Category Archives: The Forwarder Online Article

Letter to Minister of Public Safety-Commitment to Essential Services during global pandemic requires swift action on POM strike

August 20, 2020.

Att. Hon. Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness,

Dear Minister Blair,

CIFFA has recently written to the federal labour minister, The Hon. Filomena Tassi, with regard to the strike situation at Canada’s second largest port, the Port of Montreal, between the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) and its longshoremen and checkers’ unions .

This action, ongoing now for several weeks, has a direct and significant impact to the Canadian economy and for the workers in many Canadian industries and CIFFA is seized by the lack of concrete resolution on this issue by the federal government.

As we indicated to Minister Tassi, this is not a normal year, where government officials can stand back and have “faith in the collective bargaining process”. This has been an outstanding issue since October 2018 and cannot be allowed to fester any longer.

First and foremost, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the deepest economic downturn of our lifetimes. Trade in Canada has plummeted, while unemployment figures increase. Trade has been severely disrupted and a key challenge for government officials will be to lay the foundation for a strong, sustainable and economic recovery.

On May 19, 2020, Public Safety Canada issued a guidance document on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Canada’s National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure is defined as “the processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets, and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government. Ten sectors were identified, including Transportation.    

Essential transportation workers are defined as workers supporting or enabling transportation functions in any transportation mode (i.e. road, air, rail, marine), in support of the continues essential movement of goods and people, in circumstances where non-essential travel is restricted. For greater clarity, this includes but is not limited to:

  • Maritime transportation workers, including those in the commercial shipping sector who ensure the continuity of operations and the fluidity of commercial shipping, such as vessel crew, port workers, mariners, equipment operators, longshoremen, sailors, marine pilots, marine agents, representatives of foreign ship owners, maintenance workers, tug captains and others.

It must be stressed that we have not yet emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the issuance of policy and guidance around Essential Services and Functions must not be put aside at this time in order to let a labour situation remain at an impasse and hold multiple industry supply chains hostage, cause undue delays and stress to the supply chain and continue to cripple the economy. We are aware today that the situation has even devolved into ridiculous scenarios of determining which container contents contain “essential goods” or not, before they are moved or left.

At this time, holding supply chains hostage, causing undue stress on industries, creating new costs via diversions and surcharges, and frustrating the end consumers of goods, not to mention crippling Canada economically and its reputation as a trading nation, is untenable.

We wish to highlight your commitment to defining and honouring essential services, workers and processes and we ask you to bring this untenable strike situation to a swift conclusion.


Bruce Rodgers            Executive Director, CIFFA

Julia Kuzeljevich          Public Affairs Manager, CIFFA

The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) represents some 260 regular member firms from the largest of global multi-national freight forwarding firms to small and medium sized Canadian companies. CIFFA member companies employ tens of thousands of highly skilled international trade and transportation specialists. As a vital component of Canada’s global supply chain, member firms of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) facilitate the movement of goods around the world. Freight forwarders provide a vital link in Canada’s global supply chains, enhancing export capabilities and assisting in the delivery of competitive solutions to Canada’s importing and exporting communities.

CC:  The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

The Honorable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Labour

The Honorable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Mr. Francois Legault
Premier of Quebec
(via form e-mail)

Mr. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
(via form e-mail)

View PDF copy of letter

CIFFA Letter to Federal Minister of Labour seeks swift resolution to Port of Montreal labour dispute

August 12, 2020.

Att. The Honorable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Labour

Re: Strike at the Port of Montreal

Dear Minister Tassi,

We find ourselves writing to you once again, with regard to the deteriorating labour conditions at Canada’s second largest port, the Port of Montreal, between the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) and the Longshoremen’s Union CUPE Local 375. As previously mentioned, this action has a direct and significant impact to the Canadian economy and for the workers in many Canadian Industries.

We were seized by your recent comments made in the Montreal Gazette, on August 10, 2020. You stated that “Our government understands the importance of the Port of Montreal and its workers to the Canadian economy’. My colleague, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and I have reached out to both parties to convey our expectation that they focus their efforts on reaching an agreement and avoid further disruption. It is in reaching a negotiated agreement that normal functions can return at the Port, and anything that delays the bargaining process is disappointing and harmful to both the local and national economies.”

This is not a normal year, where government officials can stand back and have “faith in the collective bargaining process”. This has been an outstanding issue since October 2018 and cannot be allowed to fester any longer.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the deepest economic downturn of our lifetimes. Trade in Canada has plummeted, while unemployment figures increase. Trade has been severely disrupted and a key challenge for government officials will be to lay the foundation for a strong, sustainable and economic recovery.

As the Minister of Labour, we urge you to assist in bringing negotiations to a successful and rapid conclusion, whether through mediation, binding arbitration or any other means available. Canadians must have certainty in our international marine transportation and in the labour forces at our ports.


Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director, CIFFA

Julia Kuzeljevich, Public Affairs Manager, CIFFA

Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA)

The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) represents some 260 regular member firms from the largest of global multi-national freight forwarding firms to small and medium sized Canadian companies. CIFFA member companies employ tens of thousands of highly skilled international trade and transportation specialists. As a vital component of Canada’s global supply chain, CIFFA member companies orchestrate the movement of goods around the world. International freight forwarders are the foremost experts in cargo transportation solutions and an essential partner in advancing the Canadian economy and the economic prosperity of Canadians.

C.C. The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

The Honorable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Mr. Francois Legault
Premier of Quebec (via form e-mail)

Mr. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario (via form e-mail

Download PDF copy of Letter

Modal Update April 2020-Marine and Truck

Modal Update April 2020-Marine and Truck

  • The CBSA is making progress towards the expanded use of email and fax in lieu of paper submissions of commercial documentation. The first wave of ports to offer email service will be Vancouver, Toronto, Windsor, Montreal and Halifax. Additional offices will come online shortly. Commercial clients are encouraged to communicate with their local CBSA office to determine their state of readiness and the best method currently available. Clients need to obtain confirmation from the local office prior to sending documents by email.
  • April 1: Seaway Opens Montreal/Lake Ontario Section

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation opened its Montreal/Lake Ontario section on March 31, eight days after the opening of the Welland Canal section.

Press release from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

  • April 2: Reliability to Suffer as Void Sailings Multiply

Drewry expects additional blank sailings and service suspensions to be announced as carriers attempt to manage the downturn in box volumes resulting from economic shutdowns as governments attempt to limit COVID-19 deaths.

Article from Lloyd’s Loading List

  • April 4: Defuse the Shipping Sector ‘Timebomb’ – Lift Travel Restrictions on Seafarers: ICS

In a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, ports around the world continue to restrict when crew can disembark, while the collapse in passenger flights has drastically reduced the options for repatriating seafarers, preventing the normal frequency of crew changes.

Article from The Loadstar

  • April 22: Box Carriers ‘Turning a Deaf Ear’ to Calls to Cancel Bunker Surcharges as Oil Price Slumps

With oil prices plunging to less than $20 per barrel, ocean carriers are coming under increased pressure to cancel their bunker surcharges and introduce negative bunker adjustment factors (BAFs) across their networks.

Article from The Loadstar


  • In an effort to reduce document handling at primary inspection lines (PIL) during COVID-19, and as a measure of safety for all, the CBSA urges all carriers who are not already signed up for electronic notices to do so as soon as possible. Receipt of these electronic notices will eliminate the need for a driver/carrier to receive a stamped copy of the lead sheet at PIL. You can sign up at
  • April 6: ‘Empty miles’ racked up by truckers putting pressure on vital Canadian industry

Due to the shutting down of non-essential businesses across the country because of COVID-19 restrictions, truckers are racking up more and more “empty miles” – driving empty trailers that generate little or no revenue.

A few weeks ago, many trucking routes would have seen drivers haul essential goods on one leg of the journey but non-essential items, such as auto parts, snowmobiles or bathroom fixtures, on the other leg. No more.

Article from The Globe and Mail

  • April 18: U.S., Canada Extend Border Closure for 30 Days, Trudeau Says

The agreement between Canada and the U.S. to close the border to non-essential travelers, initiated in March, was extended to May 20. Essential goods and services continue to be able to move between the two countries.

Article from BNN Bloomberg

  • April 23: Mullen Group lays off 1,000 as pandemic slows economy

Trucking, logistics and oilfield services firm Mullen Group Ltd. says it has temporarily laid off about 1,000 people because of the impact of measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Article from Inside Logistics

  • April 24: Coalition of Trucking Interests Unified in Financial Asks from Ottawa

A group representing all interests involved in the trucking industry, including drivers, carriers and labour, is asking Ottawa to assist drivers and trucking companies who are struggling to operate through COVID-19.

Press release from Canadian Trucking Alliance

  • April 25: Many Canadian trucking companies need help

As a plunge in freight volumes and rates take a toll, Canada’s trucking industry seeks relief on payroll taxes to hold on to precious cash.

Article from FreightWaves

Modal Update April 2020-Air and Rail

In the Airfreight Sector this April:

  • The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration gave airlines the green light to carry cargo in the passenger cabin to maximize efficiency and relaxing takeoff and landing quotas at congested airports. The agency issued guidelines in April for commercial carriers to follow if they transport cargo in stowage bins, passenger seats or on the floor, with the seats removed. The safety alert told carriers they could carry shipments up top as long as they adhered to all regulatory requirements for the safe carriage of cargo. Passenger cabins are not designed for all-cargo configurations, but the rules allow goods to be carried there if all normal requirements for the safe carriage of cargo are followed. The FAA also recommended that one or more crew members travel in the cabin with the cargo to respond to any potential fire, since fire suppression systems are not present as they are in the cargo hold of modern widebody aircraft. Passenger cabins only have fire extinguishers.
  • IATA webinar provides update on “Keeping Cargo Flying”

IATA held a webinar April 28 on Keeping Air Cargo Flying, moderated by David Brennan, Assistant Director, Cargo Safety & Standards. Safety remains the highest priority for aviation, and one of the key planks to safety is training. Many countries have issued exemptions or extensions to the validity of dangerous goods training. Companies should still make sure staff are keeping up with what they need to do. Reporting and investigation processes need to be kept going, especially in light of incidences such as increases in undeclared dangerous goods (i.e. alcohol-based hand sanitizer)

Glyn Hughes – IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, this year, revenues will decline 55%, or $314 billion. Some 4.5 million flights have been cancelled, resulting in 45% of belly hold space being removed. Brennan said that a number of states are exploring the next phase of a mixed cabin environment. Movement to cargo only flights must be in a controlled environment. Guidelines are being developed on how to move cargo in these configured aircrafts. Absolutely no dangerous goods will be transported in the cabin. All dangerous goods must be placed in the belly hold. A robust safety risk assessment must be done for cargo in the cabin without passengers and also in a combi situation.

Gordon Wright, IATA Head, Cargo Border Management, said IATA has worked to reduce aircraft landing and parking fees. Financial measures are being put in place by governments to support the airline industry. IATA is also advocating for cargo flights to be exempt from state transport and cargo crew restrictions and is seeking WCO Guidance on Medical Devices classification. Other speakers on the webinar included Andrea Gruber – IATA Head, Special Cargo, Ariaen Zimmerman- IATA Executive Director, Cargo IQ, and Henk Mulder – IATA Head, Digital Cargo.

  • In today’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, private-sector aircraft of all types are being repurposed, converted and enlisted like never before because the need for humanitarian aid and speed is so high. The most dramatic trend in the past two months has been the use of passenger aircraft exclusively to move cargo, first as on-demand charters and then on regular, scheduled routes. There is a lot of wasted space when a passenger plane flies without passengers, but the aircraft are desperately needed because passenger networks, which carried about 50% of the world’s air cargo, have virtually shut down across much of the world due to stay-at-home orders and travel bans. Airlines have started to put cargo in the passenger cabin, including on seats, and are beginning to remove seats from aircraft to make way for more cargo. Air Canada, which was one of the first to retrofit passenger planes to carry more cargo, has started special cargo flights with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner four times per week between Toronto and Los Angeles. It has also added cargo-only flights to Amsterdam; Copenhagen, Denmark; Frankfurt, Germany (three extra above existing weekly schedule); Mexico City; and Tel Aviv.

IATA’s Air Cargo Market Analysis for March 2020 was released April 28, 2020

  • Industry-wide cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs) contracted by 15.2% year-on-year in March, driven by sharply weaker demand across all regions as the COVID-19 outbreak extended to become a global pandemic.
  • Industry-wide cargo capacity declined by 22.7% annually due to the reduction in bellyhold capacity, as the passenger fleet were increasingly grounded. Dedicated freighter operations raised their capacity and some passenger aircraft shifted to cargo-only operations which partly offset this decline. With capacity contracting by more than demand, the global cargo load factor improved by 4.8 ppts in March, compared with the same period a year ago.
  • International CTKs in all regions, except for Africa, posted double-digit declines.

Intense demand for medical equipment to fight the coronavirus is continuing to send the cost of chartered flights skyrocketing.

  • Bloomberg News reported in March that a typically humdrum process of hiring a plane had turned into an “absolutely crazy,” ultra-competitive auction. Since then, conditions have become even more intense. An article from the American Journal of Transportation reported that the going market rate for charters was a multiple of at least two to three times their regular price and can be four or five times higher for extremely high-demand destinations.

