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October 2020

News and Views for the clients of Universal Logistics

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Electronic Bill Payment Service

Electronic Bill Payment

Universal Logistics is now registered on the Electronic Bill Payment service for the following Canadian banks:

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Bank of Nova Scotiabank (BNS)
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)

As an alternative method to paying Universal by cheque, if you have online banking services with your bank, you will now be able to set Universal up as a Payee and make online payments.  This service can only be used for Canadian dollar payments.

For more information, please contact your Client Relations Representative or Rita Yau, Collections Specialist.

Equipment shortages driving record rates & supply chain chaos


A shortage of equipment, especially in 40’ containers, is causing chaos in supply chains around the world, continuing to drive up ocean freight rates already at record levels.  This situation is hitting the China, Vietnam and Indian subcontinent trade lanes particularly hard, furthered by the increase in traffic flow out of Asia to North America and Europe.

There are no signs of this being resolved any time soon which poses a big challenge for ocean carriers, freight forwarders and shippers alike.  The combination of this year’s e-commerce boom, a sustained peak season and Golden Week will keep demand high and capacity scarce all the way through the first quarter of 2021.

The immense volume increases over the past five months, in the midst of the pandemic, as well as continued strong demand has vessels to the US west coast fully booked.  This has resulted in ocean carriers reinstating “blanked sailings” and “container rollovers” at leading Asian ports and ensures they will continue to roll out additional General Rate Increases (GRIs).

Compounding problems in the U.S. is a serious shortage of trucks, chassis and drivers at the major port facilities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York/New Jersey which is causing significant delays.  As a result, many drayage carriers have implemented a congestion surcharge.

LCL shipments have also been impacted, as many end up waiting a few weeks from arrival at the port until delivery to the unloading warehouse due to longer than normal container de-vanning times and local deliveries.

While shipments from Asia to Canadian west coast ports are experiencing some of the same issues at origin as US bound freight, it is not to the same degree.  In addition, Canadian west coast ports are in a much better position and not experiencing delays caused by the extensive congestion and chassis shortages US ports are facing.

Supply chain disruptions will continue into the first quarter of 2021.  The best option is for importers to allow additional time for shipping orders and book shipments as far in advance as possible to minimize potential delays and allow the best chance of securing space on the first available vessel departure.

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

Canadian Export Requirements Update

Export container

As reported in the May edition of Route, the electronic export reporting system CAED (Customs Automated Export Declarations) has been decommissioned as of September 30, 2020, and replaced by the Canadian Exporting Reporting System (CERS).

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 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Statistics Canada and select Trade Chain Partners, including exporters and service providers.  As early adaptors of this CBSA initiative, Universal has been fully operational from the onset of the program launch and are very adept at reporting 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.

US-China tariff exclusions due to expire

Hundreds of previously granted China tariff exclusions are set to expire December 31, 2020, at which point, unless extended, the specified goods will become subject to the additional US tariffs beginning January 1, 2021.

On January 15, 2020, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the U.S. had signed an Economic and Trade Agreement (informally known as a Phase One agreement) with China.

In good faith of the deal, the U.S. advised in December 2019 that additional tariffs scheduled to become effective December 15, 2019 were not being implemented, but tariffs imposed on $250 Billion of China origin goods (known as List 1, 2 and 3) would remain in effect at 25%.  The remaining tariffs ($120 Billion) are currently subject to tariffs of either 7.5% or 15% (referred to as List 4A).

According to statistics compiled by the Peterson Institute of Economics through September 2020, China’s year-to-date total imports of covered products from the United States were $65.9 billion, compared with a prorated year-to-date target of $124.9 billion.  Over the same period, US exports to China of covered products were $58.8 billion, compared with a year-to-date target of $109.0 billion.  Through the first nine months of 2020, China’s purchases of all covered products were thus only at 54 percent (US exports) or 53 percent (Chinese imports) of their year-to-date targets.

Updates will be provided as information becomes available. Full information on the China Tariff actions and exclusions may be found here.

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

Canadian trade deficit narrowed as both imports & exports fell

The month of August saw Canada’s merchandise trade deficit narrow to $2.4 billion as both exports and imports trended lower following double-digit percentage gains in June and July.  Recovery halted slightly in August with what was looking to be a v-shaped rebound.  Analysts say that we should expect a subsequent slower rebound after the initial improvement from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown lows.

In terms of volume, imports were down 0.5 per cent in August, while export volumes were down 1.4 per cent.  Compared with February, pre-pandemic, imports were down 5.1 per cent and exports were down 7.0 per cent.

Economists feel that this information is consistent with their view that as the economy enters the recuperation stage, activity will moderate.

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

Global Spotlight Quiz
Global Spotlight
The tallest building in this city is the Aspire Tower, also known as the Torch Hotel.

Global Spotlight Quiz

Name the city whose tallest building is Aspire Tower

  • This city was founded in the 1820s.
  • Local nicknames for this city range from “City of Sports” to “Sandpit” due to its very high temperatures.
  • It is its country’s capital and 99% of the population lives here.
  • This city was once a sleepy pearling and fishing village.
  • The city’s airport is considered one of the world’s best.
  • The Corniche, a 4-mile waterfront promenade with breathtaking water views, is a popular spot to explore some of the city’s landmarks on foot.
  • Souq Waqif (Souq means “market.”) in the city centre has been the heart of the city for years and offers spices, handicrafts, and textiles.

See the answer

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

Quick Tip

Quick Tip

Maximize your load capacity by taking into account conveyance details and equipment specifications

Familiarize yourself with the specifications of:

  • Ocean freight container sizes, specialized equipment & dimensions
  • Airfreight container types ( U.L.D.s) and dimensions
  • Truck types and specialized equipment, lengths & dimensions
  • Pallet types, sizes and dimensions

Reduce your freight costs by taking advantage of loading the maximum allowable product in your chosen mode of transport.

Lesley Elmer, Customs Operations - Fort Erie
Lesley Elmer, Customs Operations Fort Erie

At Your Service:  Lesley Elmer, Customs Operations Fort Erie

Lesley Elmer joined Universal Logistics in October 2018, working at our Fort Erie office location.  She is a valued member of our Customs Operations team and routinely goes above and beyond to ensure client satisfaction.

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

Lesley can be reached by phone (905) 871-0220, ext. 2203 or by email.

October 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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