementing regulations and FLETF’s due diligence guidance, (2) that they responded “completely and substantively” to all agency inquiries, and (3) “clear and convincing evidence” that their goods were not produced with forced labor.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection have issued Operational Guidance for Importers outlining what is required for importers to demonstrate due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures to ensure that they do not import any goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, especially from the Xinjiang Region.  This requirement extends throughout the entire supply chain, to include goods that may be shipped from elsewhere in the PRC and to third countries for further processing.

Although the government has expressed an interest to enforce the regulations to their fullest extent, initial enforcement will likely be focused on the UFLPA Entity List and on the four sectors identified by the FLETF as high-priority sectors: apparel, cotton, silica-based products, and tomatoes, however, all importers should take necessary steps to ensure their imported goods are not manufactured in any part with forced labour.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
Overlooking the Swan River, this
futuristic-looking Bell Tower houses
a number of historic bells.

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city that is home to the iconic Swan Bell Tower

  • Home to the largest inner-city park in the world, Kings Park, which is bigger than Central Park in New York.
  • Has its very own Marsupial, the Quokka.
  • One of the most isolated capital cities in the world.
  • The city’s Mint is the oldest mint in the world which still operates out of its original premises.
  • Home to the world’s second to last Blockbuster store.
  • Nicknamed the ‘City of Light’.  When astronaut, John Glenn, orbited the earth in the Friendship 7 spacecraft he flew over this city and everyone turned on their lights so that Glenn could see it sparkling from up in space.
  • Has a population of over 2 million people.
  • January is the hottest month and July the coldest.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Ensure basic information is completed on all commercial invoices

The commercial invoice is the basis for the Canadian customs entry and determines any applicable duties and taxes.  Ensuring proper information is included is vital for the accurate processing of your shipment.  The following information should always be shown:

  • Buyer & Seller
  • Full description of goods
  • H.S. classification
  • Country of Origin
  • Marks & numbers
  • Net & gross weights
  • Unit and extended price with currency
  • Cost of freight, insurance & packing
  • Terms of Delivery (Incoterms 2010)
  • Terms of payment
  • Date of Direct Shipment
  • Reference numbers (P.O., Import or Export Permit number, Letter of Credit number, etc.)
    If any of the above information is not supplied, delays or even seizures may occur at Customs and extra charges may result.
Melanie Basu, Truck Services
Melanie Basu, Truck Services

At Your Service: Melanie Basu, Truck Services

Melanie Basu joined our Head Office Truck Services team in July 2021.  Her primary responsibilities include the coordination of cross border and domestic Canada truck shipments for some of our most valued clients.

Melanie’s extensive customer service experience has made for a smooth transition into the trucking industry, and helped her navigate through some of the most tumultuous and unpredictable times in supply chain management history.

Melanie can be reached by phone (905) 882-4880, ext. 1206 or by email.

June 2022

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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