In the Rail Sector this April:

Railways confronting a tough year ahead as volumes drop amid looming recession

  • North American rail volume for the week ending April 25, 2020, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 279,228 carloads, down 26.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 305,522 intermodal units, down 13.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 584,750 carloads and intermodal units, down 20.2 percent. North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2020 was 10,821,127 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.2 percent compared with 2019.
  • Canadian railroads reported 71,689 carloads for the week, down 19.7 percent, and 69,898 intermodal units, down 2.4 percent compared with the same week in 2019. For the first 17 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,394,855 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.2 percent.
  • Automotive shipments and container traffic have been hit particularly hard after North American and Asian production hubs went into lockdown due to the virus.
  • Year over year, auto and container volumes decreased by more than 15 and 12 per cent respectively in March, with container traffic seeing its steepest plunge since 2009.

On April 3, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced measures to improve rail safety in Canada and reduce train derailments through three different Ministerial Orders directed to railway companies.

The new Ministerial Order requires speed restrictions for key trains and higher-risk key trains:

  • Key trains have one or more loaded tank cars of dangerous goods that are toxic by inhalation; or contain 20 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods.
  • Higher-risk key trains carry crude oil or liquefied petroleum gases in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars dispersed throughout the train.
  • Following measures first put in place on February 16, 2020, in response to the derailments of trains carrying crude oil that occurred earlier this winter, the first Ministerial Order requires railway companies to maintain lower speeds in metropolitan areas for trains carrying large quantities of crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas i.e. higher risk key trains with further mandatory speed reductions everywhere during the winter months (from November 15 to March 15).
  • In addition to the speed restrictions, this Order also directs companies to address the management of their track maintenance and inspection.
  • The second and third Ministerial Orders were issued to direct railway companies to update the current industry rules governing track safety, and the movement of dangerous goods in Canada. These Orders will ensure these measures to reduce train speeds and improve maintenance and inspection practices become a permanent part of safer railway operations in Canada.
  • The three new Ministerial Orders remain in place until permanent rule changes are approved.

Container imbalances and COVID-19: Freight forwarders’ role in finding solutions to the problems of today

As this latest document from FIATA notes, the issue of container imbalances in the maritime supply chain is not a new industry issue, driven by various developments over the past decade.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue is reaching a tipping point, with port and terminal congestion, abandoned cargo, and container shortages. This has serious impacts on the fluidity of global maritime supply chains, at a time when the timely flow of essential goods is ever more crucial. In the face of these new challenges, this is the time for international freight forwarders, with their crucial know-how and experience, to demonstrate their ability to find the right solutions to address these new issues and keep goods flowing, despite this unprecedented crisis.

Marsh examines evolving implications of insurance and risk management

Marsh and Marsh & McLennan have released a report, COVID-19: Evolving Insurance and Risk Management Implications

Given the far-reaching business impacts of measures already taken to control the spread of the virus, many companies are looking to their insurance policies for potential responses to the ongoing financial loss. The pandemic will raise many issues for insureds and insurers, and organizations should work closely with their advisors and counsel to work through them. COVID-19: Evolving Insurance and Risk Management Implications provides an overview of some key coverage, claims, and risk management areas that are currently top of mind for businesses and insurers.

CUSMA implementation slated for July 1

By Kim Biggar 

Canada, Mexico and the United States have each ratified the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)—as it’s known in Canada (USMCA in the U.S.)—and the deadline for implementation is looming. The agreement is scheduled to take effect on July 1, replacing the 26-year-old NAFTA. However, with the coronavirus pandemic having shut down businesses in all three countries and refocused governments on containing the virus and mitigating its economic impacts, there have been many calls, from both politicians and business executives, to delay the agreement’s entry into force.  

Despite the uncertainty about timing, governments in the three countries are preparing for implementation, developing regulations to lay out how they will apply the new rules of the agreement. Until those regulations are in place, businesses cannot fully prepare for the changes they will face. However, they can certainly begin the process based on information in the agreement itself and tweak their preparations when the regulations are announced. 

A consultant on free trade agreements, import/export, supply chain optimization and related topics, Christian Sivière, President at Solimpex in Montreal, says the groups calling for the delay in implementation are largely involved in the auto and auto-parts industry.  

Companies in that sector face the most changes with the new agreement, in particular around the new, more-stringent rules of origin that will require more North American content in vehicles made on the continent. This is not surprising, says Sivière, since the move under NAFTA of much auto production to Mexico was President Trump’s “main motivation” for renegotiating the agreement. 

“In order to qualify for duty-free entry, regional value content (that is the amount of production that happens in North America) was increased from 62.5% to 75% (starting at 66%, to be increased over three years) for passenger vehicles,” say Inu Manak and Simon Lester, in their December 2019 article, “Evaluating the New USMCA.” Further, “there is an additional Buy America provision that requires producers to source 70% of the steel and aluminum used in their production to originate in North America.” 

In an April 1 article, “USMCA Implementation, What’s Next?” Adrienne Braumiller of Braumiller Law Group says, “One positive note is that in many cases, the rules of origin are more simplistic and originating status can be more easily met. Thus, many companies may determine that a higher number of goods will qualify under USMCA than did under NAFTA.” She continues to say, however, that “in other cases, such as with the automotive sector, the rules are more complex with various overlapping thresholds,” confirming Sivière’s assessment. 

The agreement, despite the many months of negotiation and browbeating that were part of the process to create it, turned out to be “not fundamentally different” from its predecessor, says Sivière. Apart from the changes for the auto industry, there will be “small changes for the textiles and chemicals industries,” he notes; most of the rest of the changes are not industry specific. 

A process change will see the certificate of origin required under NAFTA discontinued. Instead, an origin certification statement can be included “on any document,” according to Sivière. This change is in line with changes in other recent agreements, including CETA and CPTPP.  

While the origin certification statement might be included, for example, on an invoice, it must absolutely be present; compliance remains essential. Sivière foresees fewer shipments being held at the border due to missing certificates of origin, but likely more auditing “after the fact” to ensure compliance. 

Another change affecting many sectors will be the increase in the de minimis exemptions, of which there are two. The first, and most familiar, refers to the “thresholds under which low-value parcels can be imported duty/tax free.”1 Under CUSMA, Canada’s de minimis shipment-value levels will rise to C$150 for duties and C$40 for taxes. 

The second de minimis exemption, relating to the amount of non-originating material in a good, will also increase, from 7% to 10%. The same change was made in CETA and CPTPP. 

Revisions related to intellectual property, the sunset clause, legal terminology and so on are unlikely to have an impact on the day-to-day work of freight forwarders and logisticians, says Sivière. 

Customs Notice 20-14 – Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), published on April 3, 2020, provides information on the changes to the Customs Tariff that will occur as a result of the implementation of CUSMA and summarizes requirements to benefit from the agreement’s preferential rates of duty. The notice specifies that regulatory amendments and new regulations made under the Customs Act as a result of CUSMA’s implementation will be announced later, in another customs notice. 

CIFFA Announces Winner of Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year

Every year, CIFFA offers an award to a young freight forwarder who best demonstrates industry knowledge and skills to become a true international freight forwarding professional in the future.

In January, 2020, after a review process of industry experience and a written dissertation demonstrating technical knowledge, CIFFA announced Anastasia Gureeva as the 2020 Canadian Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award recipient.

Anastasia graduated from Voronezh State University, Russia with Master’s Degree in World Economy in 2011 and in 2013 from Liverpool John Moore’s University, the UK with an Honors Master’s Degree in International Transport.  It was at that time that she first became interested in ocean freight.  Her first experience and a taste of the freight forwarding industry was working as a logistics coordinator for a company that imported canned ice coffee beverages and bottled juices from Asia to Russia, closely communicating with various shipping agents, freight forwarders and steamship lines.  After graduating from Humber College in 2015 with an Honors Postgraduate Diploma in Global Business Management, she started her Canadian freight forwarding journey at Panalpina in the position of LCL Ocean Import Documentation and Coordination Agent.  Two years later she accepted the position of Freight Services Associate in Ocean Import department at Delmar Int., where, at the beginning of 2019, she was promoted to the position of Customer Relationship Manager.  In the summer of 2019, Anastasia accepted her current position of Ocean Import Coordinator at Traffic Tech.  Anastasia has expanded her knowledge of the freight forwarding industry by completing the CIFFA Advanced Certificate, the first step in achieving the Professional Freight Forwarder designation, and is a member of CIFFA’s newly established Young Freight Forwarder Committee.

Anastasia is also being considered a competitor for the FIATA Americas Regional competition.  She will have to complete a second dissertation (she has completed a dissertation on an export scenario and she will now do one on an import scenario).  If she wins, Anastasia will be invited to the FIATA World Congress in Busan, Republic of Korea to compete against all the regional winners. 

For more information on CIFFA’s Young Freight Forwarder of the Year award, visit

Dealing with the data: benefits and advantages of emerging solutions

By Ken Mark

Today, transportation and logistics professionals are all starting to realize that data, not products, have become the most important part of any shipment. Advanced IT systems such as digitization are emerging to help them monitor, measure and soon pay for 21st century supply chain transactions.

This article will provide an up-to-date overview of the systems involved, an introduction of the benefits and advantages of emerging solutions as well outline the major risks and shortcomings involved.  For the most part, the comments will come from current practitioners about their hopes and fears of the digital revolution that has shaken up all of our business and personal lives.

The major subjects include artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the Internet of things (IOT) etc. that will boost the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of global transportation and logistics systems and players.

Job One for the recently-launched, Amsterdam-based Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is to ensure that all current and future members sing from the same song sheet.

According to a recent Loadstar article, Thomas Bagge, its recently appointed inaugural CEO and statutory director stated, 

“Carriers may use the same vocabulary, but the meaning behind it is different – for example, defining a vessel arrival – and so is the data architecture. These differences are holding the lines back from benefiting from the new technology.

“We all use EDI at the moment, and that is relatively standardized. But each EDI connection is bespoke to the user and we are trying to sit down and go through all the events in a shipment to standardise them and build up a new API for our work.

“The second thing is to create an industry blueprint for container shipping – if we don’t define these events the same way, we are just confusing customers.” His aim was not to dismantle carriers’ legacy systems: “It’s up to the individual member to decide what to adopt, but our hope is that our work will allow carriers to eliminate a lot of differences as they progressively adopt the new standards.”

The DCSA is off to a great start. Its initial roster includes CMA CGM, Maersk, MSC and Hapag-Lloyd, which held the first DCSA meeting in April 2018. They were joined later by ONE and most recently Zim, Evergreen, Yang Ming and HMM.  Currently, the only deep-sea carrier outside this is Cosco/OOCL.

A recent McKinsey report outlined its views on how the future will unfold:

The pressure on traditional forwarders will surely increase as digitization continues its long march through the world economy. They must now consider their strategic choices carefully.

First, embracing digital technology in customer-facing and back-end processes is a no-regrets move for them. Second, they must place strategic bets on building or buying marketplaces or partnering with emerging digital platforms. But they should also emphasize the things they themselves excel at-offerings based on people and expertise, which are hard to turn into commodities. If these companies succeed in all this, they will continue to play a major role in the forwarding game. Otherwise, they may well face a future of constant and accelerating decline.

Here is one plausible scenario for 2030. By then, air-freight forwarders will automate their operations significantly, digitizing much of their business model. They will collaborate extensively with adjacent value-chain partners—for instance, providers of intermodal services.

3-D printing won’t have a major effect on air-freight cargo. The role of intermediaries will contract, and consolidation will threaten many smaller forwarders that struggle to digitize.

The more comprehensive digital forwarders will act as catalysts for the new technologies, but, increasingly, successful companies will be specialists, offering advanced data-based solutions. All surviving forwarders will be more digitized by 2025 than they are today. By 2030, they will likely be totally digitized. The better they leverage these technologies to reduce their internal costs and improve the customer experience, the better their chances of keeping or extending their share of the profits.


Blockchain technology is on everyone’s lips today. How will it affect existing logistics players and practices? Here is a brief outline of what may lay ahead.

Simply put, blockchain is a distributed digital ledger. Although multiple people can be given access to the data — or parts of it — they cannot change or delete information. One day, its data structure will form the basis of a digital data ledger whose contents can be shared across a network of independent parties. At its heart is the “smart contract” – a technology that seeks to replace traditional paper-based transactions requiring signatures.

Consumers now pay for many of their purchases by swiping their phones unlike years ago when the cashier filled out a credit card slip which you had to sign before getting an imprint on your card, yielding a receipt for both buyer and seller for record-keeping.

Besides simplifying transactions, blockchain also creates valuable business intelligence.

  • Improving Shipping Efficiency

Blockchain will enable users to track inventory to improving their capacity to track inventory more accurately. In 2018 Maersk and IBM announced their intention to form a joint venture to develop TradeLens that will use blockchain technology to replace today’s peer-to-peer and often unreliable and paper-based information exchanges with a digital platform to enable participants to digitally connect, share information and collaborate across the entire shipping supply chain ecosystem. 

  • Strengthening Inventory Tracking 

Why does inventory tracking receive so much attention in the business world? It’s because most companies have huge of amounts money tied up in it. So of course, it’s only normal to know where it resides at all times.

