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May 2020

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Impact of Coronavirus Update


A number of global countries and governments have recently announced a loosening of the “lock down” and “self-isolation” regulations to allow people, businesses and economies a path back to normal times. The road to recovery will most likely be cautious and slowly staged, but it is positive to see a move in this direction.

As long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Universal Logistics will continue doing everything we can to support our clients throughout this difficult time.

We have made it our number one priority to ensure that Universal Logistics Canada and Universal Logistics USA continue to be fully operational, providing innovative logistics solutions, uninterrupted customs clearance, consulting, freight and distribution services to all our clients.

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 healthy!

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

Logistics during COVID-19 brews "perfect storm" for shippers

Global freight

In today’s landscape there is no normal in regards to international shipping. Throughout the world, shippers have been faced with a multitude of issues. In the EU, truckers have faced multiple blockages as each country has adopted different social distancing regulations. This, coupled with a lack of access to food and facilities while driving, has presented significant operational challenges, all of which have resulted in higher than normal trucking charges throughout Europe.

Ocean transport has also become more challenging with the drop of consumer demand in North America. Blanked sailings reduced capacity by over 30% on Far East and 15% on Trans-Atlantic trade routes. This has made procuring space and equipment more challenging for shippers.

Air transport has also had its share of upheaval. With passenger flights collapsing and the demand for emergency shipments of medical cargo and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), rates have soared and space is tight. Passenger aircraft which have been repurposed to move freight, as well as freighter aircraft, are now struggling to keep up with demand. Cargo is now shipped on a more ad hoc basis, with rates and schedules changing on a daily basis.

On top of all of this, we have to be concerned about the carriers’ economic outlook, and their ability to weather the storm, so that we do not have a repeat of the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy that caused chaos among global supply chains in 2016-2017.

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

COVID-19 Remission Order not just for PPE

On May 7, 2020 we advised that the Government of Canada waived tariffs on a vast array of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical goods to provide relief during the COVID-19 crisis. Both the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Department of Finance have now confirmed this relief goes well beyond the intended PPE and, in fact, includes all imported goods falling within the stated HS tariff classifications.

Remission of duty is temporarily granted for classifications listed in the Certain Goods Remission Order (COVID-19) SOR-2020-101, under the following conditions:

a) the good was imported into Canada on or after May 5, 2020 and subject to customs duties;
b) no other claim for relief of the customs duties has been granted under the Customs Tariff in respect of the good;
c) the importer files, on request, the evidence or information that the Canada Border Services Agency requires to determine eligibility for remission;
d) the importer agrees that it is subject, at any time, including after remission relief is provided, to review by the Canada Border Services Agency for the purpose of determining whether the information supplied by the importer under paragraph (c) is accurate and complete and whether the facts on which the Canada Border Services Agency relied or intends to rely to determine the eligibility for remission remain unchanged in all material respects; and
e) at the time when the Canada Border Services Agency conducts the review referred to in paragraph (d), the Canada Border Services Agency must be able to conclude that the information supplied remains accurate and complete and that the facts remain unchanged in all material respects.

As the validity of the remission relies on the importer to prove the declared classification is correct upon request by CBSA, we would recommend obtaining Binding Rulings, where applicable, in order to avoid potential re-assessment of duty and associated penalties.

Contact us if you would like to ensure the benefits of this duty-free Remission Order are applied to your qualifying imports, and Universal Logistics will request Binding Rulings from the CBSA on your behalf (Consulting fees will apply).

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

Showing our clients we care when they need it most

Client Relations Managament

Absolutely no one is immune to the challenges and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our clients are no exception.

The role of Universal’s Client Relations (CR) Team (Mark Glionna, John Leis, Brenda Munroe, Grace Barnard, Kathleen Pope and Wendy Nigro) in the management of the relationships with our clients has become even more crucial during these turbulent times.

Not surprisingly, Mark Glionna, Vice President – Client Relations & Business Development confirmed, “It has been very difficult for the majority of clients who are experiencing downturns in revenues, closures in some cases, often a shortage of staff and with most having to conduct business in a work-from-home environment”.

Although an integral part of the CR Team’s service process, “in person” meetings, is no longer possible, this has resulted in one positive change. It has been an excellent opportunity for our team to use technology to their advantage. “Face time” through Zoom, WhatsApp and Webex has enabled the CR team to make safe personal contact with our clients to show them our commitment and also offer any assistance they might need to navigate these turbulent times.

The Client Relations Team has been reaching out to clients over the past months to re-assure them that we are open and operating fully to meet their logistics needs, including the following:

  • Ensure they are safe and healthy.
  • Determine the impact COVID-19 has had on their business, staffing and operatinghours.
  • Answer any questions about our service and availability.
  • Ensure they are keeping well informed about the impact COVID-19 is having on trade by way of ourRouteNewsletters andEmailAlerts!.
  • Keep them updated on government initiatives and changes that could impact them, e.g. how to take advantage of the GST & Duty deferral option.
  • Determine areas for improved efficiencies, i.e. enrolling clients for e-billing, CBSAe-payment, UConnect, Smartborder.
  • Offer help in enrolling clients in Direct Security payment programs so they can take advantage of the duty and tax deferral options.
  • Provide support to clients who are exploring new and unique ways to sustain profitability, e.g. importing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In their many conversations, clients commented on how much they appreciate receiving our phone calls checking on how they are doing and being kept updated through information updates from our COVID-19EmailAlertsand COVID-19 web site page.

