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May 2021

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Get ready for CARM – Register your business


In the March issue of Route we identified the 4 key aspects to registering for CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management).  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 once CARM Release 2 comes into effect (May/June 2022).

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…

1. Identify your company’s Business Account Manager(s) – BAM
2. Register your business in the CARM Client Portal
3. Delegate authority to your customs broker
4. Secure a Release of Goods Bond

Over the coming issues we will provide additional information on each of the 4 steps.  Today’s article focuses on registering your business in the CARM Client Portal.

In preparation for registering your company, internal identification of your BAM is the stepping stone to registering your account in the CARM Client Portal and must be determined before registration may occur, as the individual who registers the company automatically becomes the company’s BAM.

Here’s what you need to know to register your business…

  1. Log in to the CARM Client Portal.
  2. When you first log in to the CARM Client Portal (using either the Sign-In Partner or GCKey option), you will be prompted to create your personal profile.  See the How to create login credentials and a user account in the CARM Client Portal instructional video.
  3. After your profile creation, you will be greeted with the ‘First time setup’ page, from which two options will be available: ‘Request access to my employer’, or ‘Register my business’.
    CARM First Time Setup
  4. Upon clicking ‘Register my Business’, you will be greeted with the following screen that details the business linking requirements.CARM Client Portal

Very Important

You will need to provide your BN and RM account information and answer the following affinity questions:

  • Legal entity name of the business and full address information
  • Two of the following three transactional questions:
  • Recent transaction number and associated duties & taxes,
  • Last transaction payment amount to CBSA or;
  • Last Statement of Account balance

Note – If you currently have multiple RMs, simply select one of your accounts to validate in the portal

Your Statement of Account balances can be verified with CBSA by emailing

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.

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.

Global container shortage likely to last until 2022

Container Yard

International ocean freight rates remain at extremely high levels, driven by an imbalance of supply and demand.  The downturn in shipping volumes caused by COVID lockdowns in early 2020 was followed by a flood of containers, overwhelming the ability of the ports to move containers in and out.  The recent blockage of the Suez Canal has only added to the difficult situation of “maxed out” capacity and peak level demand.

Another key contributing factor is the shortage of equipment, with demand now outstripping the availability of containers.  Quite simply, the global supply chain does not have enough containers in the right places to handle this dramatic increase in cargo demand.

In early 2020, new container pricing shot up from $1,800 USD per CEU (a measure of the value of a container as a multiple of a 20’) to currently $3,500 USD per CEU.  While production has ramped up sharply, they aren’t being built fast enough to ease the capacity crunch.  Currently, there is only 2-3 weeks of supply on the ground and there is no indication from ocean carriers that they expect to see any improvement in supply any time soon.

Relief from container scarcity is not just about production. Other contributing factors are the massive numbers of containers held up due to port congestion and issues such as the accident in the Suez Canal.  This is causing an unusual situation at destination ports for Chinese cargo, where vessels, due to tight sailing schedules, are in such a hurry to turn around, they are being forced to leave empty containers behind when they return to China.

Recently, the United States’ Federal Maritime Commissioner (FMC) has begun to question China’s role in these box shortages.  Eighty per cent of the world’s containers are manufactured by three Chinese companies.  With the full restoration of Chinese manufacturing, the FMC finds it strange that the marine equipment segment is lagging so far behind.  They are concerned Chinese factories might not be increasing production in order to keep their newbuild container prices high.

Shippers are hoping a combination of a market flooded with an excess of new containers and a clearing of port logjams to make more containers available, will help bring freight rates down.  However, with the strength of the market, most ocean carriers don’t think these bottlenecks are going to evaporate quickly and it’s questionable whether the production of new containers will be increased sufficiently to meet current demand.

The container crunch will most likely continue until trade slows and no one knows exactly when that is going to be – expectations are no sooner than the end of this year or early next year, when perhaps the trade world starts to get back to normal shipping volumes.

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

Los Angeles port update

LA Port

The flood of imports into the Port of Los Angeles is relentless.  Records were set in March 2021, and volumes are expected to remain at peak levels, with container ships to remain stuck at anchor, awaiting berthing until June.  Los Angeles handled 957,599 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March, up 113% year on year, the highest March number in the port’s history.  Loaded inbound containers totaled 490,115 TEUs, up 122% year on year, the highest monthly import tally since October. Loaded outbound containers totaled 122,899 TEUS, up 1% year on year. Outbound empty containers totaled 344,585 TEUs, up 219% year on year.

There have been a lot of headlines about the “parking lot” of container ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, awaiting berths in Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Recent average time at anchor was still eight days, which is higher than the seven to seven and a half day anchorage times reported in January and February.  Daily anchorage counts from the Marine Exchange of Southern California show that the year-to-date average is 29.6 ships at anchorage per day.

The madness continues with the empties, referring to outbound empty container volumes loaded on ships in Los Angeles in March.  That month saw the highest-ever number of empties loaded on ships in Los Angeles.  The four-to-one gap between empty export containers and full export containers is the highest gap we have seen in recent times.  It’s quicker for ocean carriers to get the empties onto the ships and to the next point of origin in Asia to recycle them and have them come back as imports, than it would be for the additional transit time to reach U.S. exporters here and then deliver exports to Asia consignees on the other side of the Pacific.  Carriers are trying to cut down the transit time and catch up on the massive orders for imports and the next round to come to the U.S..

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
Wawel Royal Castle

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city that is home to Wawel Royal Castle

  • Has its own traditional, five-note anthem, St. Mary’s Trumpet Call.
  • One of Earth’s chakras that emanates intensive power is believed to be located under St. Gereon’s chapel.
  • It is forbidden to feed pigeons in this city.
  • The entire Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Main Market Square was established in the 13th Century and covers 40,000 square kilometers above ground and more below.
  • Steven Spielberg movie Schindler’s List was shot in this city.
  • The city hosted World Youth Day in July 2016.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Double check your insurance coverage

Don’t make the mistake of assuming your insurance coverage covers everything you ship.  For example, if you insure books on a regular basis, but have a one-time shipment of picture frames, your standard coverage may not apply (breakage of glass may be excluded).  Always confirm coverage before you ship.

Vincent Kwong, Team Leader – Ocean Services
Vincent Kwong,
Team Leader – Ocean Services

At Your Service: Vincent Kwong, Team Leader – Ocean Services

Vincent Kwong joined our Ocean Services team at Head Office in 2018, where his initial focus was coordinating ocean imports.  Over time, Vincent’s role has expanded to the point where he has provided support on ocean exports, airfreight and to our U.S. Freight team, gaining valuable insight into many facets of cargo movement.

As a result of this vast experience, Vincent has proven to be an extremely valuable resource for all of our clients’ various needs and, in April 2021, Vincent was promoted to the position of Team Leader – Ocean Services.

Vincent can be reached by phone (905) 882-4880, ext. 1201 or by email.

May 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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