Force majeure, a term originating in French, means “greater force”.  Related to the act of God term, it implies an unforeseeable, external force beyond one’s control, like a hurricane or earthquake.  Adopted into the legal terminology, the force majeure clause in contracts enables parties to suspend or vary the terms of performance, and removes their liability for unforeseeable and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and prevent the fulfillment of obligations under the contract.

Some recent incidents, for example the re-routed Ever Cozy vessel in Israel, brought to our attention questions of delay and performance.  However rare, if these incidents do happen, they remind us of the real financial and reputational consequences parties to a contract face.  The unpredictability of these events stresses the importance of awareness of the force majeure clause and its inclusion into the contract to protect the rights and obligations of the parties.

The force majeure clause generally covers natural disasters – hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. but, unlike acts of God, it also covers human actions, like acts of war or man-made diseases.

The concept of force majeure originated in French civil law and is an accepted standard in many jurisdictions that drive their legal systems from the Napoleonic Code, although the application of the concept can also be strictly limited.  In common law jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, or Canada (except for the province of Quebec), force majeure clauses are acceptable but must be more explicit about the events triggering the clause.

In some jurisdictions, three “tests” determine if the force majeure clause can be used as defence – the event must be unforeseeable, external (to both parties) and unavoidable, although, given the increased awareness of cyber or nuclear threats or pandemics, for example, the question of foreseeability in legal sense is still up for debate.  It can, therefore, be difficult to prove these conditions in international tribunals.  However, other jurisdictions may apply these concepts differently.

Additionally, in an attempt to clarify the meaning of force majeure, the International Chamber of Commerce applied a standard of “impracticability”, which means that it would be unreasonably burdensome and expensive, if not impossible, to carry out the terms of the contract.  It is worth mentioning that the International Chamber of Commerce does not include the term force majeure in its Incoterms® 2020.

In summary, although the force majeure clause may not always be completely clear and transparent, and may, by its nature, favour the “big guys” with more power and financial resources, its inclusion in the contract makes a lot of sense as it enables parties to better manage risk and protect themselves if something sudden and unthinkable happens.

Join CIFFA’s online virtual workshop on December 11, 2023 as we provide an overview of the application of the force majeure clause in contracts. Register here.






In an era dominated by rapid technological advancements and automation, the value of soft skills and critical thinking in the workplace has never been more pronounced. Yet, a concerning trend persists – a deficiency in these essential attributes among employees. As global logistics organizations continue to emphasize knowledge in the complexities of importing and exporting, they risk neglecting the intangible qualities that are crucial for success in today’s complex and interconnected world.

The Soft Skills Shortfall:

Soft skills encompass a broad spectrum of personal attributes, including communication, teamwork, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. These traits are indispensable for fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment. However, as the emphasis on technical proficiency grows, the development of these soft skills has taken a backseat.

Many employees entering the workforce today are armed with impressive credentials, in particular College diploma’s and the CIFFA certificate in international freight forwarding, but often fall short in areas such as effective communication, conflict resolution, and empathetic leadership. This discrepancy poses a significant challenge for businesses striving to create a harmonious and productive work environment.

Critical Thinking: The Missing Puzzle Piece:

Critical thinking, often described as the ability to objectively analyze and evaluate information to make informed decisions, is another vital skill that has been overlooked. In an age of information overload, being able to discern credible shippers, ask on the fly questions related to hidden hazards, and form well-reasoned conclusions is more crucial than ever.

Without robust critical thinking skills, employees may fall prey to misinformation, make hasty judgments, or struggle to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. This deficiency not only hinders individual growth but also undermines the overall effectiveness and resilience of an organization.

The Impact on Innovation and Problem-Solving:

Innovation thrives on diversity of thought, collaboration, and the ability to challenge the status quo. Soft skills, particularly communication and teamwork, play a pivotal role in facilitating this environment. When these skills are lacking, the potential for groundbreaking ideas and creative problem-solving is severely restricted.

Furthermore, without critical thinking, employees may find themselves stuck in conventional modes of thinking, unable to devise innovative solutions to complex challenges. In a world where adaptability is a cornerstone of success, this deficiency can be detrimental to organizational progress.

Addressing the Gap:

To bridge the soft skills and critical thinking gap, organizations must take proactive measures. This includes:

  1. Comprehensive Training Programs: Provide ongoing training and development opportunities that focus on enhancing soft skills and critical thinking abilities.
  2. Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning: Encourage employees to seek out new knowledge and perspectives and create an environment where curiosity and growth are valued.
  3. Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration: Encourage employees from different departments to work together on projects, fostering a diverse range of perspectives and skills.
  4. Recognize and Reward Soft Skills: Incorporate soft skills into performance evaluations and recognize employees who excel in areas such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability.

To address this gap, CIFFA offers an interactive online self-paced course called GRAD FORCE SKILLS that prepares the learner to meet these challenges head on. Register today.

Click here for a brochure on GRADFORCE, or here to watch a short video on how CIFFA can help.

In the interconnected web of global supply chains, the issue of forced labor casts a long, dark shadow. The logistics industry, tasked with the movement and distribution of goods across borders, is not exempt from this pervasive problem. This blog aims to shine a light on the presence of forced labor within the logistics sector and to provide a rallying call for companies to take meaningful action.

Forced labor, a stark violation of human rights, takes many forms within the logistics industry. From coerced debt bondage to human trafficking and modern-day slavery, workers find themselves ensnared in situations of immense vulnerability. This practice, though often hidden, leaves behind a trail of suffering that demands our attention.

The insidious nature of forced labor requires a discerning eye. Recognizing the signs is crucial. Whether it’s the confinement of movement, deplorable working conditions, or withheld wages, the indicators are there. Through real-life stories and examples, we uncover the harrowing realities that victims of forced labor face daily.

