Category Archives: Industry News

Canada Infrastructure Bank announced $300 million in financing for Port of Montreal’s new container terminal in Contrecoeur.

Canada Infrastructure Bank announced it is committing up to $300 million in financing to the Port of Montreal’s project to build a new container terminal in Contrecoeur.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank’s (CIB) financing demonstrates significant support for the expansion of the largest port in Eastern Canada, which must expand its activities to fully participate in national economic growth. This project will enable the port to meet the needs of the market in the coming decades.

Read full text.

Inflatable dunnage reduces freight damage

Protecting truck freight from damage during transit is critical to supply chains.  Each year, money and merchandise are lost because of failures in preventing shifting, colliding and breaking up of freight during transit.  

To address these concerns, the industry has typically turned to a variety of dunnage materials and methods including plywood, matting, strapping and load bars to stabilize and secure truck loads during transportation. However, some of these options can be problematic for shippers, and billions of dollars are still lost annually due to products damaged as a result of inadequate dunnage.

This is causing the industry to consider dunnage solutions to fill the empty spaces, such as advanced inflatable truck dunnage bags that can be inflated to precise pressure levels during the loading process, which better stabilize truck freight.  Designed for single trip use, air bags offer the advantage of being configurable and effective freight stabilizers for voids of up to 24 inches between pallets.  Air bag design has continued to advance with improvements that lower overall costs and improve performance for freight loaders and haulers. 

“The material used to make the bag and other subtle – yet important – design features can add considerable value to this type of dunnage,” says Mitch Tschantz, owner of Inflatable Packaging Incorporated (IPI), a Connecticut-based inflatable packaging and dunnage solutions provider founded in 1993.

The company, for example, has developed a transparent air bag solution for truck dunnage bags that is made of a fully recyclable polyethylene material.  Unlike woven, paper or vinyl materials, the dunnage bags are made of a transparent film, which gives the bags lower weight and handling advantages.  The film can stretch and expand (unlike inflatable air bladders with covers), which makes it adaptable at varying altitudes. 

Inspections are expedited because the material is clear, not opaque like other dunnage materials, which facilitates international shipments.  “With a bright light, inspectors can see through the material all the way to the bulkhead of the trailer to ensure there is no smuggled contraband or illegal border crossers,” explains Tschantz.

The polyethylene bags can be pre-positioned in the warehouse prior to loading, or in the trailer, using double-sided adhesive labels.  The inflation valve can be either at pallet top or bottom for easy inflation. For forklift operators, pre-attaching bags to pallets in the warehouse can expedite the loading process by 25-30%.

The surface of the polymer bags is also treated with a charge of electricity so it clings to the stretch-film used to stabilize goods on pallets.  Other types of bags, including those with paper covers, are known to migrate out of position as a result of bouncing and shifting during transit.

“Truck dunnage has advanced well beyond simply filling voids inside boxes and between pallets,” concludes Tschantz. “Smart design and customized solutions are improving efficiencies, better protecting goods, and reducing costs in supply chains.”

CP to acquire Central Maine & Quebec Railway from FTAI

Canadian Pacific and Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC announced they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby CP will acquire the Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

CMQ owns 481 miles (774 kilometres) of rail lines primarily in Quebec and Maine. The end-to-end transaction will provide CP customers with seamless, safe and efficient access to ports at Searsport, Maine and to Saint John, New Brunswick, via Eastern Maine Railway Company (EMRY) and New Brunswick Southern Railway (NBSR), thereby preserving and enhancing competition.

“This strategic acquisition gives CP a true coast-to-coast network across Canada and an increased presence in the eastern U.S.,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “With additional port access, more dots on the map, and our proven precision scheduled railroading operating model we are confident this transaction will bring benefits to all stakeholders moving forward.”

As part of the transaction, FTAI will retain ownership of Katahdin Railcar Services (KRS), a tank car cleaning and repair facility, and the contract to operate at a 12-mile branch line at FTAI’s Long Ridge Energy Terminal in Monroe County, Ohio. FTAI intends to continue to develop and grow both the KRS and Long Ridge branch line businesses.