Wendy Nigro best encapsulates the approach our CR Team is taking:

“The ‘humanity’ factor is even more pronounced now and the ‘business-only’ aspect takes a bit of a back seat. Our clients still receive the professional services required to overcome this massive obstacle known as COVID-19 but it’s also a time to reflect on the value and importance of family and life. We want our clients to know ‘We’re all in this together’”.

For more information, contact John Leis, Director – Client Relations.

New Canadian Export Requirements


Exporting from Canada? – Here’s what you need toknow…

June 30, 2020 is the deadline for mandatory electronic export reporting. Paper Export Declarations – Form B13A – will no longer be accepted by the Canada Border Services Agency(CBSA).

The current electronic export reporting system, CAED (Customs Automated Export Declarations), will be decommissioned on September 30, 2020, and CERS (Canadian Exporting Reporting System) replaces CAED.

Universal Logistics has been at the forefront of all CERS directives as part of the initial CERS Pilot Working Group – a collaborative group with representation from CBSA, Statistics Canada and select Trade Chain Partners, including exporters and service providers. As early adaptors of this CBSA initiative, Universal is fully CERS-operational and reports all client export declarations electronically via CERS.

Details of the Canadian Export Reporting System can be found on CBSA’s web site.

If you require assistance with your exports – or simply with your export reporting under the new CERS requirements – we’re here to help.

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

CBSA postpones CARM deployment


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have announced that deployment of the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project will be postponed. Through CARM, the CBSA will modernize and streamline the process of importing commercial goods with a customer-centric focus.

Lisa Anawati, Vice President, CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management stated, in part:

Over the last couple of weeks, Trade chain partners have asked the CBSA whether the Covid 19 pandemic will impact the CARM project timelines and future deployment dates. The CBSA understands that precise timelines are critical for business planning of system and process changes. At this time, we can confirm that the CARM solution will not deploy in Summer 2021, as previously estimated. Project plans are being reviewed, however, given the current environment, it will require some time for the CARM project team to provide future deployment dates.

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.

The implementation of CARM is structured in a series of releases (deployment dates pending):

CARM Release1 will provide businesses with new tools to allow them to see their amounts owing and manage their accounts with the CBSA. It will include an online CARM Client Portal with self-service tools for invoicing and payments. If you are an importer or broker that currently interacts with the CBSA, plan to create your secure account in the CARM Client Portal, so you can take advantage of these tools and be ready for future releases.

CARM Release2 will introduce a new electronic commercial accounting declaration that will replace the current customs coding form (B3) and request for adjustment form (B2). As well, new features to the payment and billing processes will make it easier to make corrections and adjustments. CBSA will continue to offer the Release Prior to Payment Program (RPP). However, changes are being made so that importers will have to secure their commercial imports directly.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight

The Kaiyukan Aquarium is one of the
city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city whose name translates to "large hill" or "large slope"

  • This city was once the capital of its country.
  • Many of its historical monuments, buildings and tourist attractions were destroyed during World War II, many of which were rebuilt after the war.
  • Known as the “Nation’s Kitchen” and well known for delicious foods. The most famous food district is Dotonbori.
  • Known for its underground shopping malls, one of which has fossils from the Jurassic to Cretaceous periods in the walls.
  • Due to its strategic location, this city has become the economic centre of its country and a gateway for travellers and traders from all over the world.
  • Home to many archaeological ruins and graves of important people.
  • The first Universal Studios theme park outside of the United States was built here.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Design your packaging to suit your chosen mode of transport

When selecting packaging for your product, always consider the intended mode of transport and design your packaging to fully optimize your load capacity.

Can the packaging be confirmed to contain more weight, stack cartons higher or hold more units?

Always consider the dimensions of the shipping equipment (i.e. pallets, ocean container, truck trailer or aircraft) being used and know the limitations you must work within.

More efficient use of packaging will help to reduce your freight costs.

At Your Service:Client Relations Team

With over 100 years of collective industry experience, our knowledgeable team of Client Relations Representatives is here to serve our clients.

Mark Glionna – Vice President – Client Relations & Business Development John Leis – Director - Client Relations Brenda Munroe – Client Relations
Mark Glionna – Vice President – Client Relations &
Business Development
John Leis – Director
– Client Relations

Brenda Munroe –
Client Relations

Grace Barnard – Client Relations Kathleen Pope –  Client Relations Wendy Nigro –  Client Relations
Grace Barnard –
Client Relations
Kathleen Pope –
Client Relations

Wendy Nigro –
Client Relations

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, this team of highly dedicated, experienced professionals has worked tirelessly to answer questions, offer insights and ensure that our clients continue to receive the premium service they have come to know and expect from Universal.

Navigating this, the most challenging time our industry has ever faced, can be daunting. If you have questions or are simply unsure as to where to turn, look no further. Our Client Relations Team is always available to offer clarity and to point you in the right direction!

For more information, contact John Leis, Director – Client Relations.

May 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. 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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