Legal and Ethical Obligations

The world has spoken, and the message is clear: forced labor is an affront to human dignity. International standards and legal frameworks, such as the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention (No. 29) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, establish the moral imperative for companies to act. It is our collective responsibility to uphold these principles.

Supply Chain Due Diligence

To combat forced labor effectively, we must first understand its intricacies within the supply chain. Thorough mapping and risk assessments uncover the vulnerable points where exploitation may occur. Rigorous supplier vetting and regular audits are essential components of due diligence, ensuring compliance with labor standards.

Supplier Engagement and Collaboration

Transparency and collaboration are at the heart of any successful anti-forced labor effort. Engaging suppliers in open dialogue establishes a foundation of trust and accountability. By partnering with suppliers who share our commitment to eradicating forced labor, we forge a path towards a more ethical supply chain.

Collaborative Initiatives and Industry Partnerships

Individual efforts, while commendable, are not enough. The battle against forced labor requires collective action. Industry-wide initiatives and partnerships offer a platform for companies to unite in their commitment to eradicate this scourge from our supply chains.

Worker Empowerment and Education

Empowering workers is central to dismantling the chains of forced labor. Education and awareness programs provide the knowledge and tools needed to identify and report abuse. Establishing grievance mechanisms creates safe channels for workers to seek help and justice.

Training and Capacity Building

The journey towards a forced labor-free logistics industry demands training and capacity building. From the ground level to the boardroom, education is key. Implementing policies that prioritize human rights and ethical labor practices reinforces our collective commitment to change.

Join CIFFA’s online virtual workshop on November 30, 2023 as we provide an overview of the application of the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act and its relevance to Canadian companies, as well as the Canadian laws aiming to eradicate forced labour and child labour from Canadian supply chains, to ensure Canadian companies do not contribute to human right abuses.

Register here.

In an era where sustainability is paramount, the logistics industry plays a crucial role in shaping a greener, more efficient future. As the demand for eco-conscious practices continues to rise, logistics companies are seizing the opportunity to reduce their environmental footprint. In this blog, we’ll explore innovative strategies and practical steps that the logistics industry can take to embrace sustainability and drive positive change.

  1. Green Transportation: A Road to Reduced Emissions
  2. Last-Mile Revolution: Eco-Friendly Deliveries
  3. Efficient Routing and Delivery Scheduling
  4. Sustainable Warehousing: Building a Greener Foundation
  5. Packaging Redefined: From Waste to Resource
  6. Supplier Collaboration: Nurturing Sustainable Partnerships
  7. Measuring Impact: Carbon Emissions Tracking and Reporting
  8. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating the Green Frontier

By embracing sustainability, the logistics industry has the power to not only reduce its environmental impact but also drive innovation and enhance operational efficiency. Together, we can build a future where logistics operations are synonymous with eco-conscious practices, creating a cleaner, more sustainable world for generations to come.

If you are interested in training that will help your organization in moving to this goal, CIFFA offers a short course that provides guidance to get you on your way.


October 2: Container Pileup in Russia – WorldCargo News

As Russia grapples with the western sanctions one year after the invasion in Ukraine, China supports by bolstering bilateral trade between the two nations. Container xChange, the online container logistics platform, has offered its assessment of how the trade impacts the global container logistics industry, now and in the future.

“You see a 40ft high cube container being on sale in Moscow for less than $1,000, while in other parts of the world, it is almost double or even more,” said Christian Roeloffs, co-founder and CEO, Container xChange. “This is significant and has a tremendously detrimental impact on the business of container logistics because of the high imbalance in demand and supply of containers.”

October 4: Mexican Logistics Infrastructure Struggles as Delays Hit Lazaro Cardenas – The Loadstar

On September 29, Hapag-Lloyd issued a customer advisory warning of delays at the port of Lazaro Cardenas – cargo moving to and from the port hit by congestion at the Hapag-Lloyd and APM terminals.

The news was hardly a bolt out of the blue. Mexico’s largest Pacific port has suffered from congestion for more than three months, partly the result of a surge in car shipments, but problems with the rail system have also affected box traffic.

Volumes started to build after trucker protests in early August at the access points to the Ferrovalle intermodal terminal in Mexico City, a vital bottleneck for cargo between the capital and major ports. Truckers – most owner-operators – staged protests over pay, but they also vented their frustration with constraints in serving the Ferrovalle facility.

Their actions resulted in a pile-up of containers at Lazaro Cardenas and, by late August, more than 5,000 were stranded at the port.

October 9: Gaza Conflict Disrupts Port Operations – The Maritime Executive

The full-scale conflict between Palestinian militant group Hamas and the state of Israel is beginning to disrupt commercial operations in the maritime sector, though the extent so far is limited to specific sectors and locations.

The port of Ashdod is currently operating in “emergency mode,” reports North Standard. The Israeli Navy maintains a substantial presence in the area and controls the approaches. Hazmat cargoes require case-by-case approval prior to entry, and some categories are not currently permitted (including all explosives and toxic gases).

Port of Ashkelon, the commercial seaport nearest the fighting, is currently shut down, the insurer said. Ashkelon is primarily used by tankers.

October 10: Port of Montreal Welcomes the Government of Canada’s Support for Its Contrecœur Expansion Project – Port of Montreal press release

The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) welcomes the $150 million allocated to the container terminal project in Contrecœur through the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) announced on October 10 by Canada’s Transport Minister, Pablo Rodriguez.

This financial support will enable the MPA to implement a new delivery model for the major expansion project on Montreal’s South Shore. Under its new approach, the MPA will be taking over some of the responsibilities for carrying out the project and cancels the current call for tenders to opt for a more agile approach.

