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March 2020

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Logistics solutions… We’re here to help!

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, we want you to know that Universal Logistics is doing everything we can to support our clients throughout this difficult time.

Universal Logistics Canada and Universal Logistics USA continue to be fully operational, providing uninterrupted customs clearance, consulting, freight and distribution services to all our clients.  Recent Canadian and U.S. government announcements regarding non-essential business closures have declared supply chain support services (transportation/distribution/logistics) as essential services/businesses in the Canadian Provinces and U.S. States where we operate our own offices (Ontario, Quebec, New York and Ohio).

Universal’s priority continues to be the safety of our employees and a commitment to ensure the resources and services we provide our clients are uninterrupted.  We have a comprehensive work-from-home program currently in effect to maximize the safety of our employee group.  Where a physical employee presence is required, a skeleton staff is on site.  At our offices and warehouses, we are following all safety, hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

Given this unprecedented situation, creative logistics solutions are needed to navigate the new obstacles you are facing, and we are committed to assist you in keeping your freight moving.

We know you have a lot of questions – please remember we’re here to help.  Contact us with any inquires and we’ll assist you in any way we can.  Stay safe!

For more information, contact Mark Glionna, Vice President – Client Relations & Business Development.

How is COVID-19 affecting global trade?


We are living through a once-in-a-lifetime crisis that has injected alarm and uncertainty into our lives.  The Coronavirus is causing serious disruption and a great deal of uncertainty to global supply chains.  In fact, as things stand today, we have no clear indication of when it will be brought under control.

The general effects of COVID-19 on international trade and supply chains will continue to have a massive impact on the delivery of goods for the next few months and this can be attributed to:

  • Governmental restrictions and countries shutting down their borders and economies.
  • Drastically increased prices for certain goods and order cancellations by customers.
  • Surging trucking demand as retailers restock.
  • Soaring airfreight rates as demand outstrips capacity and airlines cancel flights.
  • Ports facing excessive volume swings creating operational difficulties.
  • All modes of transport, ports, warehouses and terminals facing labour shortages due to workers with COVID-19, as well as shortages of appropriate equipment to properly protect vital workers from becoming sick.

It is impossible to list all the different ways this crisis is affecting the ability to keep cargo moving.  For this reason, Universal Logistics has introduced Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alerts, an email service providing our clients with concise and informative updates by mode of transport on a regular basis.

We have also added a new page to the Universal Logistics web site under Client Care dedicated solely to this critical topic, including a list of informative FAQs.

These are uncertain times and it is now even more important to be fully aware of the potential disruptions impacting the delivery of your goods.  If you have not done so already, please make sure you are signed up to receive Universal’s Email Alerts! and visit our web site often.

For more information, contact Chris Barnard, Vice President – Projects & Market Development.

CBSA delays mandatory use of Single Window Initiative

Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative (SWI), scheduled to become mandatory as of April 1, 2020, the date which the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) planned to decommission existing OGD PARS and RMD service options, has been postponed to an undetermined date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Universal Logistics will continue to utilize SWI for all PGA release requests, as CBSA has advised clients that have on-boarded to the SWI IID (SO911), but continue to use the legacy OGD release service options, may experience delays in the processing of their shipments.

Additional fees as noted in our February 2020 issue of Route will not be implemented until such time as SWI becomes mandatory.

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

New NAFTA deal to be implemented June 1, 2020


The new NAFTA deal passed the Canadian Senate by a rush vote on March 18, 2020.  Canada was the only signatory still to ratify the deal referred to as CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement) in Canada and USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) in the U.S..

The legislation received royal assent the same day from Governor General Julie Payette, which initiated a three-month period to give the three countries time to hammer out the regulations that will govern the mechanics of the agreement.  Implementation of the new agreement is set to take place on June 1, 2020, although there is talk the deal may be delayed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Importers should begin obtaining valid Certificates of Origin (or ensure exporters are prepared to include the applicable certificate of origin data elements on shipping documents) under the new agreement to ensure there is no lapse in preferential trade status, prior to the new deal taking effect.  Between now and June 1, 2020, NAFTA Certificates of Origin will still be required to obtain preferential trade status.  Once the new trade agreement becomes effective, NAFTA Certificates of Origin will no longer be valid and must be replaced with CUSMA/USMCA Certificates of Origin or specified certificate of origin data elements on shipping documents.

For clients who are currently enrolled in Universal’s NAFTA Project Management Program (Service Option 2  – Universal Logistics obtains Blanket Certificates for Client), we will contact your vendors directly to obtain the required CUSMA/USMCA Certificates of Origin.  For those clients not enrolled in this Service Option and who would like Universal Logistics to obtain the required Certificates of Origin direct from your vendors, please let us know.

To download Universal’s CUSMA/USMCA Certificate of Origin template click here.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the capital city that was created when 3 cities joined together

  • This capital city was created when 3 cities joined together.
  • The inventors of the Rubik’s cube and Biro Pen were born here.
  • The world’s second largest synagogue (after New York) is located here.
  • If you rub the belly of the statue of the policeman in front of the Basilica of San Esteban, you will never put on weight.
  • Known for its ‘Ruin Bars’ – Soviet style abandoned houses with gardens.
  • Paprika was invented in this city.
  • The world’s most extensive system of geothermal caves can be found beneath 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

Timing is everything with your international trading partners

Remember to take into account time zones when you are communicating with your international trading partners.  Anyone working in Europe is generally 5-6 hours ahead, so start your day by speaking with them.

Use the mid-day to communicate with trading partners in your time zone and reserve the end of the day for business contacts on the West Coast of North America (who are three hours behind) or correspondence to contacts in Asia or Europe, who will see it first thing when they start their work day.

Rachel Ng, Freight Solutions
Rachel Ng, Freight Solutions

At Your Service: Rachel Ng, Freight Solutions

Rachel Ng joined Universal’s Freight Solutions team in September 2012, and has since focused on coordinating air and ocean import bookings for our clients, as well as PO Management for our key accounts.

Rachel recently returned from maternity leave.  Her dedication to her career continued while on leave, as Rachel successfully completed the CIFFA International Transportation and Trade Program with an impressive 93% grade.  Rachel also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto.

Rachel can be reached by phone (905) 882-4880, ext. 1211 or by email.

March 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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