“We are excited about this transaction as it brings value to our shareholders, while ensuring that the CMQ continues to provide safe and reliable rail transportation options,” said Joe Adams, FTAI CEO.

The transaction is currently expected to close at the end of 2019 and remains subject to customary closing conditions. Over the coming weeks, CP, FTAI and other stakeholders will move towards closing.

CN Presents Update and 2019-2020 Winter Plan at Forwarder Breakfast meeting

On November 21, CN presented an update and a discussion of its Winter Plan to a group of forwarders in attendance at the Hilton Toronto Airport in Mississauga.

Present from CN were Aron Depasquale, Director International Sales, Dan Bresolin, Assistant Vice President, Intermodal-International, Russ Perdue, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Intermodal International, and Robert Bassett, Market Manager and Business Development, Intermodal.

The event focused on network capacity and winter plan operations. (Developments in CN’s labour situation with the conductors are discussed in a separate CIFFA bulletin item.)

Depasquale led the presentation, beginning with the four key pillars which form the basis of CN’s operating model for the coming winter and beyond. They are: Safety, Resilience, Recoverability and Partnering.

Winter brings particular challenges and CN is committed to putting safety ahead of all other considerations, Depasquale noted.

The tipping point in terms of difficult operating conditions is -25°C. Below that temperature, railway technologies – steel rail, steel wheels, and long compressed air brake systems – become more vulnerable to problems that can disrupt normal operations. Welded rails become less flexible, frozen gaskets leak air at brake hose couplings, ice crystals wear down wheel treads, air hoses freeze and air cannot move consistently through the full length of the compressed air system.

CN has embarked on an extensive capital program adding close to 140 miles of double track, and 14 new and longer sidings. As well, 205 new high horsepower locomotives are in place. The company expects to increase its double stack rail cars by 9% this year.

The network strategy in winter involves assembling a “senior-level winter cabinet” and additional senior staff running 7/24 at all RTC Centers for the winter, with procedures and guidelines in place for managing adverse operating conditions with the goal of maintaining network fluidity.

CN is working with Natural Resources Canada on cold weather testing.

The railway has converted 100 genset cars into air repeater cars to assist with distributed power.

Backup power generators are being deployed across key areas of the network to improve safety and prevent delays.

CN is also investing in automated car inspection portals alerting maintenance to defects.

Learn more here:

Redefining Railcar Inspections:

Access the PDF of the presentation here.


CIFFA participated in a recent webinar conducted by full-service law firm Wilson Vukelich, LLP, summarizing the recent changes to WSIB rates.

Earlier this year, CIFFA members received a Premium Rate Summary Statement from WSIB.

This statement indicated: members’ Current Rate, Premium Rate, NAICS Code and Subclass Description.

In CIFFA’s case, the association’s rate is projected to increase 296% above the current rate level.

It has been explained that the WSIB will change from their current experience rating program (NEER, CAD-7 and MAAP) to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is current used by the United States, Mexico, Statistics Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

The significance of this change is that the WSIB will move from its current 155 rate classification groups to 34 classes, or sub-classes, which will be updated every five years. Under this new system, the WSIB will be adjusting each employer’s premium rate over a rolling pro-rated six-year period, based on past experience ratings (most current three-year period represents 66.6% of the rating with 33.3% based on the previous three-year period.

The full list of NAICS classes and rates can be found at:

Once the business is properly classified, the second step is to assess how the individual claims history compares to the rest of the businesses within the same class. Individual premium rates will be based on:

1 – Insurable Earnings, 2 – Number of claims, and 3 – Claims cost.  

What remains unchanged is that businesses with more than one business activity will be classified according to the predominant activity of the business with the highest amount of insurable earnings.

If the WSIB have established that a business is carrying on distinct business activities that are recognized as separate classifications, it is imperative that:

  • separate payroll records be maintained,
  • the activity must not form an integrated operation with the employer’s other business activities,
  •  the business activity must be significant enough to warrant a separate payroll.

