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March 2021

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Get ready for CARM


As customs brokers we are used to managing change, especially new Canada Border Services (CBSA) initiated programs.  In most cases, we manage these changes behind the scenes.   Our clients rightfully expect that we will take care of everything on their behalf – and we do.

CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management), however, is one of the first Customs initiatives that absolutely requires importer engagement.  All importers to Canada (whether resident or non-resident) must take certain steps – if not, they simply won’t be able to import into Canada.

Universal Logistics will help our clients along the road to CARM to ensure a smooth transition.  The CARM initiative will be implemented in phases (or releases).  Release 1 is scheduled for May 25, 2021.

Here’s what you need to know to get ready…

Identify your company’s Business Account Managers (BAM)

It is recommended each importer assign a minimum of 2 Business Account Managers.
Register your business in the CARM Client Portal (CCP)

All importers must register in the CARM Client Portal prior to Release 2 of CARM (May/June 2022) or they will not be able to import commercial shipments into Canada.
Delegate authority to your customs broker

Universal will be requesting “Delegation of Authority” from all active clients.  You will receive this request once your company registers in the CARM Client Portal.  Our clients will have to approve Universal Logistics for a “Business Management” relationship for us to act on their behalf and manage their account(s) with CBSA.
Secure a Release of Goods Bond

Without the required bond, importers will be required to pay CBSA in advance for all duties/taxes prior to gaining release of imported shipments.  Importer security is mandatory for all importers at CARM Release 2 (scheduled for May/June 2022).

For more details on CARM and for tips on how to get ready – visit our website or contact your Client Care Rep to discuss how the proper delegation of authority will streamline your import clearance process.

We’re Back! Italy to Canada ocean consolidation service

Italy & Canada flags

After a three year absence, we are once again operating our weekly ocean consolidation service from Italy to Montreal and Toronto.  Universal is no stranger to this trade lane, having previously offered this reliable service for over 30 years to Canadian importers.  With the volume resurgence on this route, it was natural to start back up again.

Have Italian ocean freight requirements?  You’ll be in good hands with Universal’s proven track record of providing quality service.  For convenience and cost savings, your shipments can be received at any of our Italian freight receiving depots; Milano, Bologna, Vicenza and Livorno.  Our Italian partner has a competitive network of local truck carriers, who can pick up shipments from suppliers located in any part of Italy.  The loading of the consolidation container is performed in Livorno and delivered to the nearby Port of Genoa for the vessel sailing to Canada.

Upon arrival in Montreal or Toronto, your shipments can be delivered locally or to any destination across Canada.  In addition, receive expedited customs clearance in advance of shipment arrival when you also use our Canadian customs brokerage services.

Don’t arrange your next ocean freight shipment from Italy until you have discovered what Universal Logistics has to offer.

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

Universal streamlines customs clearances
with Descartes & Windmill

Customs Broker

The implementation of an innovative documentation digitization solution from Windmill, has allowed Universal to take a big step forward in achieving our goal of improving operational efficiency through the automation of the labour-intensive customs clearance process.  This digital software solution from Descartes Systems Group, the global leader in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce, has enabled us to eliminate the need for repetitive, error-prone and time-consuming manual data entry, allowing us to use the increased productivity and freed up time to focus on enhancing our client’s service experience.

“Best-in-class technology is an investment we make to help our people provide clients with smarter logistics solutions”, said Paul Glionna, Vice President – Systems Development & Operations.  “Using the Descartes system, we’ve achieved a level of automation that has unlocked significant productive time for higher quality client conversations.  Multi-page commercial invoices that previously took hours to complete are now done in 10 minutes, and commodities are now classified at the time an entry is created to further streamline customs clearance.  This type of process automation is a high impact, low effort means to allow us to focus on higher-value work for our clients.”

Universal will continue to look for other digital automation solutions to help us improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the customs clearance process while our clients benefit from a better service experience.

For more information, contact Paul Glionna, Vice President – Systems Development & Operations.

Container shortages continue


The CEOs of three of the world’s leading global carriers – Ocean Network Express (ONE), Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk, have advised that it may take until the second half of 2021 before any normality returns to the container trade.