Blockchain technology enables businesses to monitor their products more efficiently even at micro levels. 

Several leading food retailers including Unilever, Nestle, Walmart and others have recently teamed up with IBM to deploy blockchain technology to track food shipments and their higher quality items. They will now be able to identify infected batches faster and more accurately and destroy them if needed. The new tools will help pinpoint which specific items, rather than the entire stock need to be destroyed. As well, such targeted alerts will protect consumers’ health. 

  • Boosting Transparency 

Besides improving supply chain transparency, blockchain can also help increase data integrity and credibility. Supply chain players are now focusing more attention on determining if business information they are receive is indeed accurate, trustworthy and reliable.

As a result, blockchain’s major contribution to this technology is to boost data transparency to helps build trust between companies. It will also boost B2B logistics’ visibility and credibility – the cornerstones of business relationships. More important, blockchain systems will help minimize invoice disputes, cut auditing costs and prevent the exploitation of ground-level workers. 

London-based Project Provenance Ltd. has conducted several case studies using blockchain systems to increase the transparency of global logistics. One of them involved helping an international brand that wanted to import coconuts from Indonesia to develope a system to ensure local farmers received fair compensation for their efforts. What’s more, the system also holds companies responsible for the validity of their claims so that consumers are better informed about the products they buy.

  • Modernizing Invoices and Payments 

Many companies find it hard to develop efficient and secure systems for invoicing and payments. Blockchain technology can create smart contracts that ensure efficient, transparent and error-free payments. For example, Tallysticks (an international trade solution) has built a blockchain-based platform to process invoicing and payments for logistics firms and other businesses. It uses smart contracts to approve a payment that corresponds to valid and accurate invoice.

As well, credit card giant Visa recently launched its blockchain-based Visa B2B Connect network on June 1. It will enable financial institutions to quickly and securely process high-value corporate cross-border payments globally. The launch covers more than 30 global trade corridors that will be expand to as many as 90 markets by year-end.

  • Settling Disputes

This remains a major challenge in cargo transportation, taking a heavy toll on companies which often requires them to seek external help to solve. FedEx together with Precision Software, a division of QAD Inc. has introduced a blockchain solution to settle customer disputes. In essence, the sender and receiver are informed about the process before pickup and after delivery. Before, if any dispute arose, the third party or better still, independent auditors were called in. Today, FedEx’s blockchain-based ledger on its own can settle the issue. In this way, blockchain can help establish integrity, reliability and transparency in supply chain business dealings.

TradeLens is an API (application program interface), a creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system that has been launched to help modernize the world’s supply chain ecosystems. Many transporting and trading goods processes are costly, in part, due to manual and paper-based systems. Replacing these peer-to-peer and often unreliable information exchanges, the platform enables participants to digitally connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain ecosystem. 

Says Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, A.P. Moller – Maersk: “The addition of more leading carriers to TradeLens will help global supply chain customers expand and explore the benefits of digitization and deliver new opportunities to the increasing number of TradeLens ecosystem participants across the global supply chain.

“As a neutral industry platform, it offers supply chain visibility, ease of documentation and the potential of introducing new products on top of the platform. These attributes bring new opportunities for the Maersk transformation towards becoming an end-to-end container logistics company improving the experience and services we offer to customers.”

Members of TradeLens gain a comprehensive view of their data and can collaborate as cargo moves around the world, helping create a transparent, secured, immutable record of transactions.


The Internet of Things, or IoT, is an evolving trend that is growing by leaps and bounds. Experts and forecasters anticipate the IoT market to and reach nearly 50 billion connected objects by 2020. Though the technology has not reached its full potential, its adoption rate continues to rise across industries. The logistics industry is embracing IoT heavily to streamline its business operations.

Delivery, the heart of logistics, can only get better by improving operational visibility to perform efficient and faster actions. IoT offers real-time fleet tracking that includes monitoring fuel costs, diagnostics and faster deliveries. Moreover, as a real-time system, it can also help logistics companies keep a check on their drivers’ performance and vehicles. It also increases safety and reduces inventory damages.

  • Predictive analytics

That will be a key to future growth in the logistics and transportation sector. It is not just about obtaining large amounts of data from multiple connected devices. The key is using that collected data to improve logistics practices This so called “big data” can help businesses discover better routes for their fleet and boost driver efficiency. Moreover, they can also identify inefficiencies which can be eliminated to improve business processes.

IoT has revolutionised the logistics industry by enabling users to track goods in real-time. For example, Amazon uses RFID tags to allow customers track their ordered goods from the time they send in an order until the time it arrives at their doorstep. These tags are embedded with an integrated circuit that transmits data to the users, which enables customers to track the location of their order without having to call customer service.

Predictive analytics can also help cut operation costs. They can help shippers create more precise staffing schedules to match anticipated consumer demand to reduce labour costs and improve related to overstaffing and understaffing.

  • Real-time tracking

IoT has quietly revolutionised the logistics industry by enabling users to track goods in real-time. For example, Amazon uses RFID tags to allow customers track their ordered goods from the time they make a purchase until it arrives at their doorstep. Embedded in the tags are integrated circuits that transmit data to users, enabling customers to track the location of their order without calling the customer service. The RFID Journal states that the IoT can increase stock-keeping accuracy up to 95 per cent.


Foreign Trade Zones

It has been nearly a century since the Foreign Trade Zone Act of 1934 was enacted, which established the first modern foreign trade zones (FTZ) in the United States. Born from the Great Depression these initial FTZs provided a duty exemption when foreign merchandise entered into them.

The concept of the foreign trade zone has evolved significantly since those initial days, and there are approximately 4,300 various types of zones worldwide today. In an era of international competition and globalization, countries around the world are eager to attract foreign direct investment and seize the potential of these foreign trade zones.

While there is no precise definition of what constitutes a foreign trade zone, the term generally refers to a specific location within a country that is officially designated for eligibility for tariff and tax exemption with respect to the purchase or importation of raw materials, components or finished goods.

The city of Montreal announced the creation of a new free trade zone (FTZ) in the city on July 22-the 13th such zone created by the Economic Development Agency of Canada.

The FTZ aims to enable manufacturers, processors, and producers to manufacture goods using imported inputs and only pay tax and excise duty on them if they enter the domestic market. Goods can be stored, processed, or assembled in the zones, and taxes and duties are avoided if the goods are exported, or must be paid if they enter the domestic market.

CIFFA held a Q&A with John Moccia, Director, Regulatory Affairs Canada, Livingston International, to shed light on the advantages of FTAs for the industry.

  • Why are FTZs helpful to your company/freight forwarders?

A FTZ may be helpful to freight forwarders by providing them with options that they can offer their clients to take advantage of potential duty and tax deferral opportunities. One such FTZ program is the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program – which allows for the deferral of duties and taxes until the goods enter the Canadian market place or if the goods are exported. No duties/taxes would be payable.

  • Which benefits are most attractive to freight forwarders? 

In general, the FTZ programs in Canada serve to remove trade barriers where tariffs (duties/taxes) are either removed, deferred or reduced. There are five main programs that can be leveraged and depending on the specific program conditions, imported commodities may be stored, processed and used in the manufacture of other products without the payment of any duties, bonds and licensing fees provided they are exported. Likewise, under the Exporters of Processing Services Program, imported foreign-owned goods for processing, distribution or storage are relieved of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when exported.

  • How are they helpful to the Canadian economy?

Canada has taken a unique approach to FTZs. Across the country, there exist Foreign Trade Zone Points created through public and private partnerships which offer a single-window approach to businesses. This not only eliminates the need to have to connect to multiple Government agencies and people but they also offer mentoring and support from industry experts. In addition, these FTZ Points provide access to various incentive type programs such as tax credits, grants, training incentives and additional Provincial and Federal incentive programs.

Currently, there are three main FTZ-like programs in Canada; the Duty Deferral Program, the Export Distribution Program, and the Exporters of Processing Services Program. Each of these programs offers key advantages and benefits for businesses such as upfront relief of duties and taxes, refunds of duties for exported goods and deferment of duties and taxes.

In the United States, foreign trade zones are secure areas under supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Foreign and domestic merchandise may be moved into zones for operations, assembly, manufacturing, and processing. While in the FTZ, merchandise is not subject to duty or excise tax until the merchandise enters the United States territory for domestic consumption.

  • What issues, if any, have you encountered with them?

Canada has implemented FTZ policies that are available nationally and while businesses may enjoy this benefit anywhere in Canada, this degree of flexibility becomes a double-edged sword since the lack of “designated” FTZs makes it more difficult to market and promote to businesses and prospective foreign investors who have traditionally viewed FTZ as a specific local area.

CARM: CBSA to streamline and automate business process

Interview with Lisa Anawati, CBSA Vice President of CARM

CIFFA: Over the past several months we’ve been hearing a lot about CARM. What does the term mean?

[Lisa] The acronym stands for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project. It’s a multi-year initiative that will modernize how the CBSA assesses commercial imported goods and manages revenue. Once fully implemented, CARM will streamline and automate business processes. It will also offer self-service tools through an on-line portal.

Our objective is to make importing into Canada more efficient for all Trade Chain Partners (TCPs). I am confident that through CARM our Agency will be recognized as a global leader in innovative customs services to the trade community.  

CIFFA: How will CARM make importing more efficient?

[Lisa] The CARM Client Portal will provide CBSA commercial clients with the ability to register and enrol in numerous CBSA programs online; access their account data and statements in real time; and make electronic payments. CARM will also enable electronic rulings and appeal requests. These new features will not impact the process of releasing imports, which will remain the same.

CIFFA: How is this project different than other Government of Canada projects that were either implemented much later than scheduled or were implemented prematurely with many problems?

[Lisa] The CBSA is committed to the success of CARM.

We have taken a close look at past projects and are very cognisant of the lessons learned. We are also committed to applying best practices. For example, since the launch of the project, my team has been actively engaged with stakeholders, both internal and external, to ensure we receive real-time feedback as we develop the solution. This is helping us address any unforeseen issues, and mitigate the risk of delays. With this collaborative, engaged approach I am very confident of delivering the project within scope and within timelines.

CIFFA: CARM will impact all TCPs, including importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders and carriers. How is the CBSA communicating the changes leading up to the implementation of CARM? 

[Lisa]  We have a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy in place for the overall project, as well as specifically for each Release. We will ensure that all impacted stakeholders are aware and prepared for the changes.

The project team is continuing to hold engagement activities – like webinars and open mic sessions – to inform TCPs of what they will need to do to onboard to CARM. For example, they will need to establish user accounts and manage the appropriate delegation of authority via the CARM Client Portal. This will allow their delegated employees or third parties to view, edit or submit information on their behalf.

We are also leveraging the CBSA website, Customs Notices, social media, and trade publications like this one. Last but not least, we are continuing to provide regular updates on CARM at trade association meetings.

I encourage members of the trade community to seek out information on CARM – check our website [] regularly, follow us on LinkedIn [], attend webinars, especially the upcoming tailored webinars – their schedule will be posted on our website.  

Associations such as CIFFA are a great source of information. Stay connected and participate in events that include CARM.  You can also send questions and share any concerns by emailing us directly.  Your active participation will ensure a seamless transition to CARM and help you take advantage of its many modern features.  

CIFFA: Thank you for your leadership on this transformative project. 

[Lisa] Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about CARM.

Demurrage And Detention In Container Shipping


In 2018, the FIATA Working Group Sea Transport produced a best practice guide to assist both FIATA National Associations and their individual Member freight forwarders.

Demurrage and detention charges, FIATA noted, are an important tool for shipping lines to ensure the efficient use of their container stock which represents a substantial investment. For shipping lines, it is essential to turn around their containers as fast as possible, consequently merchants who use containers for longer periods should be discouraged from this practice.

In principle, demurrage and detention tariffs have two main purposes:

  • Compensation to the shipping line for the use of its container.
  • Encouragement for the merchant to return the container as soon as possible for the shipping line to re-use it and have a fast turnaround.

It is an obligation for shipping lines to provide a reasonable free period to allow the merchant a realistic period of time for:

  • the loading and delivery of the container for an export.
  • the pick-up, unloading and return of the empty container for an import.

In lieu of intervention by regulatory authorities, the FIATA document aims to examine the current situation and outline best practices that could be implemented voluntarily by all parties moving cargo through ports.

These best practices may help reduce unnecessary supply chain costs and inefficient behaviour that lead to detention and demurrage charges.

Read full article.

The 2020 IMO Regs

The following article provides an overview of what’s happening leading up to the IMO 2020 regs on low sulphur fuel and the implications for global trade and for freight forwarders.

By Ken Mark

Everyone talks about improving the air we breathe. Now the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is doing something about it by reducing sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships. The limits have been tightened since 2005. But starting January 1, 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). While it will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and have major health and environmental benefits for the world, especially particularly for people living close to ports and coasts, it will increase the operating costs for ships since the price of bunker oil will increase, not to mention expenses related to updating engines and other related machinery as well as staff training to meet the new the new rules.

There is no simple answer on how the IMO’s decision will affect the shipping market. That will depend on basic issues including shipping demand for various products and commodities, what methods carriers choose to update equipment to meet the new acceptable lower sulphur dioxide levels and market price changes for the new, improved fuel which reflects the price of crude oil in a world facing political, economic and other challenges.