As mentioned above, each business has been assigned a starting point rate and projected premium rate based on previous rates, claims experience, size of business and NAICS classification.

In 2021, businesses will only be required to move up at most one risk band (5%). For those projecting a decrease, as there are no limits, the business would be moved to the indicated classification rating. In 2022, business that have yet to reach their projected premium rate will be moved up two risk bands above their 2021 rate (10%). In 2023 and thereafter, business will be affected by three risk bands (15%) until the projected rate level is reached.

It is important that businesses review their classification to ensure that they are properly positioned.

For additional information, employers can request an extended statement from WSIB that will provide details on how the individual premium rate was calculated, the adjustments made on your business claims experience and a breakdown of your claims costs.   

CIFFA Urges FEDS To Take Action On Potential Rail Strike

On November 5, 2019, CIFFA’s Executive Director Bruce Rodgers submitted the following letter to several federal Ministers, to strongly urge the Government of Canada to take any necessary action to keep the railroads operating should the current labour negotiations prove unsuccessful.

Dear Ministers,

We are writing to you today to provide input on the impending strike notice by CN Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), and to strongly urge the Government of Canada to take any necessary action to keep the railroads operating should the current labour negotiations prove unsuccessful.

Read full text.

CP presents network capacity update, winter plan at CP-CIFFA breakfast event

CP and CIFFA held a breakfast event October 30 at which the CP provided a multi-faceted presentation to update attendees about CP’s services and its Winter Contingency Plan.

CIFFA Executive Director Bruce Rodgers opened the session with a brief discussion of CIFFA’s mission, the benefits of membership, an overview of course offerings and of the association’s strategic initiatives. Public Affairs Manager Julia Kuzeljevich discussed CIFFA’s advocacy initiatives.

On hand from CP were Jordan Kajfasz, AVP International Intermodal and Automotive, Marie Wu, Director of Marketing and Pricing, and Val Kucherenko, Pricing and Marketing International, from the railway’s International Intermodal Team, and Rob Nichols, MD, from Domestic Intermodal.

The following is a summary of the presentation.

CIFFA Western Region Events Committee Presents Cheque to Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Congrats to CIFFA’s Western Region events team which generated $2100.00 from the July 11 Western golf tournament and gala dinner by selling 50/50 tickets.

On October 23, CIFFA Western Region chair Tiffany Vandenberghe, General Manager, Gillespie-Munro Inc., along with committee members Daniel Ramos and Jeff Haley (both with Rodair), presented a cheque for $2100.00 to Terra Paredes, Manager, Community Events and Engagement for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

The committee was given a tour at the Food Bank’s brand new warehouse/distribution centre in Burnaby.


L-R: Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director, CIFFA, Sally Richardson, OCF Inc., and Debbie McCloy, Bladder Cancer Canada.

VANCOUVER, September 27, 2019. — CIFFA is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Donna Letterio Leadership Award, Sally Richardson of Overseas Container Forwarding Inc. Richardson is the Executive Vice President of OCF Inc. and has been in this role since 2008.

Richardson received the award at CIFFA’s Western FCA gala dinner September 27, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was presented by CIFFA Executive Director Bruce Rodgers.

CIFFA introduced the annual Donna Letterio Leadership Award in December 2015. The award is granted annually in memory of former CIFFA President Donna Letterio, who passed away in August 2013. The award recognizes a woman in the global freight logistics sector who has demonstrated, as Donna did, professionalism, commitment, leadership and a passion for excellence in her career and in her life.

In addition to the award, Rodgers presented a cheque in Sally’s name in the amount of $1,000 to Debbie McCloy, Vancouver walk coordinator of Bladder Cancer Canada.

Richardson came to OCF as an exchange employee from OCF’s Australian agent on a 6-month stint in 1994. After several extensions of the exchange position, she

accepted a full-time position and quickly became part of OCF’s management team. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sally’s tenure with OCF.