The CEO of ONE advised that some of the issues relate to terminal productivity in North America, which falls behind those in Asia by up to 50% due to fewer working hours.  Customary working hours in North America are mismatched to those in Asia, creating a point of resistance in the cargo flow.  Due to congestion at North American ports – most notably Long Beach and Los Angeles, where many ships are alongside or at anchor waiting to berth – they are running out of ships to load in Asia.

The CEO of Hapag-Lloyd advised that today’s strong volumes would continue for quite some time.

The tight availability of both containers and ships, combined with terminal delays, have created a perfect storm.

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

Canadian ports continue to focus
long term infrastructure development


In spite of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, ports across Canada are maintaining their focus on long term infrastructure development.  Despite the world economy suffering from last year’s recession, the ongoing resurgence of Coronavirus infections and the slower-than-expected rollout of vaccinations, port authorities are pressing ahead with projects that will ensure future prosperity and trade opportunities.

At Vancouver, Canada’s biggest port, work on some key infrastructure projects under the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 strategy are moving ahead this year.  Topping the list is the Centerm Expansion and South Shore Access project, which is to be completed in 2022.  It will help meet an expected near-term spike in demand for containers shipped through the port.  In nearby Prince Rupert, already operating at around 90 percent capacity – helping make it Canada’s third busiest port by container volume and cargo tonnage behind Montreal and Vancouver – the terminal is being expanded to raise storage to 1.6 million TEUs.  Work is already underway and should be completed late this year.

In Montreal the port got a major boost in early January when the Quebec government announced it was providing $55 million in funding to the Contrecoeur container terminal.  Final federal approval for the nearly $1 billion project, which will increase the port’s container-handling capacity to 1.15 million TEUs, is also expected imminently.  Construction is planned to begin in late 2021, with commissioning scheduled for 2024.  The Contrecoeur project will enable the port to handle the steady growth in container traffic while solidifying Montreal’s position as the largest port in Eastern Canada and the main point of entry into the market-rich Great Lakes region and the American Midwest.

Finally, in Halifax the yardsticks are being moved forward in 2021 on two federally funded projects that will streamline container operations at the city’s historic port, the fourth largest by container volume in Canada and the only port in Eastern Canada that can berth and service the giant vessels from southeast Asia that are now plying North Atlantic waters.  One project now in the advanced planning stage – the Marine Container Examination Facility (MCEF) – involves the construction of a dedicated facility and access road in the port for inspection of containers by the Canada Border Services Agency.  This will improve efficiencies and allow this port to compete with New York City and other Eastern Seaboard ports for big-ship trade.

Such forward-looking efforts of port authorities – with federal and provincial support – should be applauded as we aim for a return to normalcy and an accompanying uptick in global trade in a post-pandemic world.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city named after the second son of England’s King George III

  • The Saint John River is a dramatic and defining natural feature of this city, anchoring the downtown area.
  • The oldest English High School in the country and was established here in 1785.
  • The fountain in front of City Hall was erected in 1885, making ‘Freddie, the little nude dude’, as the ornamental cherub on top has been nicknamed, two years older than the Statue of Liberty.
  • City Hall’s clock tower is an iconic landmark – the clock and bell came from England in 1878 and parts of it served as the prototype for London’s famous, Big Ben.
  • Willie O’Ree, the first person of colour to play in the National Hockey League, hails from this city.
  • The Coleman Frog is a cherished and extraordinary part of the city’s history.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

What freight quotation is best for your product?

Don’t sign off on a shipment until you have confirmed the quotation is the right match for your product.  For example, a truck shipment going from Los Angeles to Toronto could be quoted per pallet, per pound, per mile or per linear foot of space taken on the truck.

Kathryn Stark, Customs Operations – Fort Erie
Kathryn Stark, Customs Operations – Fort Erie

At Your Service:  Kathryn Stark, Customs Operations – Fort Erie

Kathryn Stark joined Universal Logistics in November 2019, working at our Fort Erie office location.

Kathryn is responsible for handling Canadian import clearances and gets involved with clearances at all ports across Canada.

Kathryn can be reached by phone at (905) 871-0220 ext. 2206 or by email.

March 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. 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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