Here is a roundup of what global shipping executives, consultants, journalists and other experts are saying:

The main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions. Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.

Limiting SOemissions from ships will improve air quality and protects the environment.

IMO regulations to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005, under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention). Since then, the limits on sulphur oxides have been progressively tightened.

Beginning on 1 January 2020, all vessels worldwide must will be able to refuel using only fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 percent. On March 1, vessels will not be permitted to have on board any fuel with a high sulphur content. Only ships with exhaust gas cleaning systems will be exempt. To be compliant in time and to consume their remaining heavy fuel oil in time, shipping companies are making various changes which are both expensive and time-consuming.

Transitioning from fuel with a sulphur content of 3.5 percent to low-sulphur fuel oil will be a complex task. “It’s not about simply flipping a switch at the turn of the year, as every single ship will have to be closely examined to determine the best possible type of change depending on its design,” says Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd.

The challenge is that heavy and low-sulphur fuel oil are not always compatible. For example, if one simply refuelled with low-sulphur fuel oil, the two fuels could react with each other or worse, solidify. Consequently, fuel lines and filters would be clogged and the engine system would fail. So, before switching fuel types, the tanks must be cleaned and the pipes flushed. But in terms of time and – above all – money, it isn’t feasible to send every ship into dry dock to do so. 


Jeremy Nixon, chief executive officer of Ocean Network Express predicts that by January 1 next year, only around 6-7 percent of container ships would be fitted with scrubbers to avoid using the new, low-sulphur fuels which are expected to be to be available in third quarter 2019.

He also notes that this would increase bunker price volatility ahead of the implementation. With the difference in price between bunkers currently in use and the new fuels being introduced this might increase by as much as US$500 per tonne. He also says carriers would need to pass on all the additional costs on to shippers.


LNG bunkering – a solution to IMO 2020 problems?

Initially, the shipping trade press (and lawyers) initially looked somewhat pessimistically at LNG bunkering as a solution to the IMO 2020 deadline. First, they believed that high costs and technical difficulties would present a commercial barrier to industry-wide LNG bunkering being adopted. However, in the past year there has been an interesting series of world firsts for new-build and retro-fitted LNG-powered vessels in different sectors, including cruise ships, ferries and more general commercial carriers. For example, in March 2019 Maritime Executive reported on the retrofitting of the Sajir [a large German container ship built in 2014], which will be the first mega-container vessel to be converted to a dual-fuel system.

Various innovations are also underway, including Cryo Shipping’s conversion of platform supply vessels into LNG tankers for ship-to-ship supplies. They may help ease congestion at LNG bunker ports or provide supplies in areas that are not serviced by such ports. These reports – together with commitments from large owners (e.g., CMA CGM and MSC) – suggest that owners may become more receptive to LNG bunkering than expected. The world fleet of LNG-powered vessels has jumped from 118 vessels in 2017 to 143 vessels in 2019. As well, about 135 LNG-powered vessels are also on order.

Adopting LNG bunkering to meet IMO 2020 deadline or adopting other available options such as using low-sulphur fuel or installing scrubbers depends on various factors. Thus, owners may adopt different solutions even within their own fleets. That’s because there is no perfect solution. Owners must be sensitive to trading patterns and available infrastructure.

Using low-sulphur fuel leaves owners at the mercy of oil and freight volatility. Scrubber retrofits may not offer fully predictable outcomes such as new geographical restraints, including the ban on open loop scrubbers in Singapore, China and Fujairah, and the expected ban in the Norwegian fjords. The high cost of LNG retrofitting negates the value of doing so on vessels close to scrapping age or those operating without ready access to LNG bunkering ports. LNG bunkering makes more sense for owners ready to invest in new vessels or for retrofitting less elderly vessels that operate in areas such where LNG bunkering infrastructure currently exists, such as Northern Europe.

To comply with a mandatory restriction in sulfur oxide emissions, thousands of ships are being taken out of the market to be fitted with scrubbers to enable them to keep burning today’s cheaper fuel. The ships that don’t have them are expected to have to pay more fuel to meet the new standard.

“The main reason is that a rising number of vessels are going off-hire to retrofit scrubbers ahead of the January 1 deadline.” said Burak Cetinok, head of research at Arrow Shipbroking Group in London. “Basically, you’ve got strong export volumes on the one hand and restricted vessel supply on the other. This has been boosting the rates.”

Rates have been surging because ships were being scrapped earlier this year after a dam collapsed in Brazil prompted Vale SA to shutter some mining operations, choking off iron ore cargoes and sending rates plummeting, according to shipping industry association BIMCO (The Baltic and International Maritime Council). That demand growth has now returned to a smaller fleet of available ships, boosting earnings.

Iron ore producers are making up for previously lost production while deliveries of new ships are slowing, said Jonathan Chappell, an Evercore ISI analyst adding that dozens of ships have been removed from the fleet to fit scrubbers. “it’s a simple case of incremental demand exceeding incremental supply right now,” he said.

Besides the fuel switch, freight rates are being buoyed by relatively slow fleet growth and demand that’s held up despite a trade war between the U.S. and China, according to Cetinok.

Total supply of commodity carriers will grow by almost 3% this year. In the past decade, the fleet’s capacity has at times expanded by well over 10%, based on data from Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker.

But the recent spurt may not last, according to Bimco’s Sand. Iron ore imports into China have come down by 5% in the first seven months of the year — something that’s bad news for a market that relies on the Asian country to boost the flow of cargoes.

“I would not expect the nine-year high to last the full year, I would expect more volatility,” he said.

The cost of shipping commodities by sea surged to the highest in almost nine years as vessel owners start taking carriers off hire to prepare them for sweeping new fuel rules.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of freight for everything from coal to iron ore to grains, surged to 2,378 points at the end of August 2019, the highest since November 2010, according to figures from the London-based Baltic Exchange. Capesizes are earning almost $35,000 a day, the most in at least 5 1/2 years.


Joint Industry guidance: messaging

A group of shipping, refining, fuel supply and standards organizations have worked together to produce Joint Industry Guidance on the supply and use of 0.50 percent sulfur fuel.

Its key messages include:

  • Monitor fuel quality by ensuring that blend components are suitable for bunker fuel production with a particular focus on final product stability.
  • Fuel suppliers and purchasers must should provide adequate information about fuel supplied to the ship’s crew enabling them crew to identify and manage potential safety and operational issues related to certain fuel properties and attributes.
  • Fuel traits are likely to vary considerably between bunkers. Crew members must proactively handle fuel management. They must know fuel characteristics as loaded and be able to respond to changes such as on-board temperature requirements and commingling.
  • The key concern is assessing the compatibility of 0.50 percent sulfur fuels from different sources. Wherever possible, fuel should be loaded into an empty tank. To avoid commingling on loading, the available space for new bunkers should be taken as the capacity of the empty tanks.
  • Ship operators and fuel suppliers should review operational practices to allow sufficient time for compatibility test between existing and proposed bunker fuel delivery, especially if no “empty” dedicated storage tank exists on the ship.


The new IMO regulation will entail a radical change for the entire shipping industry. Transitioning from fuel with a sulphur content of 3.5 percent to low-sulphur fuel oil will be a complex task. “It’s not about simply flipping a switch at the turn of the year, as every single ship will have to be closely examined to determine the best possible type of change depending on its design,” says Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd. “That’s why a large number of Hapag-Lloyd departments connected to fleet operations are currently working on this issue.”

The algorithms behind future executive decisions

By Ken Mark

At the recent Teradata Universe annual conference in Denver CO, Erik Brynjolfsson attributed IT‘s role in revolutionizing today’s business practices to three major trends: corporations switching from minds to machines, shifting from being product developers to becoming delivery platforms and seeking innovation not from the core but from the crowd.

He is the Director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-author with Andrew McAfee of the book Machine|Platform|Crowd Harnessing our Digital Future (2017).

Artificial intelligence (AI), aka Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Big Data, have now emerged as the most efficient and effective ways to manage the endless streams of data flooding into corporate IT networks.

Brynjolfsson believes that as algorithms become smarter, they will one day enable executives to make decisions based on algorithms and the latest, real-world data rather than on the highest-paid person’s opinions or HiPPOs as they do now.

As well, corporations are quickly turning themselves into platforms offering new products and services to customers from various external sources rather than simply exclusively those developed in-house. Besides eliminating the NIH (not invented here) bias, it also enables firms to meet their clients’ changing needs more quickly without the added costs and delays of in-house development.

Speed counts since their clients are under relentless pressure to stay ahead of the competition.

On the supply side, entrepreneurial start-ups are flooding the market with new digital tools and solutions. But such early-stage developers often lack the experience and contacts to market their discoveries. At the same time,  many major corporative executives now realize that their in-house R&D may lack the capacity and brain power to develop in-house solutions to stay ahead of the competition. Cloud-based computing has emerged as the ideal digital medium to link the two together.

For example, Teradata’s recent launch of Vantage, its revolutionary online tool kit, is a perfect example of this new strategy. More on this later.

The third leg of the IT revolution-core to the crowd- is the people side of business. Historically, successful companies sought to attract and keep the brightest and the best to ensure the firm stayed ahead of the competition by developing market-dominating innovations. But in today ‘s world, the domination of such breakthroughs is often measured in months, not years.

Executives now realize that they can energize innovation while reducing overhead by reaching out globally to the brightest and the best innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers whenever they are needed.

Linking this scattered digital community together are more powerful cell phones, the internet of things (IOT) and emerging 5G networks – which will offer 1-2 millisecond latency or about 100 times faster than existing 4G networks. Stalwart firms such as General Electric, (GE) one of the original firms listed on the New York Stock Exchange, are being swept aside by smaller, more adept entrepreneurial firms that are exploiting the advantages of today’s digitized business environment.

Amid such revolutionary changes, Niall O’Doherty, Teradata’s Practice Leader, Industry Consulting invokes the supply chain management chestnut that in logistics, data is often more valuable than the goods being moved. He believes that is the emerging digital toolbox that can handle the challenges of today’s global supply chain which he calls “gray space”.

To him, these digital resources have become the new face of ERP (enterprise management planning). He points out that manufacturers such as German auto automaker BMW have production plants and dealers’ showrooms scattered around the world. As a result, it has to juggle the latest data of where parts are stored, where production plants are located as well as when and where to deliver vehicles to buyers. If production plants in China are short critical  parts,  how do they move them to where they are needed, how will they be shipped in time to meet deadlines? Now, more than ever, managers need to see everything in their global supply chain in real time. Digitization has the power to provide critical data and analysis to managers to keep their customers happy while boosting the firm’s productivity, efficiency and profitability.

Algorithms now exist to calculate the profit margins involved in meeting the production deadlines, especially if they have to be shipped by air from Europe to China, and to analyze and recalculate in real time the actual costs involved. Dynamic real-time inventory management now includes calculating the bottom-line impact of success and failure of delivering finished goods on time. 

Teradata’s new online cloud-based service platform, Vantage, will introduce the latest IT solution packages to enable clients to access data wherever it is stored. To do so, Teradata executives realized that they could not keep up with client data access demands with in-house developed solutions. Vantage replaces the traditional “one-hammer, one-nail” approach of accessing data with a totally new toolbox for accessing the almost infinite store of global data which may soon reach one yottabyte or 280 bytes.  

In Brynjolfsson’s terms, Teradata has shifted from relying on core (in-house) expertise to crowd sourcing it from outsiders. This new paradigm will ensure that Teradata stays ahead of its competitors by delivering next-generation data management solutions more quickly to its client base.

About Ken Mark:

Ken is a veteran journalist who has attended international trade and logistics shows and visited major cargo handling sites across Canada and the US, Western Europe, East and South-East Asia as well as Latin America. He has a York U. MBA.

Security at Sea: meeting looks at strengthening measures to protect sea carriers, maritime supply chain

By Kim Biggar

On June 19, members of the Customs Electronic Systems Action Committee (CESAC) met in Riverdale, Maryland with a full agenda.

Co-presenters from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened the meeting with a review of the North American Sea Container Initiative (NASCI).

The NASCI is a voluntary Canada-U.S. government-industry initiative. Its objectives are to:

  • Enhance understanding of challenges and opportunities for identifying and reducing pest risks in the sea container supply chain;
  • Enhance understanding of logistics of container movement in North America;
  • Conduct outreach and education to stakeholders, industries and organizations;
  • Collect data to measure risk of pathway and effectiveness of outreach; and
  • Encourage global adoption of similar, voluntary programs through the International Plant Protection Convention and other relevant international and regional forums.

Information is available on both the USDA-APHIS and CFIA websites.

The speakers closed their presentation with a video, “Preventing the Spread of Invasive Pests,” from the North American Plant Protection Organization.

Next up was a presentation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the CTPAT sea carrier minimum security criteria (MSC), which were recently significantly revised and strengthened and will take effect in 2020.

Two sections—Security Vision and Responsibility, and Agricultural Security—were added to the MSC and the IT Security section was renamed Cybersecurity and expanded to cover the growing threat to businesses based on their interconnectivity through the internet. Some former recommendations were changed to requirements, and implementation guidance was added to help clarify expectations.