October 10: Bargaining at the Port of Montreal – La Presse (translated from French)

Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal want wage increases of at least 20% over four years and full job security after three years. For its part, their employer wants to “adjust” the number of employees who benefit from their security and wants an employment contract that guarantees union peace until the end of the decade.

This is what emerges from the demands of the Port of Montreal Longshoremen’s Union, affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Maritime Employers Association (MEA), obtained by La Presse. The documents are the starting points for the two sides in the negotiations that began last month.

While the issue of modernization was one of the sticking points that led to the strike that paralyzed the Port of Vancouver for 13 days last July, it does not seem to be at the heart of the employer’s demands, said Jean-Claude Bernatchez, a professor of labour relations at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

October 10: EC Says CBER ‘No Longer Fit for Purpose’ and Won’t Renew It – The Loadstar

2024 increasingly looks like a watershed year for container shipping after the European Commission announced it won’t renew the sector’s exemption to operating shipping alliances when current legislation expires on April 25.

The Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) was introduced in 2009, after the EC banned the old conference system that allowed carriers to coordinate on pricing levels.

CBER allowed carriers to continue operating vessel-sharing agreements and pooling capacity, and was extended in 2014 and 2020.

But the EC has now concluded: “Overall, the CBER does not appear to be fit for its purpose any more, as it does not fulfil the criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value.”

October 11: Shipping Clearly Divided Over EC Decision to Scrap CBER – The Loadstar

The shipping industry is divided on the October 10 announcement by the EC that it will not renew the Consortia Block Exemption Rule (CBER) for liners.

John Butler, president & CEO of liner lobby group the World Shipping Council, said: “We disagree with the logic behind the decision to discontinue the CBER. The shift to general EU antitrust rules will create a period of uncertainty as carriers adjust to the new legal structure.”

The Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (Feport) agreed. It said: “[Feport] was not in favour of a repeal as clear prohibitions of some behaviours in the framework … were better for us than a legal void and no monitoring from the EU commission of the behaviour of the alliances.

“The bargaining power of the alliances towards customers and service providers has been tremendously also increased thanks to the benefits of the CBER.”

However, Nicolette van der Jagt, director general of forwarder association Clecat welcomed the decision, and said: “We are pleased that the commission has listened. Freight forwarders have long resisted the granting of these extraordinary exemptions to shipping lines and have opposed a renewal of the block exemption…at previous reviews.”

October 12: St. Lawrence Seaway Workers Deliver Overwhelming Strike Mandate – Unifor press release

Members of Unifor Local 4212 and Local 4323 in Ontario and 4320 in Quebec working for the St. Lawrence Seaway Corporation voted 99% in favour of a strike should negotiations not result in a deal by the October 21 strike deadline.

Bargaining will resume on October 17, 18 and 19.

October 14: Ontario Releases First-Ever Marine Transportation Strategy – Government of Ontario press release

The Ontario government has released The Future of the Great Lakes Economy: Ontario’s Marine Transportation Strategy, outlining actions the province will take to strengthen Ontario’s position in marine transportation.

The four-pillar strategy will serve as the foundation for building a strong and sustainable marine sector. It outlines near- and longer-term actions, including:

October 17: Shipyards Won’t Be Able to Meet Future Demand for Greener Vessels – The Loadstar

“If you look at the market right now, it is easy to take the position that carriers have massively overordered,” said analyst Lars Jensen last week. He explained that, with aging tankers and bulk ships also needing to abide by IMO decarbonization rules, “this could easily overwhelm the shipyards with orders.”

He added: “That means in three or four years, a container line might want new ships, but either can’t get them because there is zero shipyard availability, or they are going to be phenomenally expensive. This will be the shipyard version of what the carriers did during the pandemic.”

A report released on August 17 supports this theory: Both newbuild and retrofit yard space is too constrained to provide sufficient capacity for meeting the IMO’s 2030 ‘indicative checkpoint.’

October 18: Unifor Serves the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation with a 72-Hour Strike Notice – SLSMC press release

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) was served with a 72-hour notice to strike by Unifor on October 18, for locals 4211, 4319, 4212, 4323 and 4320. The union intends to begin strike action as of 00:01 on Sunday, October 22.

As a result of Unifor’s strike notification, SLSMC has started implementing its detailed plans for an orderly and safe shutdown of the system within the 72-hour notice period. Should the unionized workers proceed with strike action, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to all traffic.

October 19: Statement by Minister of Labour Regarding Port Dispute Review

On October 19, Canada’s Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., issued the following statement regarding the port dispute review under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code:

“Our Government believes in collective bargaining. We believe that the best deals are made at the table. It can be tough, messy work. But it’s how the best deals are made. Disputes, including strikes and lockouts, are all part of that process. This past summer, however, Canadians experienced an economic disruption that no single dispute should be responsible for. Our ports are vital to our supply chains, and the scale of the disruption was a burden on the many businesses and workers that depend on them.

In August, I committed to initiating a process under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code to examine the structural issues underlying the recent longshoring dispute at our West Coast ports, as well as similar disputes that have occurred in ports across Canada.

Today I can confirm that Anthony Giles and Kevin Banks have been contracted to begin the first part of this review process. Between now and December 31, 2023, they will be tasked with identifying the key questions that need to be answered and proposing the terms of reference for this review. In the New Year, we will update Canadians on the next steps in that process.”

October 19: PRPA to Begin Construction on $750 Million Export Logistics Project – PRPA press release

The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) is commencing construction on the Ridley Island Export Logistics Project (RIELP), a large-scale logistics project that will provide expanded capacity and capabilities for rail-to-container transloading of multiple export products at the Port of Prince Rupert.