A proficient trainer and a highly respected employee and industry associate, Richardson has been described by her colleagues as “a key part of OCF’s ongoing success and a credit to our industry.” She has a deep understanding of how to engage and motivate employees in order to reach company objectives.

Richardson has been responsible for international agency development, the implementation of systems and IT solutions, and the engagement and training of new talent promoting a motivating and supportive culture.

She was instrumental in developing the first dedicated direct LCL Consolidation service between Canada and Australia in the 1990s.

She also created a strategic partnership with Habitat for Humanity, contributing funds from every $100,000-plus LCL shipment handled in 2017-2018 towards simple, decent and affordable housing.

Richardson fundraises for and participates in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

She enjoys trying new things and one of her best memories is of kayaking for eight nights with ten other people in the wilderness of the Broken Islands, B.C., under very challenging conditions, a trip that served to Richardson as a reminder of what can be accomplished “when we all pull in the same direction.”

Hamilton Container Terminal services aim to change the game for container drop-off, pick-up, flexi-bag and fumigation

The Hamilton Container Terminal (HCT) opened for business in 2018, filling a critical need in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area transportation network. Since then, HCT has been steadily growing its business, adding new customers, partners and services.

Located at Pier 15, the new terminal has been improving delivery times and streamlining truck traffic within the GTHA, reducing the need to travel to Brampton or other depots to pick up or drop off containers. This new facility has been a game changer for customers throughout the western Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara regions, who are saving logistics time and money.

Based on its early success, HCT has expanded the range of services offered. These include drayage, container inspection, maintenance and repair. A new weigh scale was installed in the summer of 2018, and a new rail siding will be introduced as part of the port’s Westport Modernization project, providing better modal choice for terminal users.

HCT has also established relationships with major shipping lines and container leasing companies that set the stage for more handling and storage of loaded containers. Due to its location, HCT is an ideal terminal for cargo routed via Port of NY-NJ and Philadelphia serving Ontario importers and exporters. “HCT can offer a very cost competitive alternative in the region for loaded container storage, including special equipment.”

Areas where HCT sees a great deal of opportunity is in flexi-bag services as well as fumigation which is mandatory for all cargoes moving to Australia and New Zealand.

HCT has been CFIA-certified for fumigation.

For more information about the Hamilton Container Terminal, click here.

WayPay Acquired By Royal Bank Of Canada

One of CIFFA’s newest Associate Members, WayPay, has just completed an acquisition by RBC.  This acquisition further strengthens WayPay’s industry leading payments software and will continue to allow CIFFA members to save both time and money when making international payments.

CIFFA Members can continue to take advantage of WayPay’s strong value proposition and may connect their preferred bank account.

They do not need  to be customers of RBC to use WayPay.  You can read more about WayPay’s acquisition HERE. To learn more about WayPay click HERE.

Blockchain In Transport Alliance (BiTA) initiative to support modernizing the bill of lading for the future of transportation

The Blockchain In Transport Alliance (BiTA) has elected Richard Greening, Global Director of Technology for The DDC Group and its freight-focused division DDC FPO, to serve as Co-Chair of the alliance’s Bill Of Lading (BOL) Working Group.

The group was established by the standards development side of BiTA, referred to as “BiTA-S,” with the mission to create a modern definition of “bill of lading” and an associated data structure specification that can be leveraged across all transport modes for supply chain stakeholders. Its participants are made up of subject matter experts from BiTA-member companies representing trucking (LTL and TL), rail, sea and air.

Greening joins the BITA-S group with a combination of technical expertise and deep industry knowledge in logistics and supply chain.  With his original background in air freight, Greening has developed and deployed systems for freighter networks, freight forwarders, airside ground handling facilities and bonded warehouses.

Greening’s first matter of business to the elected position is to ensure the group hits its component milestones and is in a position to support all freight sectors.

“As we have been working through the attributes and relationships needed for this standard, it has been very enjoyable hearing examples of scenarios and potential challenges in other freight sectors and discussing what these could be in the future,” explained Greening. “We need to ensure we set a good example for other groups to follow.”