The final version of the new MSC for sea carriers has been uploaded to the portal.

A discussion of CBP’s Forms Automation Initiative followed. CBP is working on automation of the arrival and clearance of vessels, with tests ongoing at several ports. Information will be accessed through its own portal, separate from the ACE Portal.

House bill release functionality was noted as a priority for which funding is not currently available. Its development is tied to rehosting of the new ACE process platform. CBP is looking to build a full multimodal manifest platform.

Regarding the in-bond rule, CBP is moving toward the last round of automation. Updated in-bond policy guidelines were to be issued soon after the meeting date. At that time, it was also anticipated that an operations guidance document for export manifest filing would be released in July 2019 for ocean, air and rail.

It was also reported that the automated export manifest is expected to be implemented at the end of 2020.

Other agenda items looked at changes to reporting requirements for intangible technology in the Automated Export System (AES), as well as some changes made to the Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements (AESTIR); wrongly issued Import Security Filing (ISF) penalties; and Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) compliance and enforcement issues.

The Growth of Formal Education in International Freight Forwarding

Written by: Stephen McDermott, Director of Education and Marketing CIFFA.

The depth of knowledge required to perform “entry level” jobs in the freight forwarding industry is becoming more and more complex.  A simple search for jobs in logistics and supply chain displays an increased need for educated employees.  Logistics firms are hoping to find more than an “entry level” candidate.  They are more selective in hiring candidates who possess a broad range of knowledge, skill and experience.

Freight forwarders have a savvy client base.  So hiring the right people with the ability to use what was learned in school, and apply critical thinking skills into the role immediately is extremely important to an employer.  However, finding employees with this skill set is no easy task.

Freight forwarding companies have traditionally looked to their associations to provide their future leaders with certifications and designations.  For over 40 years, the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), has been emphasizing education as one of its pillars to supporting its members by providing them with certificates in freight forwarding, the Professional Freight Forwarder (PFF) designation, and much needed compliance training in dangerous goods shipping and cargo security.

However, the last decade has marked a shift in this trend.  Canadian colleges are increasingly offering international trade or supply chain programs within their business schools or programs, and this has presented an incredible boost of available talent for the changing and growing logistics industry.  Not only do these schools offer education, but many offer placement programs as well.

Debbie Vago Dunn, National Manager of Learning and Development at Kuehne+Nagel (CIFFA member), looks to work with college students enrolled in logistics and supply chain programs to find placements.

When asked about current hiring practices at Panalpina (CIFFA member), Flavia Iuston-Blair, Country Head of Human Resources Canada, said: “we are hiring more people right out of school, and they come to us with a solid knowledge base.  CIFFA connects us to these schools with the partnerships they have created, and we have hired some great people over the years to work at Panalpina.”

Currently, CIFFA partners with 15 colleges in Canada.  Students who enrol in CIFFA-partnered college programs are given the opportunity to graduate with a college diploma AND a CIFFA Certificate in international freight forwarding.  CIFFA ensures that competencies taught meet the needs of its members.  This is a considerable advantage for CIFFA’s 250+ member firms who often prefer to hire candidates with the CIFFA Certificate.

As a result of this emphasis on logistics education by colleges, global logistics companies are now in the enviable position of hiring their future leaders directly out of these programs.  Employment rates reported from a CIFFA-partnered college from those graduating in 2019 were as high as 85%.*

CIFFA’s college partners are provided with content created by experts with 20 to 40 years’ experience in multi modal transportation.  The material taught is also approved by FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.  College instructors are encouraged to attain the CIFFA Certified Instructor (CCI) Designation.  Each student wishing to achieve the CIFFA Certificate is required to pass rigid CIFFA exams.

The future of logistics is bright, with more and more emphasis on lifelong learning, either at the college level or directly through industry associations.  CIFFA will continue to work with Canadian and international colleges to provide invaluable education to a sector that is hungry to hire professionals who can do it all.

*Numbers reported were collected in early 2019, and represent a program size of 59 students.  Many of the roles that students moved into were in global logistics but full data was not provided.

Stock Photo of CBSA

CBSA Current Projects Aim at Implementing New Technologies in the Near Future

On May 29, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) presented information on current projects and engagement activities during its Border Commercial Consultative Committees Collective Session. Brief updates provided a look at initiatives related to e-commerce, blockchain, the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project, the Single Window Initiative, and activity to combat African Swine Fever, as well as CBSA communications and emerging issues.

Generally, the CBSA described the “transformation” it is undertaking “to adapt to a dynamic operating environment” and the challenges it faces due to aging infrastructure and increasing trade volumes and complexities.

As of April 1, 2019, the CBSA has implemented a new functional management model with several goals: to become more streamlined and higher performing, to achieve better results and to establish clearer accountability.

Proof-of-Concept and Technology Pilot Projects

CBSA is currently testing new technologies and processes through three major projects.

  1. The Secure Corridor Concept: Test of a suite of technologies at the Detroit Windsor Ambassador Bridge intended to achieve low-touch, remote processing of participating trusted traders. The pilot is on track to inform the final design of a system to allow rapid and secure processing of commercial passages; it will continue until March 2020.
  2. Cargo Preclearance: The CBSA is exploring opportunities to position officers at hubs inland in the U.S., specifically for proofs of concept at courier and rail hubs to be conducted after ratification of the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance (LRMA). Work is ongoing to determine feasibility and finalize sites for these operations.
  3. Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS): The CBSA is currently testing the CERS portal, which will replace the Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) system, being decommissioned in June 2020, at which time the CBSA will mandate electronic exporter declarations and no longer accept paper B13A declarations. The pilot phase will begin in January 2020.

Single Window Initiative

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) provides trade with a single point of entry for the advance electronic reporting of import data provided by importers and brokers to 10 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) and 38 associated programs.

Of 574 clients, 478, or 83 percent, have completed their onboarding testing of the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). One percent of clients are actively testing and another one percent have applied but not yet started testing. Nine percent of clients have not applied to test, even as decommissioning of legacy service options—OGD release service options 463 and 471—has begun. (The remaining six percent of clients have indicated that they have service providers and do not need to test the system.)

Blockchain Technology

The CBSA is looking at ways to use blockchain to facilitate trade, improve data quality, increase visibility in the trade chain, and reduce transactional burden.

The agency is currently participating in two blockchain pilots, designed to evaluate the capacity of the blockchain base solutions and determine what role, if any, the platforms could play in the CBSA’s business processes.

  1. IBM/Maersk TradeLens, at Port of Montreal: This pilot will determine if TradeLens improves risk assessment and provides more transparency of data upstream in the supply chain.
  2. Deloitte Container Examination Facility (CEF) Prototype, at Port of Vancouver: Monitoring through this pilot will determine if the prototype increases efficiency, reduces cost of operations, improves collaboration among key stakeholders and creates business value.

Website Optimization

CBSA is making changes to its website to make information more easily retrievable and understandable to users, and to standardize the look and functionality with all Government of Canada sites. This is an agency-wide ongoing operation and will, at some point, involve user testing.

DHL Reports New Technology That Will Significantly Change Supply Chains

By Kim Biggar

DHL Group recently launched a report, Digital Twins in Logistics, which looks at the potential impacts on the logistics industry of “digital twins.”

The report authors, Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Innovation & Commercial Development at DHL, and Markus Kueckelhaus, Vice President, Innovation & Trend Research for the company, set out to answer three questions:

  • What is a digital twin and what does it mean for my organization?
  • What best-practice examples from other industries can be applied to logistics?
  • How will my supply chain change because of digital twins?

A digital twin is essentially an advanced mathematical model of a particular physical object, created to simulate “both the physical state and behaviour” of that object. As an object ages and is affected by wear or is modified with replacement parts, for example, sensors on the object record its changes. The changes are transmitted to the model, which then updates itself, enabling an exact digital copy to remain over time. This copy provides value by allowing visualization, analysis, prediction and optimization.

The key enabling technologies of digital twins are the internet of things, cloud computing, APIs and open standards, artificial intelligence, and digital reality technologies.

According to Heutger and Kueckelhaus, “widespread adoption [of digital twins] is likely in the near future.” They cite industry researcher expectations of annual growth of the digital twins market of 38 percent over the next few years.

As valuable as digital twins can be, however, there are obstacles to adopting them. They require “considerable investment,” good data, new skills and employee motivation, and present IP protection and cyber security challenges.

While many current applications involve “the modeling of products and their manufacturing processes,” digital twins are increasingly being used to model “complete production lines, factories, and facilities.” They are “now used throughout the full product lifecycle, with a product’s twin emerging during the development process and evolving to support different business needs as a product progresses through design, manufacturing, launch, distribution, operation, servicing, and decommissioning.”

Digital twin applications in logistics are still limited, although the key enabling technologies are in use in logistics functions. “Bringing these and other technologies together into a full digital twin implementation is a complex and challenging endeavour, however.” The authors suggest that, “The cost-sensitive nature of many logistics activities may explain why few companies have so far been willing to make the necessary investments.”

Potential uses discussed in the report for digital twins in logistics, especially as “costs fall and confidence in technology grows,” are:

  1. Packaging and container digital twins: “The application of material digital twins could aid the development of stronger, lighter, more environmentally friendly packaging materials.” It could also help in the management of container fleets, “allowing the automated identification of potential problems” in recycled containers.
  2. Digital twins of shipments: Incorporating the contents of a package or container into its digital twin “could help companies improve efficiency, for example by automating packaging selection and container packing strategies to optimize utilization and product protection.”
  3. Digital twins of warehouses and distribution centres: Digital twins could be used in facility design, and in optimizing space utilization, the performance of automation systems and the productivity of warehouse personnel.
  4. Digital twins of logistics infrastructure: At major logistics hubs, such as cargo airports and container ports, digital twins could improve efficiency by improving the exchange of information among stakeholders.
  5. Digital twins of global logistics networks: “In logistics, the ultimate digital twin would be a model of an entire network, including not just logistics assets but also oceans, railway lines, highways, streets, and customer homes and workplaces. The idea of such an all-encompassing twin … is largely an aspiration for the logistics industry for now.”

Implications of Implementing Digital Twins

Realizing the benefits of digital twins will only be possible through significant change to supply chains, say the report’s authors.

  • Inbound to manufacturing: Companies will have to deal with increased complexity and work more closely than ever with their suppliers.
  • In-plant logistics: Companies will have to work with shorter lead times and, again, more complexity, as well as precise data management requirements.
  • Aftermarket logistics: “To build and operate high-performing aftermarket logistics and support capabilities, companies will need to understand exactly where their customers are, which products they are using and how they operate those products.”
  • Orchestrating the supply chain: Using digital twins “will allow companies to take a more holistic, end-to-end approach to the management of [their] products.” Full supply chain visibility will gain importance, as will supply chain configurations that support high service levels.

At this point in time, Heutger and Kueckelhaus suggest, because of the challenges related to adopting digital twins, logistics professionals might want to be planning in the near term “not how to leverage digital twins for direct orchestration of supply chain operations, assets, and facilities but rather how to evolve the supply chain” to be ready for adoption. That translates to exploring challenges and opportunities, and readying people and processes for change.

Read Digital Twins in Logistics.

Getting on the “In” List: Here’s how referral services do better for your business

By Jane Daly

Arnon Melo, who sits on the national board of directors for CIFFA and is co-founder of Toronto’s MELLOHAWK LOGISTICS freight-forwarding company, understands the value of business referrals. Originally from Brazil, he used his deep knowledge and experience in that market to earn a spot on the preferred supplier lists of the Canadian and Brazilian federal governments, as well as the Brazilian Consulate.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Melo. “It took a few years to prove what we could do and show the integrity and responsibility with which we do it, but we’ve made a lot of new customers because of the validation we received from these trusted institutions.”

MELLOHAWK has also made concerted efforts to forge connections with other groups that provide referrals, such as chambers of commerce and industry organizations. “All of these bring credibility to your company and real support to the freight forwarding community when they refer a business that specializes in certain skills or capabilities,” he said.

Why you need referral services to find new customers

Finding new customers is a leading concern among freight-forwarding companies of all sizes. If you’re not already using referral services to bolster your sales and customer prospects, consider this: a number of studies show the success rates of various marketing techniques range from a low of 2% to 5% for cold calling to 50% to 80% when a referral or introduction is used. Moreover, according to a infographic, 73% of executives prefer to work with someone referred to them, and 84% of B2B decision-makers start the procurement process with a referral. (17 Surprising Stats on Sales Prospecting that will Change the Way You Look at Cold Calling, Emma Brudner, 2015).

The reason referral services work so well comes down to basic human nature. People tend to trust recommendations more when they come from a person or organization they know or know of, especially if that person or organization is one that is trusted and reputable.

Given the immense power of referrals, it’s not surprising that companies of all sizes and across all sectors are trying to figure out how they can get referred, and how to work these methods into their business marketing plans.

There are, of course, many different ways to get referred, such as online directories, requests to current customers to recommend your company to a colleague, or even offering a cash reward to customers who bring another on board. Each type has its pros and cons, and some work better for some types of companies more than others. While referral marketing is generally easier to initiate than other types of marketing, tackling it alone, especially for smaller companies, can eat take up time and money, depending on the tool used.