The project will consist of a 108-acre greenfield development on Ridley Island that will commence operation in Q3 2026. Ray-Mont Logistics will develop and operate facilities that provide transloading service capacity for 400,000 TEUs for agricultural, forestry and plastic resin products.

The project will also include an expansion of the existing Ridley Island Road Rail Utility Corridor that will facilitate unit trains 10,000 feet in length with direct access to the site from the CN network. The transload facilities will be connected to Fairview Container Terminal by direct private road access, the 5-kilometre Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor, ensuring all product movements will be within PRPA jurisdiction and fully avoid public infrastructure. The full electrification of transload facilities, optimization of rail and the minimal truck drayage cumulatively represent a significant step forward in decarbonizing Canada’s export supply chains.

October 20: Carriers Fight Back Against Sub-Economic Rates with FAK Hikes – The Loadstar

Ocean carriers are planning a wave of sizeable FAK rate hikes across the major east-west tradelanes next month, in an attempt to swivel voyage results back into the black.

And, with the 2024 budget season looming, the shipping lines will want to jettison unprofitable cargo from their customer portfolios.

For example, MSC has announced new freight rates, effective November 17, from the Mediterranean and North Europe to the U.S., Canada and Mexico, including a $4,400 per 40-ft base rate from Antwerp to New York.

October 20: Ports Not Prepared for IMO Single Window Mandate – Inside Logistics

Almost a third of global ports are not going to be ready for the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Maritime Single Window (MSW) mandate, which becomes compulsory worldwide from the beginning of January 2024.

A recent survey of 200 ports by Kale Logistics Solutions revealed that 30 percent are not prepared to make the transition. This study examines the technological initiatives taken by ports and their willingness to digitize.

Kale highlighted the urgency for the industry to speed up its digital transformation as it unveiled the survey results, which also cited high implementation costs, long timelines and varying levels of digital readiness as leading factors hindering regulatory compliance.

October 22: SLSMC Unionized Employees on Strike – SLSMC press release

Although the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Unifor engaged in negotiations starting on October 17, they were unable to reach an agreement before the Unifor strike deadline set for 00:01 on October 22. As a result, Unifor locals 4211, 4319, 4212, 4323 and 4320 are now on strike. The Seaway will remain shut down until an agreement can be reached.

The SLSMC is awaiting a response to its Canada Industrial Relations Board application, seeking a ruling under the Canada Labour Code for the union to provide employees during a strike to ensure vessels engaged in the movement of grain continue transiting the system.

An orderly shutdown of the system took place during the 72-hour notice period allowing for vessels to safely clear the Seaway system. Currently, there are no vessels waiting to exit the system, but there are over 100 vessels outside the system that are impacted by the situation.

October 23: Complaints to FMC Over Shipping Industry Tripled in Two Years – The Maritime Executive

The number of complaints to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission over the shipping industry’s business practices, and mostly detention and demurrage fees, have more than tripled in the past two years, according to a new report in the Financial Times. The newspaper reports that, according to data from the FMC, shippers have filed nearly 400 complaints in the 14 months since the Ocean Shipping Reform Act became law in July 2022.

October 24: “Get Back to the Table,” O’Regan Tells Seaway and Union – Inside Logistics

Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan took to social media to tell the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Unifor they need to resume bargaining. O’Regan posted on X, saying he had taken calls with both sides, and they need to resume talks.

Over 350 Unifor workers are on strike at the Seaway, shutting down the waterway to commercial traffic since October 22.

October 27: Delays Grow at Australia’s Ports as MUA Expands Job Action Against DP World – The Maritime Executive

Dockworkers at one of Australia’s busiest container terminals launched a 24-hour work ban on October 27 while announcing plans to step up their work bans the following week at each of the country’s major ports. The strikes are part of an ongoing labour dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia and terminal operator DP World that mirrors similar actions that have interrupted port operations in other parts of the world.

October 29: Tentative Agreement Reached, St. Lawrence Seaway Reopens – SLSMC press release

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and the union representing 360 unionized employees reached an agreement that ends the strike that began on October 22. The agreement will have to be ratified by employees in the coming days.

October 30: Transatlantic Westbound ‘a Total Disaster’, with ‘Unsustainable’ Rates – The Loadstar

According to CMA CGM, westbound transatlantic ocean rates have now hit “unsustainable levels.”

The French carrier announced a raft of FAK (freight all kinds) increases on Friday, an endeavour to drive rates back up on a route that has become, as one liner executive described it, “a total disaster.”

Indeed, Xeneta’s XSI North Europe to U.S. east coast average rate per 40ft slumped from $7,700 a year ago to just $1,327 last week.

October 31: Panama Canal Plans to Cut Transits by 40% Due to Ongoing Drought – The Maritime Executive

The Panama Canal Authority released plans to drastically scale down transits at the canal phased in over the next three months as it reports water levels have continued to decline to unprecedented levels for this time of year. The current plan would see transits reduced by 43 percent by February 1, with large containerships, and LNG and LPG carriers, likely to be among the most impacted by the new round of cuts.




October 4: Coffins, Rotting Fruit Stuck in Tarmac Tangle After Qantas IT Meltdown – WA Today

Qantas’ freight division has suffered a catastrophic system failure that left dead bodies, live animals and perishable food unable to be collected from airports.

Cargo operations were sent into disarray after Qantas attempted to switch on a “new, fully integrated cloud-based” management system on September 24, which “did not go as planned”, according to a letter sent to freight customers.

Qantas said that coffins and human remains have not been left on tarmacs or stored inappropriately in any way despite reports from freight forwarders alleging so.

“All human remains and other critical freight has been managed according to industry standards and with utmost care as always. Some delays in collection may have occurred due to manual processing leading to queues at freight terminals,” the airline said on September 28.