In-List: A free, more powerful referral service for freight forwarders 

Fortunately for freight forwarders, there’s a new referral service launching this spring, administered by Export Development Canada (EDC). It’s a way to find customers, made easy. The service will enable Canadian exporting companies to find the qualified suppliers they need—starting with freight forwarders—that are vetted by EDC. In-List, as the service is presently called, is free. And although there is an application process to ensure suppliers are qualified, the time it takes is far outweighed by the expected return on investment.

Here’s how it works. If you’ve used Google, you already have a basic understanding of how most online referral services operate. You key in the type of service or supplier you’re looking for, and up pops results that match your query.

And unfortunately, if you’ve used Google, you also understand the problems and weaknesses inherent to those types of systems. First, there’s quantity instead of quality. Today, an exporter typing “freight forwarders” into Google will get 980 million results in .54 seconds. And because the results are based on a ranking algorithm, you can’t even be sure the top contenders are relevant to your needs, let alone trustworthy.

The difference with In-List is that the service actually takes the time to gather pertinent information about the suppliers and their capabilities, so that when an exporter searches for a freight forwarder, for example, they’ll be matched with companies that better suit their needs. Moreover, and perhaps best of all, the companies have been vetted by EDC, so the exporter can start building the new business relationship with more confidence.

Specifically, the service will offer three significant benefits to CIFFA freight forwarders:

  1. Approved applicants will be featured amongst Canada’s top freight forwarders in a well-promoted referral program.
  2. For a limited time, applications will be accepted by CIFFA members exclusively. This will increase your reputability as a supplier that’s vetted by EDC, a leader in international trade insight.
  3. Quality referrals. Unlike typical directories, In-List builds a thorough profile of both the freight forwarder and the customer to make the quality matches.

Freight forwarders can apply right now for In-List

To launch the referral service, EDC is inviting CIFFA members to fill out the online application. Melo has already taken EDC up on the offer.

“MELLOHAWK is happy to join because I think there’s tremendous value here. We belong to other referral programs but they don’t delve into specific information to make a better match like EDC is trying to do,” Melo said. “In-List not only looks at the region you do business in, but also the talent and specific skills that you can offer an exporting company.”

Melo adds that he believes the program will help save time and expedite decisions for both sides. “Basing matches on more information helps narrow down requests for quotes from prospective customers.”

Start helping new customers find you today

Register here to register your freight forwarding business with the EDC InList and become an EDC-vetted supplier.

Start finding professional services

Register here to find professional and trusted service providers in Canada.

CIFFA Standard Trading Conditions: Good Value, Smart Move

A May 2019 Federal Court decision provides solid evidence of the value of CIFFA’s Standing Trading Conditions (STCs). The summary judgment dismissed action against the defendants in the case, Panalpina Inc., Desgagnés Transarctik Inc. and Logistec Stevedoring Inc., based on Panalpina’s reference to the STCs on both quotations and invoices related to the shipments in question.

In October 2013, Nalcor Energy, through its subsidiaries Labrador Island Link General Partner Corporation and the Labrador Island Link Limited Partnership, entered an agreement with Panalpina to provide freight forwarding services in the shipment of all cargo for the Lower Churchill electrical transmission project. The freight forwarding service agreement (FFSA) between the parties named Panalpina as the principal provider, responsible for all services outlined in the agreement.

For the shipment of aluminum conductor steel-reinforced cable, supplied on steel reels, Panalpina contracted, with Nalcor’s approval, with Logistec for receipt and storage of the reels at Logistec’s terminal at the port of Trois-Rivières in Quebec, and with Desgagnés for transportation of the reels by sea from Trois-Rivières to Argentia, in Newfoundland.

On June 1, 2015, while discharging a shipment of 510 reels, Nalcor discovered damage to the reels. A second shipment, received in Argentia on November 2, 2015, was also found to be damaged. In both cases, Nalcor advised Panalpina of its intent to claim for the damage.

It was not, however, until May 29, 2017 that Nalcor commenced action against the defendants, seeking judgment in the amount of $3,711,451.94, based on the companies’ alleged negligence in storing, loading, securing and carrying the reels. The defendants then moved for summary judgment to dismiss that action, claiming that it was time-barred based on CIFFA’s STCs.

Judge Roger Lafrenière dismissed Nalcor’s claim for the following reasons, among others:

  1. The facts were “fairly straightforward”; all transactions were well documented and there were no issues of credibility.
  2. Panalpina’s quotations to Nalcor included, “Rates are subject to latest CIFFA Terms and Conditions (available upon request).” As the judge noted, according to section 19 of the CIFFA Terms, any suit against a freight forwarder “must be brought within nine months from ‘the date of delivery of the goods for claims for damage to goods,’ failing which the freight forwarder ‘shall, unless otherwise expressly agreed, be discharged from all liability.’”
  3. The quotations with this wording were accepted by Nalcor, despite the fact that the FFSA outlined different terms and conditions, and included the following text: “This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter dealt with herein. This Agreement replaces and supersedes all prior agreements, documents, writings and verbal understandings between the parties in respect of the Work and there are no oral or written understandings, representations or commitments of any kind, express or implied, which are not expressly set forth herein.”
  4. Nalcor also approved a booking note from Desgagnés that said, under “Sea Waybill”: “All other terms and conditions are as per Desgagnés Transarctik’s Sea Waybill.” The Sea Waybill itself said: “The parties acknowledge and agree that the carriage performed under this contract is not governed by a Bill of Lading but rather by this Sea Waybill. However, they agree that the terms, provisions and conditions of Articles II to IX of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Bills of Lading signed at Brussels on August 25, 1924 (The Hague Rules) are incorporated by agreement into this contract. The Carrier’s rights and immunities including the $500.00 limitation of liability per package or unit are more specifically herein incorporated.”
  5. Panalpina’s invoices contained the following text, and were approved by Nalcor for payment:

All business will be accepted by Panalpina Inc. (hereinafter the “Company”) from the Owner, Consignee or Shipper (hereinafter the “Customer”) subject to the Standard Trading Conditions of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Inc. currently in effect which Conditions contain provisions which exonerate the Company from liability and limit the amount recoverable, and each Condition shall be deemed to be incorporated in and to be a Condition of any agreement between the “Company” and the “Customer”. In transacting such business with the “Company”, the “Customer” acknowledges that he is familiar with and accepts such Conditions. A copy of the Standard Trading Conditions can be obtained on request from the “Company” or from the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Inc., in the latter case, by addressing such request to: the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), 170 Atwell Drive, Suite 480, Toronto, Ontario, M9W 5Z5, or via web

  1. Nalcor is a “sophisticated shipper with significant knowledge and experience regarding the role and business terms of the various players in the shipping industry,” and should “have been aware that Panalpina was a member of CIFFA from the start.”
  2. Any failure by Nalcor to take proper notice of terms that were clearly set forth in the documents exchanged between the parties is not a basis to refuse to apply the CIFFA Terms. “Nalcor could have taken issue or rejected the CIFFA Terms upon reviewing the quotes received from Panalpina, but failed to do so.”
  3. In the absence of any language in the FFSA dealing with a specific limitation period to commence an action, it was open to Panalpina to put forward terms when providing quotes to Nalcor.
  4. The action against Desgagnés and Logistec, as contractors engaged by Panalpina, was also time-barred, based on section 2 of the CIFFA STCs:

These Conditions also apply whenever any claim is made against any employee, agent or independent contractor engaged by the Company to perform any transport or related service for the Customer’s goods, whether such claims are founded in contract or in tort, and the aggregate liability of the Company and all such persons shall not exceed the limitations of liability in these conditions. For purposes of this clause the Company acts as agent for all such persons who may ratify such agency at any subsequent time.

CIFFA’s STCs, in particular Section 19, which limits liability in damage claims to nine months from the date of delivery of the goods, saved Panalpina and its sub-contractors from an expensive judgment.

Be sure that your company is protected; understand and reference the STCs in your communications and agreements. Learn more about the STCs in CIFFA’s interactive webinar workshops, Protecting Your Business with CIFFA STCs, held occasionally through the year.

Read the full decision at Federal Court Decisions.

CBSA Addresses E-Commerce Complexities and Challenges

In March of this year, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada issued a series of reports, including Taxation of E-Commerce. That report looks at the results of an audit of the Canada Border Services Agency—on which this article will focus—the Canada Revenue Agency and the Department of Finance Canada intended to ensure that the sales tax system for e-commerce is neutral (“treats all vendors equally with regard to the GST/HST”) and that the GST/HST tax base (“everything that is taxable”) is protected.

As the report notes, current legislative obligations related to the collection of GST/HST on e-commerce sales are complex and challenging. The ever-increasing volume of e-commerce shipments both exacerbates the challenges and increases the need for effective tax management. “The Canadian sales tax system must keep pace with e-commerce and adapt to the challenges and opportunities it presents,” says the report. Further, “the Government of Canada must ensure that everyone who should remit sales taxes does so and that the taxes are collected fairly and effectively.”

   Current legislative obligations for the GST/HST in Canada are complex for vendors and consumers

     Source: Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada, Report 3 – Taxation of E-Commerce, Spring 2019.

While the audit examined several types of e-commerce products—digital products and services purchased online, supplies purchased online that are part of the sharing economy, and physical products imported into Canada after being purchased online—it is the physical products purchased online by Canadian consumers from foreign vendors that we are addressing in this article.

Overall, the audit found that the Canadian sales tax system is not keeping up with the advancing digital marketplace; the federal government is not assessing and collecting all applicable sales taxes on e-commerce transactions. This, according to the report, is putting “Canadian businesses at an unfair disadvantage in relation to foreign vendors” and may be encouraging “domestic vendors to move their operations abroad.”

The audit also uncovered that the CBSA “was aware that some courier companies were likely not remitting all sales taxes on low-value shipments into Canada” and that it did not act to correct this problem. “The Agency relied on the good faith of courier companies to declare and remit the sales taxes they collected from consumers. Even though the Agency had indications that courier companies did not declare the full taxes owing to the government, officials did nothing to resolve the issue.”

Under the Courier Low Value Shipment Program (applicable to products valued between $20.01 and $2,500.00), the importer or broker is responsible for assessing and collecting the sales taxes owing, and remitting the funds to the CBSA. However, because the CBSA was inadequately managing the program data, according to the report—collecting only consolidated summary information about sales taxes paid—it could not “automatically trace, compare, and validate information to confirm the sales taxes owed and to ensure the courier companies remitted the sales taxes to the government.”

The auditors found, as well, that, although the CBSA had determined back in 2009 that it needed an automated system to handle the Courier Low Value Shipment Program requirements, it had not implemented such a system.

Even after conducting compliance exercises between 2014 and 2018 to randomly sample shipments in the program that revealed a high number of undervalued shipments, the CBSA took no action to remedy the problem. A large increase in the number of declared non-taxable shipments (i.e., valued at $20 or less) from 2016-17 to 2017-18 was not analyzed to determine if the increase was valid or fraudulent.

The final major issue discovered through the audit relates to the collection of provincial sales taxes by the CBSA. The agency was found to be unable to track and validate provincial sales taxes remitted by courier companies or to collect the PST for courier shipments destined for a province with the PST but imported through a province with the HST.

The report recommends that, “as soon as possible, the Canada Border Services Agency should review the Courier Low Value Shipment Program to improve the validation and collection of the GST, the HST, and the PST.”

The CBSA agreed with this assessment and to a review of processes within the Courier Low Value Shipment Program to improve the validation of taxes collected. Among its other commitments, the agency agreed to finalize its e-commerce strategy this year and a business plan with implementation timelines before the end of the 2019–20 fiscal year; seek authority and funding to regulate shipment data in advance and develop a reconciliation process by December 2019; renew its focus on compliance activities; and examine options to further automate the program.

In May, shortly after the Auditor General’s report was issued, the CBSA hosted a facilitated stakeholder-engagement workshop with participants from key industry associations, including CIFFA, major e-commerce players Amazon and Walmart, logistics and freight service providers, Canada Post, FedEx and UPS.

Asked “How might we facilitate trade as we keep up with the pace of e-commerce, while ensuring proper revenue collection, and the safety of Canadians?” the group focused on developing tactical ideas for the future. Three teams each generated a range of ideas, some of the most impactful of which were deemed to be:

  • The development of CBSA’s system capability for data analytics and data traceability
  • A single integrated CBSA solution
  • The use of AI to expedite the process
  • Preclearance
  • A trusted trader/recipient program
  • Clarity on the regulatory framework for liability and penalties
  • A paperless process, removal of manual steps
  • A warehouse fulfillment program
  • One set of requirements for all modes

Based on information gathered at the workshop, CBSA planned to immediately start to write a business case for a concept to expedite, simplify and secure e-commerce, using AI, preclearance and trusted traders; meet with the Department of Finance about funding; organize a meeting of the BCCC to talk about policy development; and identify risks and risk profiles.

The CBSA has also been involved in the drafting this year of the World Customs Organization’s Framework of Standards on Cross-Border E-Commerce, which establishes global guidelines for cross-border e-commerce.

Another initiative that will impact this area is being addressed through Bill C-100, “An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States.” The agreement proposes increasing the de minimus threshold from $20 to $40, raising the LVS threshold from $2,500 to $3,300, and improving the clearance option to include all modes of transit, not just the courier program.

Activity on many fronts has the CBSA now focused on streamlining processes, investing in infrastructure, undertaking proof of concept projects, seeking new authority through legislative and regulatory changes, and reviewing data and release requirements.

A concerted effort, involving key stakeholders, is under way to improve the efficiency and tax-revenue collection of Canada’s e-commerce market. Watch for updates in CIFFA’s daily eBulletins.

Cannabis and the workplace: a primer

Associate Member firm Fernandes Hearn LLP held its Annual Maritime Conference, January 16 in Toronto. Attendees were offered a look at the Canadian cannabis landscape with a presentation by Tom Wilson, Program Consultant with DriverCheck Inc. a company which offers solutions for medical testing and assessment needs.

In June 2018, the federal government passed Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, which was designed to legalize and regulate the sale and use of marijuana in Canada. The Act came into full effect on October 17, which was the first day that Canadians could legally purchase the product through licensed retailers.

Cannabis is defined as anything that is derived from the cannabis plant. There are over 100+ different cannabinoids: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is known by its short form THC.

Cannabidiol, meanwhile, is known as CBD.

THC influences the endocannabinoid system, affecting appetite, mood, memory and pain sensation.

CBD can deliver many of the same benefits of THC without inducing its psychoactive effects.

CBD is available in an oil form. It contains low THC, which is less impairing but will still show up positive in a test.

Cannabis impairment increases twofold the risk of an accident and when combined with alcohol, up to 200 times, noted Wilson. The percentage of Canadian drivers killed in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now exceeds those testing positive for alcohol (33%).

With recreational cannabis now legal in Canada as of October 17, 2018, there needs to be a greater awareness of how its consumption affects the workplace.

Cognitive Impairments linked to the use of cannabis include executive function, working memory, planning/organizing, initiation, emotional control, and inhibition.

Cannabis use prior to driving increases the risk of being involved in
a motor vehicle accident – there is a substantial evidence of a statistical association.

In an aviation test, experienced pilots trained on a flight simulator, and given one joint of marijuana, showed significant impairment lasting up to 24 hours, with 7/9 showing impairment at 24 hours.

Medical cannabis use is on the rise in Canada, with 330,758 documented users in 2018.

According to the College for Family Physicians February 2018 Guidelines for Prescribing Medical Cannabinoids, its use is noted for nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, spinal cord injury spasticity, severe neuropathic pain, and perhaps also for refractory seizures, and after reasonable trials of multiple other treatments.

But it is also frequently authorized for anxiety (mental health), insomnia, chronic back pain (not neuropathic), and other types of pain.

With respect to cannabis for medical purposes there are numerous concerns with workplace safety, despite a legitimate medical explanation. DriverCheck makes recommendations that the authorizing physician be contacted to make a determination as to whether the employee can safely perform their duties at work. It may then be necessary for the individual to undergo a Fitness for Duty evaluation by a qualified medical practitioner with corresponding expertise to determine if the donor is medically qualified to perform their duties. DriverCheck can work with companies to help facilitate this process.

A result letter sent to the employer will include a notation to alert that there is an employee with authorization to use cannabis for medical purposes and that that has been verified. It will also include a recommendation for an assessment, due to the known impact of cannabis on work performance and safety.

DriverCheck has an MRO review process where tests with a laboratory confirmed positive result for THC or THC metabolite, and for which a valid authorization exists, will be reported as a verified negative once the following is confirmed:

  • A valid authorization for cannabis for medical purposes;
  • Proof of registration with a Licensed Producer;
  • A valid receipt for their purchase from a Licensed Producer covering the timeframe of the test;
  • The above information corresponds with the results.

In preparation for recreational cannabis, having a workplace policy is most important .

Ensure it is up-to-date, taught and referred to.

Provide manager and supervisor training. Consider drug testing to help deter recreational use.

Urine testing is the “gold standard” for risk-based programs under the U.S. Department of Transportation, and is used in 95% of testing because of its longer window of detection even when there is no indication of acute impairment.

When it comes to safety sensitive work, it is recognized that the timing and duration of cannabis impairment is variable and that more research is needed in this regard.

To provide practical guidance, until definitive evidence is available, it is not advisable to operate motor vehicles or equipment, or engage in other safety-sensitive tasks for 24 hours following cannabis consumption, or for longer if impairment persists.

Future testing is expected to include better instant oral fluid tests, cannabis breathalyzers, and cognitive impairment testing.

Delivered By Drone

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the impact on product delivery by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Aside from the introduction of useable technology, freight forwarders must also wait for Transport Canada to establish regulations to ensure that aerial cargo lanes remain safe and secure.

In her opening remarks, Heather Devine, partner in the Toronto law firm Isaacs & Co., stressed that when drones are used for delivering goods, executives and firms must understand the legal implications involved. One important issue is ensuring that the drone carrier possesses a valid Transport Canada Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC). As well, other regulations will be required for different cargo items not to mention basic issues related to controlling the size and types of drones. Public safety will be a key concern since drones will fly near existing conventional airports, highways, canals, rivers, bridges etc. not to mention populated urban areas.

Borden Ladner Gervais lawyer Katherine Ayre, moderating the panel, reminded the audience that regulatory decisions will become the basis for future liability, insurance and legal concerns. She urged the freight forwarding community to have proper insurance in place since insurers may have different perspectives on coverage.

As well, Ayre noted that Walmart and Amazon plan to deploy indoor drones in distribution centres that can read product barcodes and manage inventory faster and more safely than employees.

In addition, the freight forwarding community will need to be aware of customs and cross-border traffic not to mention potential criminal activities involving illegal drugs and other contraband. Drone operators may also face complaints from citizens complaining that camera-carrying drones are flying over their backyards while they are sunbathing.

A major challenge facing regulators is defining BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight). It enables pilots of traditional planes to “see and avoid” other aircraft. But since drones are pilotless, there will be a new level of difficulty and complexity in spotting other aircraft. Possible solutions include a ground-based network of active sensors, utilizing onboard sensors, or subscribing to a traffic management platform.

In his presentation, Ryan Coates, Manager of Policy, Regulations and Stakeholder Engagement at Transport Canada, outlined a range of potential risks resulting from a wider range of users of drone deliveries. He cites the recent example of the Moose Cree First Nation partnering with Drone Delivery Canada to consider year-round delivery of food, medicine and other supplies. It is located 2.5 kilometres from Moosonee Ontario on an island in James Bay with no easy link to the mainland. Currently, goods are delivered by barge in the summer, by trucks over ice roads in the winter and by helicopter between seasons.

With the coming of drones, Coates believes that such isolated indigenous settlements across Canada will in fact become easier to serve since they are surrounded with few, if any, obstacles.

As well, thanks to advanced parachute technology, drones could simply drop their loads from above without having to touch down.

Finally, the two lawyers agreed that Transport Canada is expeditiously introducing drone regulations to ensure the continued safety and security of Canadian airspace.

Important Updates From CBSA

Advocacy is one of CIFFA’s three key pillars. On the Customs-related front, here is an update of several initiatives CIFFA has been closely monitoring through its work on various committees.

CBSA “Single Window” on gradual approach

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) is a federal government process for gathering information on imports into Canada.
As of April 1, 2019, submitting an Integrated Import Declaration (IID) through CBSA’s new “Single Window” was meant to become mandatory. At press time, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in partnership with participating government agencies, said it was “going to responsibly implement SWI by not imposing a mandatory go live on April 1, 2019.”

April 1 had been the deadline to “sunset legacy service options OGD PARS and OGD RMD,” per the CBSA SWI webpage.

CIFFA will provide more-detailed information as it becomes available.
Instead of submitting different information to different government agencies, as in the past, information on imported goods can be provided through a single submission to CBSA.
Once CBSA receives the required information, it shares the pertinent elements with the PGA(s)
Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) responsible for regulating the goods in question. The PGAs then assess that information and provide a decision if and as required.

With CBSA serving as the “single window”, the process has been simplified for importers, who no longer have to submit duplicate information to different agencies.
The aim is to simplify the import process but, in some cases, it will mean more advance information is required than before, with all data elements required by participating government agencies provided in the IID.
The IID can be sent to CBSA for processing up to 90 days prior to the arrival of the goods, so importers can receive recommended border decisions before shipments reach the border.
Once CBSA receives the required information, it shares the pertinent elements with the PGA(s) responsible for regulating the goods in question. The PGAs then assess that information and provide a decision if and as required.

CERS to Replace CAED: going live December 2019

CBSA is replacing the Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) with the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS)

Development is progressing and CBSA is in the process of extending the go-live date for CERS from July 2019 to December 2019 (pending confirmation).

CBSA, in partnership with Statistics Canada (SC), is developing an Activation Approach to support the transition of existing Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) / Data Loading Module (DLM) /SRP users to the new system. This change is due to revised testing estimations to ensure CBSA can provide a solution that meets the needs of the export community.

All existing users of CAED/DLM/SRP will be required to activate their business account in CERS during the revised onboarding window (illustrated below).

The pilot phase will commence in January 2020 and include a select number of trade chain partners (TCPS). These TCPs would include active reporters from CAED, DLM, and SRP.

The waves will begin after the successful completion of the Pilot phase and include a gradual onboarding of the remaining TCP’s who are active CAED, DLM, and SRP reporters.

Electronic Export Reporting mandated: no more B13A

CBSA is proceeding with the implementation of a prescription document that will mandate electronic export reporting. Following implementation, the paper B13A Export Declaration form will be eliminated. The coming into force of the prescription document will be aligned with CERS implementation. The CBSA will start informing exporters of these changes in Spring 2019. Communications will occur through a Customs Notice, the CBSA and Statistics Canada websites, and at export reporting offices where paper B13As are stamped.

Definition of Exporter: Because the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations does not clearly identify the party who is required to report exported goods and does not clearly identify all goods that must be reported, the definition of exporter has been identified as the primary cause of ambiguity in the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations. Definition of exporter will then be repealed.

Summary Reporting Program (SRP): addressed in future regs

Since goods of unknown risk are being reported after export, thereby evading CBSA pre-export risk-assessment, the CBSA will amend the eligibility criteria to refocus the SRP to its original purpose, a “facilitative reporting method for bulk goods (e.g. wheat, lumber, coal).”

Goods that are not considered bulk will no longer be eligible for the program and will have to be reported on a transactional basis.

This regulatory change will not be included in this round of regulatory amendments and will be addressed in a future regulatory package.

CARM: Towards a Modern Interface

The CBSA’s Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year business transformation initiative. Once implemented, it aims to facilitate trade compliance and enhance the use of data analytics to streamline business processes, providing, as the agency puts it, a “modern interface” for importing into Canada, and giving importers self-service access to their own information.

As the project moves into the next stage, CARM will continue to work with the trade community to:

  • Validate its design via the use of prototypes
  • Refine business processes and requirements by running real-world scenarios with system functionality
  • Seek trade’s participation in testing the CARM solution
  • Perform “day in the life” testing using real-life business scenarios
  • Perform certification testing to validate that integration points are working correctly

Blockchain Technology Defined

“How many of you have a good understanding of blockchain?” Few people indicated that they do.

So, although blockchain is a much-discussed topic in the media, it appears to remain somewhat a mystery, even to a freight forwarding crowd. First speaker Rui Fernandes, a partner at law firm Fernandes Hearn LLP, noted that this session was thus intended to be a “Blockchain 101” lesson.

Trying to make sense of blockchain as a “distributed ledger” doesn’t clear up the confusion for newbies, said Fernandes. He suggested an analogy with banking, in which the bank is like blockchain’s central server and the customer’s bank book a ledger. Multiple decentralized platforms—multiple computers—are used to verify a transaction, then the record of the transaction is distributed in a network, explained Fernandes. “Someone would have to hack at least 51 percent of the computers in the network to break the blockchain’s security,” he noted.

Blockchain also enables “smart contracts,” which, as Fernandes translated, are self-executing agreements for which information is automatically updated as steps are completed. Each party to the contract has access to always up-to-date information on the transaction status. If lawyers drafting smart contracts don’t understand the industry’s processes, though, warns Fernandes, the self-executing contracts could be full of errors.

Fernandes revealed that legal issues to be considered in the use of blockchain technology relate to taxation, privacy, liability, intellectual property, data ownership, and the lack of flexibility in smart contracts. He believes that early adoption of the technology would be a mistake.

Don Miller, VP of Global Sales and Marketing for Globe Tracker, a provider of supply chain visibility solutions, said that, although several blockchain initiatives for the supply chain are in place, “the program that will be widely adopted has not even been created yet.” He suggested that freight forwarders need their own blockchain.

The merits of blockchain, according to Miller, include prevention of theft, counterfeit and fraud, and potential decreases in insurance costs; applications cover proof of delivery, compliance monitoring, and transfer of risk and payment.

Alison Clafin, Director of Network Development, Maersk -TradeLens Inc., believes the supply chain industry is “ripe for change and innovation.” Noting that some shipments involve up to 200 people—and thus loads of room for errors and delays-Clafin emphasized “the immutability from end to end” of documents in a blockchain. Immutable records, she said, provide proof of transactions that enable trust.