The airline’s freight customers said the meltdown has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 10 days. Qantas workers have been forced to process shipments manually, causing backlogs of domestic and international deliveries at Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne airports.

October 5: Shippers Opt for Longer Air Cargo Contracts as the Global Market Stays Flat – The Loadstar

The air cargo market may be “finding its feet again” – but it may take time.

Latest data suggests Q3 23 saw a 6% rise in shippers committing to airfreight contracts of six months or longer, now at 34% compared with 28% in Q2.

Xeneta says this is a result of “the industry [coming] to terms with a new baseline for the general air cargo market.”

October 10: Cargo Carriers Warn of Disruption on Israel Operations – Air Cargo News

Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said international flights continue to operate to and from Israel following attacks on the country by Hamas over the weekend.

The CAA said that currently “the Israeli airlines are operating as usual.” The organization added that “there are still international flights to and from Israel by many airlines.”

The Israel Airports Authority, which operates Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, said that the airport “is working as planned including departures and landings.”

However, a number of airlines worldwide have cancelled or delayed flights in response to the situation, and cargo carriers have warned of potential disruption to shipments.

October 31: Airfreight Rate Increases Pick Up Pace in October – Air Cargo News

Airfreight rates on major east-west trades picked up in October as the industry entered its traditional peak season.

The latest figures from the Baltic Exchange Airfreight Index (BAI) based on TAC data show that average rates – spot and contract – on services from Hong Kong to North America increased by 18.4% compared with September to $5.80 per kg.

Compared with last year, prices are down 13.9%, although the difference between the two years has continued to narrow from a high of 47.7% in May.




October 5: CN Publishes Winter Plan for 2023-2024 – CN press release

CN has published its 2023-2024 Winter Plan. The document outlines the actions CN has taken to meet customer demand safely and efficiently during the winter months ahead.

This year’s plan is focused on working safely, collaborating to meet the demands of customers, improving network performance and enhancing network resiliency.




October 9: Inspections Halt 19,000 Trucks at Texas-Mexico Border – Yahoo News

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s border-security crackdown is clogging up commercial crossings, leaving at least 19,000 trucks loaded with $1.9 billion of goods stuck waiting in Mexico.

“Absurd” safety inspections are causing wait times as long as 24 hours in lines that stretch for 23 kilometres, Mexico’s biggest trucking group said in a statement October 8. The holdup makes it exceedingly difficult for businesses to manage supply chains, it said.

Texas announced a renewed push for cargo-truck inspections last month as part of Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” plan to deter illegal border crossings and drug smuggling amid what he says is a lack of enforcement by the federal government.

October 10: Halton Blitz Puts 31% of Inspected Trucks Out of Service – Today’s Trucking

Halton Regional Police Services conducted a two-day commercial vehicle blitz at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Milton, Ont., on October 3 and 4, taking 149 vehicles out of service. That represents a 31% failure rate, with 475 commercial vehicles inspected in the targeted blitz. Inspection officers were looking for compliance with legislation relating to mechanical fitness, weights, load security, safety and licensing.

October 12: Canada’s Spot Market Volumes Strengthen, U.S. Rates Fall Further – Today’s Trucking

Canada’s spot market load volumes increased for the second straight month in September, while equipment postings declined.

It’s the first time Loadlink Technologies reported two consecutive months of rising load volumes since December 2022 and January 2023. Cross-border loads into Canada declined, while intra-Canada and cross-border loads to the U.S. rose.

“Year-over-year comparisons continue to temper as inflated volumes from the first half of 2022 will begin to meet with more normalized volumes in the upcoming quarter,” Loadlink said in a release.

The biggest gains were seen in loads to the U.S., up 26% compared with August but still off 9% from the same month last year. There were 4.34 trucks posted per load, down from 5.05 last month, marking a 14% decrease in the truck-to-load ratio.

October 18: Costs of Fuel Fraud Continue to Climb – Today’s Trucking

Fuel fraud is on the rise and trucking companies are struggling to stay ahead of the growing problem.

“Fraud is one of those hidden costs that we don’t talk about often, but is still driving down profitability in the business,” said Hemant Banavar, vice-president of financial products with Motive.

In some cases, card skimmers will fuel up personal vehicles or make in-store purchases using stolen card information. But there’s another growing trend to worry about, dubbed “fraud-as-a-service,” in which stolen card data and personal information is sold on the dark web.

Other forms of theft include: card cloning (replicating fuel cards with skimmed data); promotional scams (fake offers for free fuel or other incentives in exchange for entering card information, which is then stolen); vendor theft (in which the vendor overcharges and takes a cut of the total purchase price); phishing (fake emails requesting personal information); employee fraud (filling up personal vehicles or adding items like cigarettes to fuel purchases using a fleet fuel card); siphoning fuel from company trucks; and side fueling (filling up a personal vehicle alongside the company truck on the company fuel card).

October 22: Cargo Theft Trends Changing as Supply Chains Shift to Border Regions – FreightWaves

Crimes against truckers in the United States, Mexico and Canada are on the rise, costing trucking and logistics industries up to $1 billion annually.

Traditionally, cargo theft in the U.S. has been concentrated in places such as ports and facilities in California, Texas and Florida. In Canada, the majority of thefts usually occur in the Toronto region, while in Mexico trucks and logistics centers in the country’s central states are often targeted.

With more manufacturers leaving Asia and moving facilities to Mexico, Canada or other locations near or along border regions to capitalize on shifting supply chains, trade experts say it could affect cargo thieves’ patterns and methods.

October 26: More Casualties Expected, with U.S. Trucking on a ‘Road of Pain’ – The Loadstar

The collapse of Yellow Freight, the third-largest operator on the U.S. less-than-truckload scene, hit headlines beyond the industry, but meanwhile devastation generally is playing out across the truckload sector.

Since last year, a rising number of truckers have gone out of business as demand shrank, costs surged and worsening overcapacity pushed rates down.

In recent weeks the downward trend has continued. According to a study by the U.S. Federal Reserve, freight activity and demand declined between late August and early October, which the authors attribute to excess capacity, weak exports and fewer energy product shipments.

The FTR Trucking Conditions Index slumped from a negative reading of -5.34 in July, to -12.54 in August, and the index noted that surges in diesel costs had hit small operators disproportionately, “as they are less likely to benefit from fuel surcharges.”

“As trucking rates continue to plummet, many trucking providers are operating at a loss to maintain revenue streams,” said Paul Brashier, VP drayage and intermodal at ITS Logistics. “While diesel prices continue to increase, more freight carriers are expected to exit the market.”

October 27: Nova Scotia to Delay ELD Requirement for Provincially Regulated Carriers – Today’s Trucking

Nova Scotia’s Registry of Motor Vehicles has advised that the province is putting the brakes on the electronic logging device (ELD) requirement for provincially regulated carriers in the province, according to an Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association news release. The requirement was originally scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2024.

According to the province, “while the Department of Public Works (DPW) recognizes the potential benefits of requiring carriers operating only in Nova Scotia to install and use ELDs, we have decided to take some time to continue monitoring the implementation of the federal and other provincial/territorial mandates and seek industry input before making a final decision on the provincial approach.”

No future implementation date was provided, APTA said.



CIFFA Advocacy, Communications, Activities

October 14: Time for the Government to Show What It Can Do: CIFFA Executive Director’s statement

Will Montreal have the same sad experience that Vancouver just suffered in July? Or will an effective federal government – normally all too willing to intervene in the economy – take steps to avoid a labour stoppage at the Port of Montreal which will damage the city’s economy, especially small businesses.

The Port of Montreal Longshoremen’s Union and the Maritime Employers Association are meeting now. The parties are already alleging bad faith. A legal strike could occur in January of 2024.

October 24: CIFFA Among Signatories to Industry Letter to Federal Government on Labour Stability in the St. Lawrence Seaway

In a letter to the federal government, numerous Canadian organizations, including CIFFA, expressed concern regarding the strike shutting down transit through the St. Lawrence Seaway, causing further damage to supply chains.

October 27: CIFFA Announces Enhancements to Its Website

CIFFA has enhanced its website, adding the following new features:

These enhancements add benefits and will improve our members’ experience on the website.

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

In January 2023, after a review process of industry experience and a written dissertation demonstrating technical knowledge, CIFFA announced Viktoriia Rudyk as the 2023 Canadian Young Logistics Professionals Award recipient.

After completing an additional dissertation, Viktoriia entered the international competition and, following a review process by FIATA and the TT Club, on July 27, 2023, was announced as the Americas regional winner of the Young Logistics Professionals Award.  Viktoriia’s dissertations detail the transportation of two types of cargo – agricultural equipment from Germany to Saskatchewan, Canada and Ski-Doo machines from Quebec, Canada to Antarctica.

As the Americas regional winner, Viktoriia will be invited to compete at the FIATA World Congress where she will present her dissertations to the Award Steering Committee that will subsequently announce the 2023 Young Logistics Professionals Award winner.

The prize to be awarded to the winner principally consists of practical and academic training, including a week based at one of the TT Club’s regional centres in London, Hong Kong or New Jersey, plus a week in the TT Club’s Head Office in London.  Additionally, a one-year subscription to the International Transport Journal (ITJ) is provided to all four regional winners.

Originally from Ukraine, Viktoriia came to Canada to study the 2-year International Business Management Diploma program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to her studies at BCIT, she has taken CITT and CIFFA courses, has actively volunteered, participated at different networking events, and worked on projects as a Student Consultant at the Delta Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Center Vancouver.  After finishing her studies at BCIT, Viktoriia joined the trainee program at the Toronto branch of DSV Air & Sea Inc.  At DSV she has worked as an Air Import Coordinator, an Air Export Coordinator, an Ocean Import Team Lead and currently works as a Supervisor, Vertical Accounts at DSV’s Montreal branch, where she leads the Pharmaceutical and Aerospace teams.  She is a big fan of the continuous learning concept and likes the constant challenge that the freight forwarding profession offers.

For more information on CIFFA’s Young Logistics Professionals Award, visit


How would you describe a bill of lading? It’s rather like trying to describe an elephant-it is far easier to recognize than to describe.

A bill of lading can be issued by a vessel operating carrier (VOC), but also by a freight forwarder.  By issuing a bill of lading, the forwarder becomes a non-vessel operating carrier (NVOCC) in Canada. This means that the forwarder is acting as Principal. When the forwarder acts as Principal, it is the same as saying that the forwarder is acting as a carrier, with all the rights and responsibilities of a carrier. However, even if a freight forwarder only acts as a booking agent with the VOC on a direct shipment, the forwarder can be considered a ‘party to the contract of carriage’.

This workshop looks into the details of the rights, responsibilities and possible liabilities of the parties to the contract of carriage. It explains the functions and types of bills of lading, and the related endorsement and distribution processes, the merchant clause and how to mitigate the risks associated with export and import shipments.

Learn more about the Marine Bills of Lading and other short, topical workshops.

From the CIFFA Secretariat office, the latest in our advocacy work:

Release of Commercial Goods regs, CIFFA’s request for changes

In the fall of 2022 CIFFA initiated a request to the CBSA to implement a change to the Release of Commercial Goods regulations, which CIFFA felt would improve fluidity and increase efficiencies for the movement of containers to an inland rail terminal.

In its letter dated September 19, 2022, CIFFA requested changes to the Release of Commercial Goods documentation, in particular, relating to the Timeframes for the Release of Goods and limited specifically for cargo arriving via vessel at a Canadian seaport for movement to an inland Rail terminal for customs clearance purposes. In a January 12, 2023 response, the CBSA indicated that reverting to the old timeframes would reintroduce inconsistency and would create situations where carriers would be unable to meet their obligation under Section 12(1) if the CBSA systems automatically triggered release at 12:01. CIFFA’s position remains consistent, that there are opportunities in which to improve the clearance process and increase fluidity, without jeopardizing carrier obligations. We will work with relevant stakeholders in which to the reposition this matter in the interests of supply chain efficiencies.


Pre-Budget consultation brief

The federal government, ahead of Budget 2023, has asked to hear ideas about how to help Canadians succeed “while building stronger, greener, more competitive, more innovative, and more inclusive Canadian economy.” In January 2023, CIFFA submitted its pre-budget brief, noting that supply chain problems are far from being resolved, and they constitute an ongoing financial drain on the Canadian economy. “Although we commend the Minister and Department of Transport for the Supply Chain Task force report, it’s essential that the recommendations they’ve endorsed become part of the government’s budget priorities. “

The uncertainty of supply chains impacts the economy at myriad levels- undercutting investor confidence, limiting business growth, and preventing Canadians from capitalizing on market opportunities. This should be one of the highest priority files of a national government. Two factors are critical to an efficient, competitive transportation system: a skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure.


CIFFA’s Commentary on the 2023 Federal Budget:

Budget 2023 does respond to a number of urgent demands made by CIFFA through the past year; it’s obvious our voice was heard. A couple of gratifying examples: Our testimony in Parliamentary committees focused on the lack of a national strategy to guide the considerable amount of money pledged for transport and trade infrastructure and we are delighted to see a commitment in this budget to “Establishing a National Supply Chain Strategy with strategic trade corridor investments.”

We also protested vigorously the continued exemption from competition laws which is enjoyed by ocean shipping cartels. In meetings and submissions to Transport Canada and the Competition Bureau, as well as myriad Members of Parliament, we identified this situation as contributing to the abuse of Canadian shippers we’ve witnessed in recent years and again we see a response in Ottawa: the budget announced a promise to launch a “review” of the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act to improve marine shipping competition.” We will be monitoring this pledge closely.

Perhaps impressed with the US President’s State of the Union speech last month, the federal government threw a bone to consumers which included one of our favourite issues: “Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to work with regulatory agencies, provinces, and territories to reduce junk fees for Canadians. This could include higher telecom roaming charges, event and concert fees, excessive baggage fees, and unjustified shipping and freight fees.”

We noted also that the recommendations of the National Supply Chain Task Force are referenced in the budget, although only generally. (We have urged the opposition politicians to hold the govt’s feet to the fire and actually implement some measures.)

The one specific recommendation that is referenced is the plan to create a Transportation Supply Chain Office to coordinate federal efforts, especially in a crisis. We remain unconvinced this will have a significant impact, but we’ll engage with it as soon as we can and offer CIFFA’s support to their efforts.

The budget certainly says more about supply chain issues and infrastructure than we have ever seen before from this government.

“Canadians expect and deserve a transportation and supply chain system that reliably delivers goods and people to our cities and towns, provides businesses with access to global markets, and safely and efficiently connects our communities. Our economy depends on it, too.”

“Canada’s trade corridors keep our economy moving. From ports, to airports, to railways and highways, they are the backbone of the supply chains that bring goods to our communities and enable our businesses to export their products around the world.”

CIFFA will be looking to comment on changes to Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, The Customs Act, Transportation Security Clearances and the Canada Transportation Act and associated regulations. CIFFA is also supportive of the repeal of the Canada Shipping Conferences Exemption Act. There is a direct relationship between the cost of doing business in Canada and the abuse of dominance of shipping conferences. The Government recently undertook a review of the Competition Act where the CIFFA raised this issue. The CIFFA submits that repealing the Shipping Conference Exemption Act would bring positive relief to consumer prices as a companion to reduced taxes.

By Pedro Antunes

Central bankers in Canada, the United States and many other developed economies are nervous, anxious to see if the rapid increase in interest rates over the past year will have the intended outcome—slow economic activity and douse inflation.

The U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada have increased their key lending rate by over 4 percentage points in record time over the past year. This has resulted in a similar rise in lending rates for households and businesses. The intent is to encourage households to spend less, lower economic activity and take further pressure off prices. Thus far, the policy is working in Canada. The volume of retail sales flattened over the last few months of 2022 and home sales and existing home prices have dropped sharply from the frothy activity we were seeing about this time last year.

More recently though, the rapid rise in interest rates has added another layer to market jitters. While all eyes were on the still-resilient consumer sector, the financial system came under strain as a few banks in the United States and Europe failed. Evidence suggests that these banks were mismanaged, such that the pressure of higher interest rates simply exposed existing problems, but the situation has nonetheless shaken confidence in the global banking system.

Fearing a much wider spread of financial panic, U.S. and European authorities have stepped in quickly to guarantee deposits and ensure liquidity to other banks to prevent the crisis from widening. One bank’s failure can lead to knock on effects at other banks as finances are interrelated. The immediate concern is that there will be more public (and social media) driven scrutiny of other banks. And no bank has enough liquidity to survive a bank run if concerns surface and depositors start withdrawing.

The turmoil had temporarily sent market interest rates plunging, even after a hawkish Fed chair Jerome Powell had signalled that benchmark rates would continue rising in a speech only a few days earlier. We believe Fed rate increases will resume, but that the peak is nearly here. The banking mini crisis has raised recession odds and probably ended up aiding central banks efforts to bring inflation rates down, but more progress needs to be made on that front before rates can be brough back down to neutral territory.

The inflation story is still with us, but progress is apparent. The price shocks brought on by the war in Ukraine started to subside in late spring 2022, helping inflation rates in the United States and Canada ease to below 6 per cent in the first months of 2023. Even Europe, where war impacts are highest, has seen recent progress on taming price growth. The Bank of Canada can afford to pause interest rate increases while it checks to ensure price pressures don’t reignite.  We see consumer prices growing within the Bank of Canada’s targeted 1-3 per cent band by early next year, which will allow for neutral or at least positive real wage growth going forward.

The labour market made an impressive start to 2023, marked by a rise in labour force participation and significant employment gains. Large employment gains are being fuelled by an uptick in population growth. International migration to Canada has risen sharply over recent quarters driven by record immigration targets and increased admissions of non-permanent residents, including temporary foreign workers. The rise in migration will contribute to employment and population growth in excess of 2 per cent in 2023.

Expanding labour supply is helping to soak up unmet labour demand in the Canadian economy, which surged in 2022 as pandemic restrictions fell away. Today, downward trending job postings and job vacancy data indicate that labour demand in the economy is moderating. As labour demand falls further over 2023, employment gains are forecast to soften, resulting in a modest rise in the unemployment rate.

We anticipate that oil prices will continue to soften throughout this year due to the ongoing global economic slowdown. With many developed economies facing high inflation and rising interest rates, we expect the demand growth for crude oil to remain sluggish, while output and inventories increase at a faster pace. As a result, we predict that the WTI price per barrel will average US$78.80 this year. Looking further ahead, we anticipate that inventories will continue to rise, leading to a further decrease in oil prices. Specifically, we project that the WTI price will average US$76.2 in 2024.

Through all this, our forecast for real GDP is keeping to the pattern of growth slowing through 2023 to a virtual standstill, with an eventual recovery beginning in early 2024. For the year, real GDP will expand by 0.9 per cent in 2023, followed by 1.4 per cent growth in 2024. A stronger 2.5 per cent rebound is expected in 2025 once the effect of rates falling back to neutral levels takes effect.


Pedro Antunes,           

Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada

Pedro Antunes is the thought leader and spokesperson for the Conference Board’s suite of economic forecast products, as well as other reports and economic indicators that relate to Canada and its regions. Mr. Antunes has provided expert testimony before parliamentary committees. He makes numerous presentations on economic topics and dialogues with Canadian leaders, the public and media about issues important to Canada.

Mr. Antunes joined the Conference Board in 1991 after working with the Canadian Forecasting Group at the Bank of Canada. In addition to his contribution to regular forecast products, Mr. Antunes led research on the impact of demographic change on the financial sustainability of public health care, productivity and other issues affecting the long-term economic growth for Canada and its provinces. He also worked on several international projects, helping decision-makers in Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan and Ukraine develop appropriate forecasting and policy analysis tools.

Pedro is fluent in both official languages. He is married with one son and enjoys hikes with his dog and playing soccer.

Mr. Antunes holds an M.A. (Economics) from Queen’s University and a B.A. (Honours Economics) from Bishop’s University.


TORONTO, April 28, 2023. – CIFFA, the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, is pleased to announce two winners for its 2023 Donna Letterio Leadership Award this year: Janet Wallace, Managing Director, Cargo Operations and Transformation, with Air Canada Cargo, and Christina Forth, Director of Logistics Canada, Mass Logistik Inc.

CIFFA introduced the annual Donna Letterio Leadership Award in December 2015. The award is granted annually in memory of former CIFFA President Donna Letterio, who passed away in August 2013. The award recognizes a woman in the global freight logistics sector who has demonstrated, as Donna did, professionalism, commitment, leadership and a passion for excellence in her career and in her life. In addition to the award, CIFFA will prepare a cheque in each winner’s name for $1,000, which will be presented to Bladder Cancer Canada.

About the Winners

In her role as Managing Director, Cargo Operations and Transformation, with Air Canada Cargo in Montreal, Quebec, Janet Wallace shares her knowledge and commitment to detailed, well-informed processes and procedures, improving customer service and satisfaction as well as the quality of the workplace experience. Janet has a deep understanding of Air Canada’s passenger and cargo operations, which she draws on to support operations, commercial goals, and lead the engineering, procedures, regulatory, training and quality assurance teams. Under her guidance, Air Canada Cargo obtained two CEIV certifications from IATA, ensuring international and national compliance to safeguard product integrity. She is known throughout the company and among partners and customers for her knowledge, experience and personal approach.

With an extensive list of volunteer experience in her Alberta community of Leduc, serving on various boards, Christina Forth’s commitment to the industry, colleagues, career, customers and family is well-evidenced.

At Mass Logistik she has provided nonstop support to grow the business in the industry, getting the local and overseas teams educated in Canadian Freight Forwarding requirements, driving cost savings initiatives, mentoring the logistics staff, bringing encyclopedic knowledge to the job, and fully implementing the e-manifest system including training all staff and SOP development. She was also involved in early-stage advising and testing of the e-manifest portal as an industry representative. She has been the President of the Edmonton International Oilmen’s Curling Tournament since 2016 also serves on that board.

“CIFFA is very proud to continue with this very prestigious award, recognizing women of influence in our industry, which will also inspire the next generation of women leaders. We are very pleased to present this award to both Janet and Christina, who exhibited all the qualities that the award represents,” said Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director, CIFFA.

Learn more about the Donna Letterio Leadership Award.