The TradeLens platform, designed and developed by IBM and Maersk, is “available to all,” said Clafin. She underlined that freight forwarders, who deal with questions all day long from customers about the status of their containers, can avoid such queries by joining a digital platform like TradeLens, allowing employees to use their time instead to boost offerings and sales.

Fernandes was concerned that “driving customer expectations through the roof” involves a lot of risk. He also noted that “garbage in, garbage out” does not cease when blockchain technology is used to track a shipment. Clafin agreed: Blockchain use “can’t guarantee or help ensure that lettuce arrives fresh”; it just allows supply chain partners to “see where it is in the system.”

The three speakers agreed that there is still much to be sorted out in the world of blockchain, but the opportunities for supply chain efficiencies that it presents are immense.

The Sharing Economy: Access to Assets

The worldwide popularity of taxi-app Uber means the word probably needs little explanation. But the type of service Uber offers, with the use of private vehicles and drivers as a shared service, to offer people a lift, is an example of a larger trend that emerged in the last decade, influenced by several social and economic conditions that made sharing, and the sharing economy, a more widely accepted practice.

What is the Sharing Economy? Essentially it’s the economic activity of platforms that transact access to an asset.

There are three players in a Sharing Economy transaction: the platform, the user, and the asset.
The Sharing Economy concept emerged around 2008-2009, after the global recession. Millennials were using smartphone technology a lot more to stay connected. A lot of people were out of a job and fell into occasional, part-time jobs and for the first time there was the need to share.

Essentially, it became about time, and skills, becoming shareable assets.

When you consider the following facts, the concept of asset-sharing seems like a no-brainer: 95% of the usable life of a consumer-vehicle is spent parked (some 23 hours a day), 80% of consumer goods are only used once a month.

Every single night over half a million people stay at an AirBnB.

In the transportation industry, 30-50% of truck capacity tends to be unused.

In the US over 41% of customers have used some sort of expedited same day delivery service.

A DHL Logistics Trend Report notes that far as disruption goes, the Sharing Economy has already made a mark in asset heavy industries like mobility and hospitality.

But the technology and business models can be applied to any industry. Logistics, with its heavy assets and infrastructure, is no exception.

Ben Gesing, Project Manager, Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, and a presenter at CIFFA’s 70th anniversary conference, said that DHL dedicates a lot of time to working with startups and figuring out how to bring them into the company’s operations, and how to make its existing services more attractive.
“We believe in what we call customer-centric innovation. When it comes to new technology it becomes easy to get lost in the buzzwords. Focus on your customer needs and that is really what pulls in the technology,” he told attendees.

DHL’s yearly Logistics Trend Radar looks at technology and social and business trends impacting the industry on a 5-10-year horizon.

“Some of the challenges are that most airway bills are still on paper, and most warehouses are still operated manually. Logistics is still a fragmented industry-there are over 500 thousand trucking companies in the U.S. alone,” Gesing said, and the situation in Europe and Asia is the same.

There are four main components to how DHL looks at digital transformation:

  1. How can we use new technology to explore new digital business models?
  2. How can we use new technologies like collaborative robotics to increase operational efficiencies?
  3. How can we use things like Amazon Alexa to create new customer experiences? (interacting with our customers via chat box etc.)
  4. How do we change our touch points that way?

“The bedrock is really not about the technology but about the culture, and embedding a new skillset into the DNA,” he said.

Some sharing economy concepts as applied to logistics include truly shared warehousing, where multi-customer warehouses enable third-party logistics (3PL) providers to achieve valuable economies of scale. By operating one site (instead of two or more sites in the same area), the logistics provider can use fewer resources to meet the needs of several customers.

The concept of truly shared warehousing suggests allocating excess warehouse capacity on a digital sharing platform, and enabling pay-per-use billing of space in the multi-customer warehouse, the trend report suggested.

Gesing said that this concept is now an internal product being marketed with a few private customers.

Urban Discreet Warehousing, meanwhile, is a concept which envisions the sharing of personal storage space in urban homes, back offices, garages, and vacant rental properties via a mobile and web platform.

Other concepts include logistics asset sharing and transport capacity sharing.

Saloodo! is a product that addresses this. It’s a European Union road trade platform giving shippers the ability to book truck capacity from a single point of contact.

All carriers on the platform are certified by DHL, so the shipper has the trust that a company with a lot of expertise in the industry has been certified.

Carriers, meanwhile, gain access to large number of shipments to optimize their trucks and get paid quickly through the platform. Drivers use the Saloodo! mobile app to communicate milestones along the transport journey and to submit delivery documents.

How do small forwarders participate in a sharing economy?

Gesing, whose father is a car forwarder, has these tips:

“Look at the tools you use and upgrade them. Having your rates in a marketplace (platform) gives you access to more markets. Look at how you communicate. There are still a lot of phones and faxes in forwarding. If you’re a small forwarder your business is all about relationships. There’s a lot you can do to be more efficient,” he said.

The DHL Logistics Trend Radar 2018
Courtesy DHL
DHL Radar
In 2017, DHL offered an innovation challenge to students, startups, and institutions. It was an opportunity to do proof of concept and exhibit innovations.

Over 60 submissions came in from more than 30 countries around the world, with one winner: Parcelly.

Parcelly took first place with its mobile app-based platform, converting redundant space in local businesses and private homes into carrier and retailer agnostic parcel storage.

Parcelly is now doing a three-month pilot at 50 different locations, where DHL’s express couriers actually drop off parcels as an alternate delivery location.

“The sharing economy really drives digital transformation, although it itself is not a technology revolution. It’s really a change in human behavior, and how people are living their lives these days, and technology really carries that through it,” Gesing said.

5 Steps to Implementing Cybersecurity5 Steps to Implementing Cybersecurity

As new cyberthreats emerge on a daily basis, the ability to track and prepare to face these threats will become instrumental to organizations looking to increase their resilience.

Drew Simons, Founder and Principal Consultant for CIFFA Associate Member Roxville Technology Inc., outlines best practices and processes to implementing cybersecurity in the workplace.

Recently, I met with a client to review the results of an IT Risk Assessment we had conducted. At the end of the review, my client turned to me and said, “but we’re not a bank …”.

This is a sentiment that is often expressed when I speak to clients about cybersecurity. However, it is based on the false assumptions that i) they’re only at risk if they are targeted and ii) they don’t have anything that would be of interest to a cybercriminal.

It is important to realize that businesses don’t need to be a target in order to be at risk. When the Russian military unleashed NotPetya against Ukrainian targets in June of 2017 (Secretary, 2018), companies such as Maersk and TNT Express were not explicit targets. Nor were the thousands of other firms who ranged in size from the smallest to the very large and who, in total, suffered an estimated $10 billion in damages (Greenberg, 2018).

It is also important to consider that there are groups of cybercriminals who are creating internet robots, or bots, that are scouring the internet for weak systems that can be used to generate revenue through ransom, stolen credentials, identity theft, CEO fraud and other malicious activities. These bots are inexpensive (most of the code can be easily purchased) and are good revenue generators. It is forecast that these bots will become increasingly sophisticated with the inclusion of artificial intelligence.

The two largest weaknesses that are exploited, whether through unintended attacks such as NotPetya or by bots, are unpatched systems and weak or stolen passwords.

We use a 5-step process based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework that helps our Customer reduce their cybersecurity risk. NIST’s Cybersecurity framework was introduced in 2014 and is designed to “assist organizations to better understand and improve their management of cybersecurity risk”.

This is the way in which we apply the framework with our clients:

  1. Identify
    The identification of every IT asset (networks, devices, users, applications, data, and policies) being used by the company is a fundamental starting point and yet is often overlooked. In fact, when we first meet with a customer and ask to see this information, we are often given a spreadsheet listing computers that i) is months (or more) out of date, ii) does not include all IT assets, and iii) is missing most of the information that we need to confirm the security of our customer.

    We work with our customer to implement tools that sweep the network and confirm that we’ve identified all computing resources, the software running on them, patch levels, related active directory entries, and more. We also identify the cloud-based applications that are being used by our customer by reviewing URL logs from their boundary network device or, if that is not available, we interview staff to get a complete list. One of the more interesting challenges is mobile devices such as smartphones. Even though these are used to access corporate e-mail and documents that may contain sensitive information, they are usually completely overlooked since the devices are frequently not owned by the company. Finally, we work with our clients to review their cybersecurity related policies (including what needs to be done when an attack occurs and the role that each team member, including IT providers, must play) and to inventory locations where sensitive data is stored.

  2. Protect
    Once we know what needs to be protected, we implement appropriate technical strategies to protect the assets from the potential threats.

    To ensure our customer’s systems aren’t exposed through missing patches, we automate patching and we create reports that generate alerts to identify the systems and applications that have not been updated. Often, when we scan a client’s network, we find hundreds and hundreds of applications. We recently scanned a 20 PC network and found 471 installed applications. Needless to say, trying to keep that number of applications patched is virtually impossible. The list of applications needs to be reviewed and all non-business essential apps removed so that the list of applications to be patched is manageable.

    To enhance password protection, we implement password rules and, wherever possible, introduce Two Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA typically involves a code being sent to the user’s phone or hardware ‘key’ prior to allowing access to a system.

    Speaking of password protection, there is a website that catalogues stolen e-mail addresses and passwords: I recommend that you visit the site, enter your e-mail address, and see if it has been exposed through any of the breaches that the site catalogues. Also go to the password area of the site and check to see if the password you use has been used by others. If it has, make sure you change your password right away!

    Other technical strategies include anti-virus and anti-malware applications installed and up-to-date on all systems, a Unified Threat Management device that is configured to close down common weaknesses and protect against: users accidentally going to malicious websites, port scanning by bots looking to penetrate your network, SQL injections, cross site scripting, etc., a full backup system that is regularly tested (most importantly we ensure that the backups are copied to an offsite location so that, should a hacker attack all of our client’s networked systems, they are able to recover), encryption of hard drives (especially on mobile devices like laptops), and SPAM filters.

    It’s also important to ensure that staff is well trained on cybersecurity to create what we refer to as a “human firewall”. This training includes regular reviews of the policies that are in place (or developed as part of our engagement) as well as training on topics such as phishing, social engineering, password security, malware, removable media, privacy, and personally identifiable information. We use a combination of online videos, newsletters, and e-mails to train our clients and their team members. My experience has shown that this combination of formats is the most effective in getting the message through.

  3. Detect
    This step can sometimes be the most difficult. Certainly, the “human firewall” will go a long way in helping staff to identify potential threats. But what about threats that staff can’t see? For this, we rely on tools that monitor security logs on individual computers and network devices. We configure these tools to send alerts when they detect abnormal activity.
  4. Respond
    Once an event has been discovered, your team must know what to do. The response will largely depend on the threat detected. For example, the receipt of a phishing e-mail will have a very different response than a ransomware attack.

    The most important part of this step is to ensure that all of the appropriate resources are engaged as quickly as possible, and that they fully understand their responsibilities. At the onset of an attack is not the time to find out that your trusted IT supplier can’t respond for 48 hours because they have commitments to other customers. Make sure you have response times, based on severity of the incident, included in your contract with penalties for non-performance.
    As soon as a threat is detected, it should be logged and all steps taken to mitigate the impact should be documented.

  5. Recover
    The final step is to return to normal operations. Again, now is not the time to discover that your backups haven’t been working or that they were attached to your network and also encrypted by ransomware. Offsite backups that are regularly tested are the safest.

    We recommend that all of our clients carry cybersecurity insurance. You should consider coverage options such as first party coverage to reimburse you for expenses incurred from the cyberattack, third party liability to protect you in the case of a hack of your data that impacts another business, and other coverages that include business interruption, privacy liability, costs of notifying customer, legal expenses, recovering compromised information, and repairing damaged computer systems.

    As part of the recovery process, the breach log entries must be finalized, affected parties notified, and, if there is the possibility of significant harm to employees, customer, or others, the Privacy Commissioner must be notified. The Fall 2018 update to Canada’s PIPEDA’s legislation states: “As of November 1, 2018, organizations subject to The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) will be required to: report to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada breaches of security safeguards involving personal information that pose a real risk of significant harm to individuals, notify affected individuals about those breaches, and keep records of all breaches.

Protecting your organization from cybersecurity risks is an important function in today’s connected environment. Too often I receive calls after the damage has been done: “we’ve been hit by ransomware” or “all of our customers are receiving an e-mail that looks like it is from us but it isn’t”. However, by following the steps laid out in this article, you will be well positioned to defend your firm.

Mr. Simons has over 35 years’ experience in all Facets of Information Technology. Mr. Simons held increasingly senior roles with Bell Canada, Bell-Telic, PC Service Partners (an IBM subsidiary), and others. In 1998 he founded SICON CRM, a consultancy which helps firms increase their profitability through the development of a base of Loyal Customers. In response to numerous requests from Customers for assistance with their IT strategy and security, Mr Simons founded Roxville Technology in 2009. Mr. Simons is also a professor at Seneca College where he teaches courses in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), B2B Sales, and Marketing.

Works Cited
Greenberg, A. (2018, 08 22). The untold story of NotPetya. Retrieved 03 09, 2019, from
Secretary, W. P. (2018, 02 15). Statement from the Press Secretary. Retrieved 03 09, 2019, from Statements and Releases: